There must be no confusion in these matters. Any Catholic politicians who advocate for abortion, for illicit stem cell research or for any form of euthanasia ipso facto place themselves outside full communion with the Church and so jeopardize their salvation. Any Catholics who vote for candidates who stand for abortion, illicit stem cell research or euthanasia suffer the same fateful consequences. It is for this reason that these Catholics, whether candidates for office or those who would vote for them, may not receive Holy Communion until they have recanted their positions and been reconciled with God and the Church in the Sacrament of Penance. (Bishop Michael Sheridan, Pastoral Letter On the Duties of Catholic Politicans and Voters, (PDF document), May 1, 2004, Diocese of Colorado Springs)
In his pastoral letter, Bishop Sheridan correctly applies this same conclusion to those advocating same-sex "marriage":
As in the matter of abortion, any Catholic politician who would promote so-called "same-sex marriage" and any Catholic who would vote for that political candidate place themselves outside the full communion of the Church and may not receive Holy Communion until they have recanted their positions and been
reconciled by the Sacrament of Penance.
The document is worth reading in its entirety. Bishop Sheridan also makes clear that he is in solidarity with and supporting his brother bishops who have dared to clearly state Catholic teaching on these issues. After you read the letter in its entirety, then consider what I will now say about the NY Times coverage of the same letter. The theme of the NY Times headline, "Bishop Would Deny Rite for Defiant Catholic Voters," and story is that Sheridan is now daring to advocate denying the Eucharist to any Catholic voter who votes for a pro-abortion politician. Of course, this sensationalistic approach is intended to panic the average Catholic parishioner who fears that now he or she will be denied the Eucharist just as some pro-abortion celebrities have been. Well, if a Catholic voter is a well-known activist for abortion or gay marriage who obstinately and knowingly persists in pushing these anti-Catholic positions then he or she can and should under canon law be denied the Eucharist. But it is obvious that no anonymous, average Catholic voter by definition fits into the category of a public activist. This pastoral letter is telling average, anonymous Catholic voters that if they have freely and knowingly voted for pro-abortion politicians and/or politicians supporting gay "marriage," fully aware, as is likely, that these positions are gravely immoral under Catholic moral teaching, they need to go to confession prior to receiving the Eucharist. But obviously no one will be able to deny the Eucharist to such an average voter for the simple practical reason that his acts are not known to the public. Even the NY Times article makes note of that, even while distorting the wording of the bishop's pastoral letter. In my view, the NY Times is distorting the message of the pastoral letter—which at no point addresses the issue of denying anyone the Eucharist—in order to paint Sheridan as an extremist inquisitor who will now harass every Catholic communicant, however humble and anonymous. In my opinion, this distortion is part of the liberal strategy to save Kerry and other pro-abortion celebrities by linking their fate to that of noncelebrity, average Catholics. The NY Times is so alarmed and aghast that some Catholic bishops are showing chutzpah that it misrepresents Sheridan's written statement and thereby creates confusion among average Catholics. But the same liberal media won't be alarmed about someone like Cardinal Mahoney of Los Angeles who is indirectly quoted in the same story as asserting that Kerry is "welcome" to receive the Eucharist in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Mahoney's compromise of Catholic teaching is to be expected by anyone familiar with his liberal reputation. It is no surprise. I would not even be surprised to see Mahoney leading the invocation for Kerry at the Democratic convention in Boston. Kerry recently met privately with Mahoney on May 5th. It would not be out of the ordinary for Kerry to have already issued the invitation for Mahoney to appear at the Democratic convention. As I recall, Mahoney has done that before. But what is a newsworthy surprise is that an increasing number of Mahoney's brother bishops are showing that they are cut from a different cloth. Update: If you would like to thank Bishop Sheridan of Colorado Springs for his strong apostolic witness, you can e-mail the Diocese of Colorado Springs at firstname.lastname@example.org. The media will try to paint these stalwart bishops as extremists or kooks. We know better, and should encourage bishops who stand up to the errors of the secular culture.
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.