Catholics and their political responsibilities

By Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. (articles ) | May 20, 2004

Women for Faith & Family has put together an excellent resource that brings together in one place everything that Pope John Paul, the Vatican curia, the USCCB, and individual bishops have said on Catholics and their political responsibilities. A very good reference, especially for those who are trying to answer objections by pro-abortion, anti-life Catholics, especially when they try to equate stances on fundamental truths with those that require prudential judgments.

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  • Posted by: - May. 23, 2004 2:04 AM ET USA

    How about asking Rome that the words of Bishop Sheridan be copied as a Papal Enclyclical letter, ex cathedra, de fide, etc., etc.? So that the entire Church and world would get the message, clearly, once and for all ! You can't be an enemy of the Catholic Faith and a loyal Catholic at the same time, any more than a circle can be square !

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 2:56 PM ET USA

    "Plick": "Dom" essentially "read my mind". Canon 915 cannot be ignored! I know Catholics who are involved in "catechesis" and go to Communion regularly. At the same time these people publicly praise pro-abortion Democrats, even working on their campaigns at a local level. In some cases, I am confident that their pastors know this (and in one instance supports it!) The Eucharist must be protected, these people need to be protected, and other parishioners need to be saved from scandal.

  • Posted by: leila - May. 21, 2004 11:28 AM ET USA

    I think John is asking how a pastor could deny communion to a person who supported the issue of, say, same-sex marriage, if that person is not running for office, thereby making his position clear. How do you know who thinks what -- since most don't have their opinions published in the newspaper -- when they come up to receive? So we're back to the formation of conscience; the real job of the pastor -- not a simple one either.

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 11:23 AM ET USA

    Plick -- don't abandon us to Diogenes! Your purgative comments often temper his melting insights with charity. The stern public statements from the bishops are really a blessing, not a threat to privacy or freedom. This is not new -- Catholics are warned from the cradle to abstain from communion when in a state of grave sin. It is a wonderful development when bishops exhibit the courage to clarify specific circumstances associated with grave sin pertinent to the day. Then there is no doubt.

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 11:00 AM ET USA

    Actually John, there is one reason why someone would be deied the Eucharist and it is canon 915: "Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or the declaration of a penalty as well as others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to communion." For example, If someone publicly declares, by deed or word, to support abortion, that is manifest and grave sin. If they belong to some group that promotes it or publicly support one who would legalize it, that's a manifest, grave sin.

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 9:35 AM ET USA

    How about no communion for the ignorant wenches who show up in shorts and tube tops, or for the fellow who couldn't find any clothes one morning, but dragged himself into church in a tank top and short shorts and army boots, complete with back-hair bursting out in all directions? I don't think their privacy would be invaded, nor would one have to be a "mind-reader" to see their disrespect. How about starting with them and working down?

  • Posted by: John J Plick - May. 21, 2004 8:05 AM ET USA

    Before you all excommunicate me and I have to consider worshipping with my friends the protestants please,please,realize that I AGREE with ALL the comments below.There are STRONG warnings in the Scripture against anger,and this is a very good example of why.There are more than a few reasons why one should not receive Eucharist, but only very few why a person could or should (or must)be clearly DENIED Eucharist should they have the arrogance to present themselves.We ARE NOT fanatics, mindreaders.

  • Posted by: - May. 20, 2004 4:09 PM ET USA

    What would be better would be a Canon Law commentary link to Ed Peters.

  • Posted by: - May. 20, 2004 3:36 PM ET USA

    To John J Plick: Bishop Sheridan's comment is nothing new. It is the teaching of the Church. God bless him for having the courage to promulgate it! More Catholics, especially bishops and cardinals, need to start talking like this. Over 30 million innocent babies have been killed by abortion in this country...Catholics need to take a stand against this grave sin and must not be complicit in the sin by voting for pro-abortion politicians!!

  • Posted by: - May. 20, 2004 3:35 PM ET USA

    I think, Mr. Plick, the issue is public and open support of laws and policies that violate Church teaching. The issue becomes one of flaunting one's contempt of the Church while hypocritically claiming to remain a devout member. The only way that privacy would become an issue is if the person committing the offense confessed his sins to a priest. While it would still remain private, that person would have to be instructed by the confessor that he (or she) should not receive the Eucharist.

  • Posted by: - May. 20, 2004 2:27 PM ET USA

    What's "radical" in Sheridan's statement? And what "invasion of privacy"? What Kerry, and others of his ilk, have done is to step outside the realm of privacy and publicly deny a tenant of the Faith. That makes them manifest (public) grave sinners, "notorious" and, thus, they scandalize the lay faithful. They are the real radicals, not Sheridan.

  • Posted by: - May. 20, 2004 2:08 PM ET USA

    The exact words of the bishop: "Any Catholics who vote for candidates who stand for abortion, illicit stem cell research or euthanasia suffer the same fateful consequences. (place themselves outside full communion with the Church) 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."

  • Posted by: John J Plick - May. 20, 2004 10:55 AM ET USA

    "Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs broadened the debate when he said anyone voting for a politician who supports abortion rights, same-sex marriage, stem-cell research or euthanasia — all positions that run contrary to church teaching — would be denied Communion." I would appreciate it if you would definitely affirm or deny this radical statement in the "Seattle" article.It is certainly an invasion of privacy (how would any priest know anyway?) and potentially inflammatory.