THE stand taken by American bishops over the refusing of Holy Communion to politicians who publicly advocate abortion is entirely correct.
It seems to me, though, that the emphasis has been put in the wrong place, in that priests and bishops should never even be placed in the position where they have to decide whether they should take such action.
In the case of Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry, the most conspicuous example, the onus is on him to not even approach the altar when his views are so totally at odds with Catholic teaching. He is living a lie – a very public lie.
Suggest to him that he join the Republican Party, and he would no doubt scoff at such a preposterous idea on the grounds that he could not in honesty belong to a party whose policies he rejects.
Not so, apparently, in the case of the Church he nominally belongs to.
His motives are clearly cynical, and are in fact symptomatic of a much wider problem in the Church today – Catholics who have effectively left their Church, but deliberately maintain a physical presence in an attempt to take the Church down with them.
On a local level, other Catholics have probably shared my experience of Mass-going Catholics refusing to sign a petition calling for legal protection of the unborn. It is not a pleasant experience.
Those whose beliefs and lifestyle are totally at odds with the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church should voluntarily abstain from receiving Holy Communion, an action expressing complete unity with Christ and his Church.
It is the only honest course of action. They should never force the priest or bishop to make the decision for them.
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