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Holy Communion Should Be Denied To Kerry

5/25/2004 - 4:00 AM PST

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By Michael J. Gaynor

The protection of the Holy Eucharist must be the bishops’ paramount consideration today.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, an ardent abortion supporter and nominal Roman Catholic, “fully intend[s] to receive communion, one way or another,” despite Vatican opposition to the receipt of Holy Communion by persons professing to be both Catholics in a state of grace and abortion supporters.

Ms. Pelosi explained that receiving Holy Communion is “very important” to her. That makes good sense politically, since a Catholic who presents herself or himself for Communion thereby represents that she or he is in a state of grace and being in a state of grace (or at least appearing to be) is still a political plus.

Will America’s Catholic bishops cooperate or chastise America’s Nancy Pelosi's, Tom Daschle's, Ted Kennedy's and John Kerry's? (Prominent nominally Catholic politicians tend to be Democrats, but there are some nominally Catholic Republicans who share their perverse priorities, such as Maine Senator Susan Collins.)

That may depend upon which is more important to America's Catholic bishops, the Church's fundamental principles or its tax exemption.

Canon 915 provides that “[t]hose… who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Canon 915 protects the Holy Eucharist and prevents the public scandal that would result from ineligible persons receiving Holy Communion.

Bishops who are reluctant to embarrass prominent politicians need to recall that Jesus had no patience for those moneychangers in the Temple. Protecting the sanctity of the Temple was His paramount consideration then. The protection of the Holy Eucharist must be the bishops’ paramount consideration today.

Averting public scandal is vital. As St. Thomas Aquinas long ago explained, a distinction “must be made” between secret and open sinners, and “Holy Communion ought not to be given to open sinners when they ask for it.”

Bishop William K. Weigand of Sacramento has called on pro-choice Catholic politicians to refrain from taking Holy Communion. “As your bishop, I have to say clearly that anyone -- politician or otherwise -- who thinks it is acceptable for a Catholic to be pro-abortion is in very great error, puts his or her soul at risk, and is not in good standing with the Church. Such a person should have the integrity to acknowledge this and choose of his own volition to abstain from receiving Holy Communion until he has a change of heart,” he said.

Last year, Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis, then Bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin, went further. He publicly decreed that Catholic legislators in his diocese who “support procured abortion or euthanasia may not present themselves to receive Holy Communion” and are to be denied Holy Communion if they nevertheless present themselves “until…they publicly renounce their support of these most unjust practices.” Prior private efforts to persuade had been rebuffed.

Archbishop Burke emphasized that he did what a bishop is required to do. He explained that “[t]he duty of Catholic legislators to respect human life is….God’s law,” and that bishops who “remain silent[s] while the faith, in one of its most fundamental tenets, is…openly disobeyed by those who present themselves as sincere adherents of the faith, [has] failed most seriously and should be removed from office.”

As Pope John Paul II proclaimed in his 1988 Apostolic Exhortation:

Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights -- for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture -- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and condition to all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.

For what has become a scandalously long time, the Roman Catholic Church has neglected to bar from Holy Communion many prominent nominal Catholics who publicly and proudly support abortion, in blatant violation of the fundamental Church teaching that human life is sacred and begins at conception.

John Kerry, a nominal Catholic, is the presumptive presidential candidate of the Democrat Party. He is supporting partial-birth abortion, calling abortion a woman's right and vowing to appoint only pro-abortion justices. At the dinner hosted by NARAL Pro-Choice America (formerly, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, Kerry proclaimed, “We are not going to turn back the clock. There is no overturning of Roe v. Wade. There is no packing of courts with judges who will be hostile to choice.”

Kerry has created a public scandal by receiving Holy Communion ...

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