House Dems Slam Pope's Threat

By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2007 8:08 AM CDT
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano on Monday, May 14, 2007 but taken on Sunday, May 13, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the opening mass of the V General Conference...   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – A group of House Democrats bridled at Pope Benedict's recent suggestion that politicians who support abortion rights should be excommunicated, The Hill reports. Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut led 18 legislators in condemning the Pope's comment, which "offends the very nature of the American experiment," according to their statement.

Benedict said he would back excommunication for Mexico City legislators who legalized abortion, though a Vatican spokesman later backpedalled, saying he meant that Catholic abortion supporters should "exclude themselves from communion." Six Catholics are shooting for the White House next year, and abortion is already figuring heavily in the campaign.