Catholics & the 2004 Presidential Election - Collected Readings & Resources

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Cardinal McCarrick, Bishop Sheridan clarify their positions. 

Posted by Christopher Blosser at 9:32 AM

The Rocky Mountain News reports on a clarification by Bishop Sheridan published in the diocesian newspaper The Catholic Herald (Sheridan is in Rome and his spokesman was unavailable for further comment):
Catholic Bishop Michael Sheridan, of Colorado Springs, said this week he wants to clarify parts of an earlier letter on Holy Communion and politics that has inspired calls for IRS tax scrutiny.

"The most serious misrepresentation of my letter was the conclusion drawn by many that I, or other ministers of Holy Communion, would refuse the sacrament to people who voted in a particular way," Sheridan wrote. "Nowhere in the letter do I say this or even suggest it."

Sheridan continued: "The church calls upon sinners to withhold themselves from receiving Holy Communion until they have been forgiven their sins," including support for abortion. "This is a far cry from denying someone Communion. How, in fact, could I deny anyone Holy Communion since I would not know the condition of the communicant's soul?"

Members of this blog have pointed out the difference between refusing communion to anyone who approaches the alter and refusing communion to a politician or individual who by their persistent and public acts of disobedience to the Church (and refusal to change their position) become a source of grave scandal. Apparently, Sheridan's clarification wasn't good enough for some:
Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a watchdog group based in Washington, D.C., has asked the IRS to investigate whether the diocese forfeited its tax exemption because of Sheridan's May 1 letter.

In that letter, the bishop repeatedly refers to the November elections and also says that Catholic candidates "or those who would vote for them, may not receive Holy Communion until they have recanted their positions" and gone to confession.

Lynn said Sheridan's second letter may be milder and less controversial but it doesn't substantially change the message of his first.

"I don't buy it," Lynn said Wednesday. "I don't think that the clarification is good enough. He, in fact, said that you should not vote for candidates who disagreed with the church on certain issues.

Apparently Barry Lynn would simply prefer that Bishop Sheridan stop teaching the truth of the Catholic faith altogether in regard to "certain issues."

Meanwhile, The Times Picayune reports that:

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, in his strongest statement to date, told Catholic journalists that "I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to ask my priests to do it."

McCarrick said denying Communion to politicians puts the church on a "slippery slope" that would eventually lead to denying Communion to voters who support those politicians.

"We should have no confrontation at the altar," McCarrick told members of the Catholic Press Association on May 27, according to Catholic News Service. "I'm not going to have a fight with someone, holding the sacred body and blood in my hand."

McCarrick, who had said previously that he was reluctant to use the Eucharist as a "sanction" against dissenting politicians, is heading a task force of bishops that is expected to make its recommendations after the November elections.

Is it just me, or does anybody else think that, having so clearly made up his mind against taking any action on this issue whatsoever, the fact that Cardinal McCarrick is heading such a "task force" seriously compromises its capability in deciding on a course of action?

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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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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