Catholics & the 2004 Presidential Election - Collected Readings & Resources


Saturday, April 24, 2004

Boston Diocese' Rev. Coyne: "Don't make a scene." 

Posted by Christopher Blosser at 1:24 AM

The scandal over Kerry's reception of communion has been reinvigorated by Cardinal Arinze's statement that politicans who are "unambiguously pro-abortion" are "not fit" to receive communion. However, in covering the story the Washington Post prints this little gem of a defense from the Boston diocese, on why they have declined to carry out Arinze's recommendation:
A spokesman for Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley of Boston said Kerry had not been barred from taking communion in his hometown, and he indicated that no ban was likely.

"The position of Archbishop O'Malley has been that when people come forward to receive communion, we give them communion. The moment of communion is not the moment in which to raise the question of whether someone should or should not be receiving it," said the spokesman, the Rev. Christopher Coyne.

Coyne said that it would be appropriate for a priest or bishop to counsel a politician whose positions are contrary to church teachings. "But this is something that's handled privately with the Catholic," he said. "It's not something where you would make any kind of public action or public statement to withhold communion."

Unfortunately, what Coyne fails to realize is that the Boston diocese' very reluctance to take a stand against Kerry is, in itself, "a public action and a public statement."

Catholics are obligated to regard the Body of Christ with the respect and honor He deserves. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself." Most Catholics -- well, those that are properly catechized at least -- know that to approach the Eucharist in a state of unrepentance and obstinate sin is a source of grave scandal.

Obviously, the individual is in the best position to determine whether he or she is properly disposed to receive. One cannot expect the priest to stop each communicant in line and inquire where they stand. It is our own responsibility to do so as Catholics.

Nevertheless, there are indeed cases where a Catholic can be a source of grave scandal by receiving communion, and where a priest's compliance in giving a Catholic communion can in turn perpetuate that scandal. This is precisely what Cardinal Arinze meant when he refers to politicans who are unambiguously pro-abortion -- not mentioning by name, but obviously alluding to Senator Kerry.

Kerry's bishop, Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley, has stated that "politicians should know that if they're not voting correctly on these life issues that they shouldn't dare come to Communion." Kerry has already met privately with Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, who -- we may presume -- said something along those lines as well. But as far as we can tell, whatever happened at that meeting failed to persuade Kerry to reconcile with the Church's teaching. Rather, he has launched a campaign of television advertisements affirming "pro-choice" and criticizing the President's opposition to abortion. Today attended a public rally, where he gladly received the endorsement of Planned Parenthood, and reaffirmed his support for Roe vs. Wade.

Which, of course, creates no small amount of confusion for many Catholics -- catechumens, teachers, parents, clergy -- being counseled (or counseling others) on responsible reception of the Eucharist.

For when Kerry and like minded, unambiguously pro-abortion politicians continue to receive communion at the hands of complacent priests, one is tempted to wonder whether the Church is operating under a double standard, and whether St. Paul's admonishment truly applies in this day and age.


Ongoing commentary by the editors of CatholicKerryWatch


Sen. John Kerry stands with Kate Michelman (right) President of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Since 1995, Michelman's group has given Kerry a 100% rating for his voting record to defend abortion.

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Contributing Editors:

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Ad Limina Apostolorum

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News Resources

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Kerry Communion Watch @ Beliefnet.com

The Candidates on Abortion: Where do they stand?

Documentation

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Periodicals

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Related Documents & Articles

Worthiness To Recieve Communion: General Principles
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding The Participation of Catholics in Political Life
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Evangelium Vitae
Pope John Paul II

Worthy to Receive the Lamb: Catholics in Political Life and the Reception of Holy Communion, from Archbishop Donoghue (Atlanta, GA), Bishop Baker (Charleston, SC) and Bishop Jugis (Charlotte, NC).
August 4, 2004

Catholics in Political Life U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. June 7, 2004.

Catholic Politicians and Bishops. By Most Rev. Raymond L. Burke, Archbishop of St. Louis. America June 21-28, 2004.

A Time For Honesty, Pastoral Statement by The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark. May 5, 2004.

Why Communion Could Be Denied to Anti-Life Legislators. Interview with Father Thomas Williams, dean of the School of Theology of the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum.

Why Don't Catholic Politicians Practice What the Catholic Church Preaches?, by Judie Brown. Washington Dispatch April 19, 2004.

How to tell a Duck from a Fox: Thinking with the Church as we look toward November, by Archbishop Chaput. Denver Catholic Register April 14, 2004.

On the Dignity of Human Life and Civic Responsibility, a Pastoral Letter by La Crosse Bishop Raymond L. Burke.

Blood On Their Hands: Exposing Pro-abortion Catholic Politicians, by Mark Stricherz. Crisis May 2003.

The Failure of Catholic Political Leadership, by Robert P. George & William E. Saunders. Crisis 18, No. 4 (April 2000).

Denying Holy Communion: A Case History, by Bishop Emeritus Rene Henry Gracida. [PDF Format].

Ten questions regarding the denial of the Eucharist, by Barbara Kralis.

Recommmended Reading

John Kerry, Abortion and the Catholic Church

Irreconcilable Differences", by Matthew Mehan. NRO Sept. 16, 2004.

John Courtney Murray and the 'Liberal Catholic' Justification of Abortion Investigative report by Christopher Blosser. August 30, 2004.

"Please answer the question, Senator Kerry", The Mighty Barrister. August 2, 2004.

You wouldn't even ask. Fr. Pavone (Priests for Life). July 2004.

Kerry isn't making abortion stand clear, by Raymond J. Keating. Newsday July 27, 2004.

Senator Kerry May Be Human . . . But is He a Person?, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 23, 2004.

Kerry's Catholic Problem, by Brent Bozell. July 7, 2004.

The Body Politic and the Body of Christ: Candidates, Communion and the Catholic Church. Debate btw/ Thomas J. Reese, S.J. and George Weigel. June 23, 2004.

The Kerry challenge, by George Weigel. May 5, 2004.

Rites and Wrongs: Why John Kerry should not take communion, by Philip F. Lawler. Wall Street Journal April 30, 2004.

John Kerry's Catholic Problem", by Cal Thomas. April 26, 2004.

Kerry Distorting Catholic Doctrine. Newsmax.com interviews George Weigel. April 16, 2004.

"Personally Opposed, But…" Five Pro-Abortion Dodges, by Todd M. Aglialoro. Crisis April 1, 2004.

On Embryonic Stem-Cell Research

Reagan vs. Reagan and The Stem-Cell Cover-Up, Catholic Kerry Watch, August 14, 2004.

Senator Kerry dismisses religious convictions as "ideology"  Catholic Kerry Watch. August 9, 2004.

Ron Reagan & Functionalism, Revisited, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 29, 2004.

Out of Touch, by Michael Fumento. Refuting Kerry's claims on the use of embryonic stem cells. Citizen Magazine August 2004.

Stem Cell Defection, by Ramesh Ponnuru. National Review August 16, 2004.

Stem Cell Research: Fact Sheets, Letters to Congress and Articles from the USCCB.

On Voting, "Proportionality" and Cardinal Ratzinger's Memorandum

What Ratzinger Said, by James Akin. Sept. 9, 2004.

Bishops Refute Flawed Theology (of Andrew Greeley) Barbara Kralis. August 22, 2004.

Thoughts on Proportionality, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 12, 2004.




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