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May 13, 2004|
KERRY THROUGH THE KEYHOLE |
The April 26, 2004 edition of FaxNotes addressed the fact that Senator John Kerry supports legal abortion, opposes pro-life legislation across the board, and supports policies and programs endorsed by the abortion industry lobby. Despite his anti-life record he continues to call himself a Roman Catholic, even though his public statements and actions are in direct contravention of Catholic teaching.
A few Catholic Bishops have recently made it clear that politicians who support and enable legal abortion are not worthy to receive Holy Communion, the central sacrament of the Church. Most notably, Cardinal Francis Arinze, a high Vatican official, said at an April 25 press conference that politicians who unambiguously support abortion must not go to Communion and priests must deny them the sacrament. (Zenit News Agency, ROME, 4/26/04) He said such politicians are "unfit" to receive the sacrament.
What is at issue here is not how elected officials who happen to be Catholic conduct their business. Senators Kennedy, Collins and others of their ilk are free to support abortion, infanticide, cloning whatever evil strikes their fancy.
What is at issue is the right and obligation of the Catholic hierarchy to run the Catholic Church in a manner that is faithful to the teachings of Christ and His Church. Catholic teaching asserts that human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception and that abortion is an abominable crime.
Catholics who support pro-abortion public policy are guilty of grave (mortal) sin. Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law reads: ". . .those who (like Senator Kerry and many others in Congress) obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."
For Catholics, Holy Communion is the real presence of the Body and Blood of Christ. This belief is a matter of faith. Obviously, to receive Communion while in the state of serious sin would be a sacrilege. Prohibiting a person from receiving Communion under those circumstances is not only to prevent the sacrilege, but also to prevent the person involved from further endangering his immortal soul. The hope is always that he will repent and reform his life in keeping with the faith he professes.
Some pundits and cartoonists who have no idea what the Church teaches on the subject of capital punishment, claim that the same penalty should hold true for politicians who support the death penalty.
There is no moral equivalency between abortion, the killing of an innocent child, and capital punishment, the justifiable taking of the life of a perpetrator of a heinous crime in order to protect the society at-large. Unlike abortion, the Catholic Church does not condemn capital punishment. Recognizing that "The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm," the 1997 edition of The Catechism of the Catholic Church (sec. 2267) states, "Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in conformity with the dignity of the human person." Killing of the unborn is the gravest of sins. Politicians like Kerry are free to reject the admonitions of Catholic Church leaders, refuse to repent, and continue to carry on with their pro-abortion advocacy. The Church isn't telling them how to vote in Congress.
But, when their public statements and publicly cast votes promote the funding and practice of abortion their sin is also public and scandalous, not a matter of private conscience. The Bishops have a duty to not contribute to the commission of a sacrilege by allowing Senator Kerry and others to receive Communion unworthily. They have no choice but to be authentically Catholic.
What made the difference was the support the liberal Specter received from Pennsylvania's other Senator, Rick Santorum and from President Bush, who campaigned around the state with Specter raising money and allowing his voice to be used in automated phone calls on Specter's behalf. Now that he has been re-elected to another six-year term, he is in line to step into the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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