Catholics & the 2004 Presidential Election - Collected Readings & Resources

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

The always interesting William F. Buckley weighs in on Kerry and Communion in this article

I am in favor of the First Amendment guarantee of free speech, with one exception. Nobody should be permitted to say flat-out that "the government should stay out of the bedrooms of America." What if a civil-rights hate act was being conducted in the bedroom? For that matter, what if Daddy was forcing his way with a 10-year-old girl? Or Mom was starving her 10-month-old boy?

The phrase is an idiotic invocation of a taboo whose single purpose, in current usage, is to illegitimize concern about sexual activity. Said John Kerry (news - web sites), "Abortion should be rare, but it should be safe and legal because the government should stay out of the bedrooms of America." Just by the way, the bedrooms of America aren't where abortions are had; they're where seeds are planted that lead to abortions.

That government should stay out of the bedrooms of America has come to mean an ever-increasing area of official non-concern. There is to be no concern over sodomy in the bedroom. But are there limits? What about incest? We know that infanticide is just plain illegal, even if undertaken in the bedroom -- provided the infant is at least 1 day old. If the infant is minus 1 day old, it's all right to snuff him/her out, and go to church on Sundays.

We bump now into a second maxim, to which insufficient thought is given. "John Kerry is a believing and practicing Catholic," said his campaign spokesman David Wade. "His faith has played an important role in his life, but he also believes in the separation of church and state."

Well, so do us guys, Wade. But when John Kerry approaches the altar rail to present himself for communion, why are so many people saying that he should be given communion? If we have a separation of church and state, then the right of the church is to decide who does and who does not receive communion. If you are saying that a member should be given communion even if he counsels laws that violate rights believed by the church to be universal, then you are not arguing the separation of church and state. You are arguing the supremacy of the state. State believes abortion OK; therefore, church must not discriminate against anyone who also says it is OK.

Or is the complaint against the Catholic Church that it is laying down laws not only for Catholics, but also for non-Catholics? But if the moral commandments of a church extended only to the treatment of its own members, then it would be fine to ignore the rights of people who were merely, oh, Hindus, or Jews. It is another thing, of course, to limit the sanctions of a church to its own members. A Catholic bishop would be presumptuous if he announced that Al Franken would not be welcome at the communion rail. It is widely understood, and not resented, that only Catholics go to the Catholic communion rail, the same kind of thing as only Democrats go to Democratic caucuses.

But now we have a Nigerian cardinal in the Vatican (news - web sites) who has reaffirmed the right of an American Catholic bishop to deny communion to someone who votes in favor of permissive abortion laws. The organization of the Catholic Church is centralized. The pope is the head of the church, but bishops are vested with authority that is theirs, and includes, in this case, the authority to deny communion to those who flout precepts thought by the bishops to be central to moral obligations.

The difference between giving communion to John Kerry, presidential candidate, and giving communion to John Doe, who voted for a local abortion law, is that Kerry is a public figure, and therefore a transgressor whose transgression is a public act, inviting reprisal, like the protester who draws attention to himself by proclaiming his defiance. To upbraid a bishop for denying communion to a public figure who espouses permissive abortion laws is to upbraid him for upholding the doctrine of the separation of church and state. If the churchman allows himself to be governed by state practices, he violates that separation.

I just love how he reversed the church-state separation argument in the last paragraph.

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:

Oswald Sobrino of
Catholic Analysis

Earl E. Appleby of
Times Against Humanity

Jeff Miller of
The Curt Jester

Ad Limina Apostolorum

Christopher Blosser of
Against The Grain

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Kerry's Critics


Ad Limina Apostolorum
The Black Republican
The Blog From The Core
Catholics for Bush [Blog]
Catholic Light
Defensor Fidei (Jimmy Akin)
Domenico Bettinelli, Jr.
The Galvin Opinion
Just Being Frank
Laudem Gloriae
Let's Try Freedom
Mark Shea
[The Meandering Mind of a Seminarian]
The Mighty Barrister
Open Book
Thrown Back
TriCoastal Commission


Catholics Against Kerry
De Fide
Kerry Wrong For Catholics
Priests For Life

News Resources

Google News
Mallon's Media Watch
New York Times
Yahoo News

Kerry Communion Watch @

The Candidates on Abortion: Where do they stand?




National Catholic Reporter
National Catholic Register
The Hill
Crisis Magazine
National Review
Weekly Standard

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. 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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