Christopher posts below on what Cardinal Mahony said about denying Communion to politicians and Dr. Peters' response to it.
I don't find the Cardinals arguments to be convincing. Especially the statement that the only way to reduce and eventually eliminate abortion is to convince people that it is wrong. I agree that the Church should loudly proclaim the Gospel of Life and to educate people as to the truth of its message. This should be where the majority of the emphasis is applied. Where I disagree with his argument is that it is the only method that can be used. Often times in Catholic circles we discuss the idea of both/and where it is not always one idea against another. There is no reason why both education and discipline can not be used to advance the culture of life. It is not a question of which is more productive, together they augment each other. A loving parent both educates and disciplines. Not all will respond to the Church even when it does correctly articulate its views. I do not think that it is reasonable to believe that politicians who support abortion and homosexuality do not know what the Church teaches. That only if they were educated more that they would then change their minds. Original sin has thrown a monkey wrench into this concept. Some will obstinately refuse to follow the Church no matter the effectiveness of its cathechesis. We need to prevent both scandal and sacrilege
I find the following to be a misrepresentation of what the church says.
"The church has always been quite cautious about denying anyone the sacraments of the church," he said. "And, in fact, with respect to the Eucharist, it really is not possible for a priest or bishop to deny someone Communion unless that person is known to have been a public sinner, in the sense of having been interdicted or excommunicated or formally sanctioned in some way.
"The presumption is that if someone presents himself for Communion, that they are doing so with the belief that they are in a state of grace and receiving in good faith the Eucharist,"
According to this declaration by the the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts in June 2000:
The discernment of cases in which the faithful who find themselves in the described condition are to be excluded from Eucharistic Communion is the responsibility of the Priest who is responsible for the community. They are to give precise instructions to the deacon or to any extraordinary minister regarding the mode of acting in concrete situations.
4. Bearing in mind the nature of the above-cited norm (cfr. n. 1), no ecclesiastical authority may dispense the minister of Holy Communion from this obligation in any case, nor may he emanate directives that contradict it.
I don't see why the Vatican would release this document if it was not possible for a priest or Bishop to deny someone Communion unless they were formally excommunicated.
We bishops have to be very careful," he said. "We cannot be giving the impression that we are telling people to vote for this candidate or that candidate. That has never been our role, and if we give the impression that that is what we are doing, then we have failed our people."
So if your a Catholic politician you get a free pass since we don't want to tell people how to vote. Maybe we should remove some of the disturbing lines in the Bible like "Thou shall not kill" should be removed since it might form someone's conscience and they might vote that way. They should not be giving the impression that they our telling people how to vote the impression should be that they are upholding the faith and calling people to repentance. Besides Catholics hardly vote as a block anyway. How many Catholic pro-abortion Kerry supporters will change their vote if Mr. Kerry is denied Communion?
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.