There's currently some confusion about what the Pope actually said in the press conference aboard the plane to Brazil.
When an Italian reporter pressed him on whether he agreed that Catholic legislators who voted to legalize abortion in Mexico City should rightfully be considered excommunicated, here's his response:
"Yes," Benedict replied. "The excommunication was not something arbitrary. It is part of the (canon law) code. It is based simply on the principle that the killing of an innocent human child is incompatible with going in Communion with the body of Christ. Thus, they (the bishops) didn't do anything new or anything surprising. Or arbitrary."You go, Pope! I think it's great. If someone supports the intentional killing of an innocent, then anathema sit!
But Vatican officials later said the pope might have inferred from the question that the Mexican bishops had issued a formal declaration of excommunication for the legislators, something Mexican Cardinal Norberto Rivera has said he has no intention of doing. [Lacking is testicular fortitude? Need a spine transplant?]
Benedict's spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the pope was not setting a new policy and did not intend to formally excommunicate anyone — a rare process under church law that is separate from the doctrine of self-excommunication.
"Since excommunication hasn't been declared by the Mexican bishops, the pope has no intention himself of declaring it," Lombardi said in a statement approved by the pope. [He should. If the Mexican Bishops won't do their job, someone sure as hell needs to do it. Who better than the Pope?]
But Lombardi added that politicians who vote in favor of abortion should not receive the sacrament of Holy Communion. "Legislative action in favor of abortion is incompatible with participation in the Eucharist. ... Politicians exclude themselves from Communion," he said. [It's all talk until you actually excommunicate someone. Excommunication is a warning that these folks have strayed from the path, a warning for them to come back. By neglecting to excommunicate them, the Church leaders fail to warn them and share in their condemnation. Oh, for more bishops like Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln.]
Anyway, here's how some apparent cafeteria Catholics responded:
The Mexican politicians who supported the measure shrugged off Benedict's comments Wednesday. "I'm Catholic and I'm going to continue being Catholic even if the church excommunicates me," said leftist Mexico City lawmaker Leticia Quezada. "My conscience is clean." [Yeah right. Just wait until your burn in Hell. Then you'll see. What the hell do these people think being Catholic is about? It's discipleship. It's obedience. You can't be Catholic if you're excommunicated. Someone should explain that to her. What kind of people do the Mexicans elect, anyway? When Jesus asks her to go to hell, what then? Will she say 'I'll continue being in Heaven even if Jesus sends me to hell?']
I like the Pope's response:
"In all parts of the world, there are those who don't want to hear," Benedict said. "Naturally, even our Lord did not manage to make everyone hear."