Governor McGreevey is a pro-choice Catholic, in stark opposition to Church teaching. In June, Archbishop John J. Myers of the Newark diocese released a five-page statement titled "A Time for Honesty," in which he wrote that Catholic politicians who support abortion rights should not seek Communion. In response, New Jersey's pro-choice governor said that he would respect the archbishop's request and not seek the Eucharist at Mass. Oddly, McGreevey said he would accept Communion in private (whatever that means) but not in public, even though Myers made no distinction. Still, unlike most pro-choice politicians, he was willing to accept Church authority on an issue the Church understands as a matter of life and death.
McGreevey's response begged the question, or at least should have begged the question, if anyone at The CBS Evening News or the New York Times had cared to ask: Would John Kerry do the same?
Kerry, also a Catholic, is not just passively pro-choice; he is a champion of the cause. At the 2003 NARAL Pro-Choice America Dinner, where he described pro-lifers as "the forces of intolerance," Kerry boasted that his maiden speech as a freshman senator had been in support of Roe v. Wade. On the floor of the U.S. Senate on August 2, 1994, he staked a frightening position: "The right thing to do is to treat abortions as exactly what they are -- a medical procedure that any doctor is free to provide and any pregnant woman free to obtain. Consequently, abortions should not have to be performed in tightly guarded clinics on the edge of town; they should be performed and obtained in the same locations as any other medical procedure.... [A]bortions need to be moved out of the fringes of medicine and into the mainstream of medical practice."
. . . a number of Catholic bishops have suggested or stated that if John Kerry presents himself for Communion in their dioceses, he will be turned away. These include Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis, Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes of New Orleans, and even Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston -- Kerry's home diocese. Bishop Michael J. Sheridan of Colorado Springs went further, issuing a stern pastoral letter saying that Catholics who vote for politicians who advocate legal abortion should be denied Communion.
That brings us full circle to McGreevey. Around the same time as Sheridan's bold letter, Archbishop Myers of Newark released "A Time for Honesty," with which McGreevey complied. This makes one inquire: Could just one person in the national media ask John Kerry if he will follow McGreevey's example? At the very least, it's an interesting question that seems newsworthy — surely, worth a single headline. Please? Someone?
One might add that a good number of our bishops ought to "follow the lead" establishd by Bishop Sheridan, Archbishop Burke, Archbishop Hughes, Archbishop John F. Donahue (Atlanta), Bishop Peter Jugis (Charlotte NC) & Bishop Robert J. Baker (Charleston, SC), emulating their faithful teaching and application of Cardinal Ratzinger's memorandum and canon 915.
How about it?
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.