Bishop Pilla on Communion to
Kathleen Willet Redle, M.F.A.
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What did Jesus do to the money changers and how did he describe the Scribes
and Pharisees of his day? He called these leaders a brood of vipers, like
whited sepulchers outwardly beautiful but within full of dead men’s bones.
Then he used a whip to clear them out of the Temple, declaring, “My house
shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves!”
(Mt 23:27,33, Mt 21:12, Jn 2:14-15). What is happening to God’s house of
prayer today? Look around and you see the chaos and lack of clear teaching
Some characteristics of Bishop Pilla’s
Who are these spiritual leaders today who shirk their responsibility to
shepherd the Church? This article will illustrate one such remiss shepherd.
You can probably think of several others yourself, given the level of
spiritual and sexual abuse that is going on in the Catholic Church today.
What did past Shepherds have to say about such negligent behavior in
protecting the flock?
Our Lord drives the money-changers from the Temple
• Our Lord called these men “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
• Pope Leo I said, "He that sees another in error and endeavors not to
correct it, testifies himself to be in error."
• Pope St. Felix III said: "Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to
defend truth is to suppress it, and indeed to neglect to confound evil men
when we can do so is not less a sin than to encourage them."
One such Shepherd who does very little to protect orthodox teaching, while
promoting heterodox practices, is Bishop Anthony M. Pilla of the Cleveland
and former president of the USCCB. Pilla’s sanction of the homosexual
dissident group “Dignity” is chronicled in Atila Guimarães’ book Vatican
II, Homosexuality & Pedophilia (pp. 91-2) as well as various sexual
abuse problems and unorthodox goings-on in his Diocese.
These include Bishop Pilla’s foot washing of a woman who had been abused by
a diocesan priest, Fr. Marin Louis, when she was 8-years-old. It is a
terrible thing that this woman had been abused (this Diocese has covered up
many other sex abuse of minors by priests), but it was also wrong for the
Bishop to wash her feet when it was forbidden by Rome, since the ceremony of
foot washing is a symbol of the all male priestly ordination. Foot washing
is a clear sign of ordination that Christ instituted at the Last Supper when
he washed the feet of his Apostles.
Bishop Pilla was a pioneer in having altar girls even before a Vatican
document permitted this condemned practice. Benedict XIV in the Encyclical
Allatae sunt, July 26, 1755, summarizes the opposition of two Popes to
women serving at Mass:
Pilla was a pioneer in introducing altar girls,forbidden by Benedict XIV,
"Pope Gelasius in his ninth letter (chap. 26) to the Bishops of Lucania
condemned the evil practice which had been introduced of women serving the
priest at the celebration of Mass. Since this abuse had spread to the
Greeks, Innocent IV strictly forbade it in his letter to the Bishop of
Tusculum: 'Women should not dare to serve at the altar; they should be
altogether refused this ministry.' We too have forbidden this practice in
the same words ...." (n. 29).
Another point of the feminist agenda is the introduction of women on the
altar by means of liturgical dance. Like Salome dancing for Herod, these
dancers try to charm and convince the Bishops they are indispensable for the
liturgy. Bishop Pilla allows liturgical dance in his Diocese. Altar girls
were first forbidden, then accepted by the present day Vatican, as can
happen with this other form of feminine presence on the altar. I hope it
will not happen.
In the Cleveland Diocese, Ursuline nuns are teaching the following occult
and pagan superstitions to Catholics: Jewish Kabbalah, Tai Chi meditation,
Yoga, Shamanism, Chakras, Feng Shui and Reiki. Further they are promoting
the Gnostic book The Da Vinci Code. This is one of four New Age “Health and
Wellness” centers which the Bishop Pilla promotes. In the April/May 2004
bulletin these centers hosted “Healing Yourself Through Mandalas” (1). The
official Diocese of Cleveland website has a page for its ambiguous "Gay and
Lesbian Ministry." (2)
1. For the Ursuline nuns, check at
http://ursulinesophiacenter.com/cgi-bin/scsearch.pl; for the St. Joseph
sisters see http://www.st joeswellness.com/ as well as
For years Bishop Pilla also permitted the group Future Church to meet on
Church property. This dissident organization promotes women priests (symbol
at right), married priests, and homosexuality as part of its agenda.
Only recently did the Bishop reverse his policy and disallow them from
meeting on Church property. However, Future Church is still stationed at St.
Mark’s in Cleveland.
Pilla on giving Communion to pro-abortion
On the topic of giving Communion to pro-abortion politicians, journalist
Colette Jenkins, who was present at a meeting with the Bishop and 35
politicians, reported these words of Bishop Anthony M. Pilla:
“The altar is a place of unity, healing, nourishment and grace. It is not a
place for confrontation ... In my view, the battles for human life and
dignity and for the weak and vulnerable should be fought not at the
Communion rail, but in the public square, in hearts and minds, in our
pulpits and public advocacy, in our consciences and communities.'' (Colette
Jenkins, "Politics, sacrament don't mix, Bishop says," in the Akron
Beacon Journal, July 2004).
This vague language means that the Bishop would give Communion to so-called
Catholic lawmakers such as John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, who for years have
been writing and promoting pro-abortion laws while voting against pro-life
laws that would save unborn babies.
In the same meeting, Pilla continued:
“The view of refusing Communion to politicians who support keeping abortion
legal is not part of the pastoral tradition of the Church …. Given the long
standing practice of not making a public judgment about the state of the
soul of those who present themselves for Communion, the pastoral tradition
of the church places the responsibility of such a judgment first on those
presenting themselves for Holy Communion” (ibid).
What kind of “newspeak” and double talk is this? It is the same old post
Vatican II ploy, claiming that it’s not “pastoral” to correct error and too
“judgmental” to correct bad practice and false teaching. Let’s just move
merrily along, holding hands and dancing into apostasy!
What does the Church really teach about giving Communion to notorious public
Code of Canon Law of 1983, canon 915 reads:
Spiritual services at the Ursuline Sophia Center include labyrinth walks
“Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been
imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave
sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
Canon 916 reads:
“Anyone who is conscious of grave sin may not celebrate Mass or receive the
Body of the Lord without previously having been to sacramental confession,
unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in
this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect
contrition, which includes the resolve to go to confession as soon as
The law requires three grave elements before
the sacraments are denied:
• That the person is in mortal sin, which indicates a serious offence
against God. A procured abortion, objectively, is a mortal sin with the
penalty of excommunication for the one who aborts and all who take part,
including the doctors, nurses, and politicians who promote it.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
• That the person overtly and publicly rejects the principles of the Church.
• That the person ““persists in his obstinacy”” and deliberately perseveres
in his sinful actions.
“Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature of office are obliged to
teach and educate others.” Further, “They are guilty of scandal who
establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals....”
Whosoever would apply these principles to the concrete situation of
Catholics who support or promote abortion would necessarily conclude that
they are forbidden to receive the Holy Eucharist. Notwithstanding, Bishop
Anthony Pilla teaches the opposite.
Anthony Pilla, Bishop of Cleveland
For this reason, after reading Bishop Pilla’s statements, I addressed a
letter to the editor to the Akron Beacon Journal, with a copy sent to
Bishop Pilla. I transcribe it as my conclusion to this article.
“Regarding Bishop Pilla’s favorable stand in giving Communion to supposedly
Catholic pro abortion politicians:
“So how is it "pastoral" or in "Church History," as Bishop Pilla suggested,
to allow pro-abortion politicians the privilege of receiving Our Lord’s
Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in Holy Communion? Would his fellow Bishop
Pope St. Peter have given Communion to a so-called converted Caesar who
continued to make pro abortion laws?
“Any unborn life that is snuffed out because of the laws of pro-abortion
politicians protected by Bishop Pill to receive Holy Communion (which
condemns them) is worth more than Bishop Pilla’s empty and contradictory
words or John Kerry’s actions. These two deserve each other. In contrast I
give you Christ’s words, Mt 18:6 "But he that shall scandalize (harm) one of
these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a
millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in
the depth of the sea.
“Finally, Bishop Pilla, look at the Diadache’s words (c. 65 A.D.)
:2:2 ‘Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt
not corrupt boys, thou shalt not commit fornication, thou shalt not steal,
thou shalt not deal in magic, thou shalt do no sorcery, thou shalt not
murder a child by abortion nor kill them when born, thou shalt not covet thy
neighbour's goods, thou shalt not perjure thyself, thou shalt not bear false
witness, thou shalt not speak evil.
“This is what we are not seeing nor hearing in your words. There is too much
heresy and scandal in this diocese and the buck stops with you.”
Posted August 10, 2004
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