Thursday, October 10, 2013

Governor Jerry Brown should be denied communion under Canon 915.

What? California women are not having enough abortions? Apparently not. Earlier this week, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 154, a bill  that allows physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and midwifes to perform aspiration abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Governor Jerry Brown receives communion from Bishop Barber
Photo Credit: San Jose Mercury

California women abort more babies than the women of any other state--almost a quarter of a million babies in 2008. And California has more abortion clinics than any other state.

And although California's abortion rate is not the highest in the nation, it is quite high. According to the Guttmacher Institute, almost one out of four pregnancies ended in an induced abortion in California in 2008.  One out of four!

And the Guttmacher Institute's figures may understate the number of abortions taking place in California.  California is one of a few states that refuses to report the number of abortions being performed in the state to the Center for Disease Control. So we really don't know how many abortions are being performed there.

And what's next? Drive-through abortion clinics where a woman can get an abortion and a latte without getting out of her  car?

For me, the most astonishing aspect of this new law is this:  Governor Jerry Brown, who signed the bill allowing midwives to perform abortions, is a Catholic. Indeed, he was recently photographed receiving communion from the Most Reverend Michael Barber, bishop of the Oakland Diocese.

 It is time, in my view, for the Church to enforce Canon 915 and deny communion to pro-abortion politicians--starting with Jerry Brown and Nancy Pelosi.  Cardinal Raymond Burke, Prelate of the Apostolic Signatura, said in a recent interview that Nancy Pelosi should be denied communion. Surely Cardinal Burke's reasoning applies to Jerry Brown as well.

 Frankly, if the Church is going to allow Governor Brown to receive the Eucharist after he signed California's latest pro-abortion law, then there is no point in having Canon 915.

We will see whether Bishop Barber enforces Canon 915 against Governor Brown. If not, then his failure to act will be just another sign that many of our American bishops are accomodationists who would prefer to peacefully coexist with postmodern culture  than battle for a society that promotes social justice and the dignity of the child and the family.

I am beginning to believe that it will be lowly priests, nuns, and lay Catholics who will defend Catholic values in today's world--not our Church's leadership.  Just as it was during the Cristero rebellion of the 1920s and the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, it will be the little people who will stand firm against the forces of bigotry and nihilism and who will make the necessary sacrifices to preserve the Catholic faith in a hostile society.

If our California bishops have courage--now is the time to demonstrate it.  And they should start by denying communion to Jerry Brown, Nancy Pelosi, and all Catholic politicians who have made their private bargains with the culture of death.


Charles Donovan. Better Reporting for Abortions. New York Times, January 21, 2013. accessible at:

Governor Brown signs bill to boost abortion. California Catholic Daily, October 9, 2013. Accessible at:

Guttmacher Institute. State Facts About Abortion: California. Accessible at:

Katy Grimes. AB 154: Fuzzy numbers used to justify increasing abortion providers. Cal August 27, 2013. Accessible at:

Ian Lovett. California Expands Availability of Abortions. New York Times, October 10 2013, p. A11.

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