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Bishop's ban ignites church-state debate
Cleveland Plain Dealer / AP ^ | 01/11/04 | Juliet Williams

Posted on 01/11/2004 6:15:18 PM PST by Valin

Milwaukee- A Roman Catholic bishop who waded into politics with a decree that lawmakers who support abortion rights can no longer receive Holy Communion has ignited a debate over the separation of church and state.

Bishop Raymond Burke of La Crosse cited Vatican doctrine, canon law and teachings by the U.S. bishops in an announcement telling diocesan priests to withhold Communion from such lawmakers until they "publicly renounce" their support of abortion rights.

"This is about as stark a decree to come down against Catholic politicians as we've seen in recent history," said Barry Lynn, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

"The problem with it is that elected officials have to represent people of all faiths and none and not adhere to one religious demand like the bishop's," he said.

The Vatican and U.S. bishops have for years urged Catholic legislators to consider their faith when they vote, and a task force of bishops is weighing whether to recommend sanctions for Catholic politicians who support policies contrary to church teachings.

In November, Burke wrote to at least three Catholic lawmakers, saying they risked being forbidden from taking the sacrament by continuing to vote for measures he termed anti-life, including abortion and euthanasia.

Democratic U.S. Rep. David Obey, who received a letter from Burke, said Friday that he respects the oath he took to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

Obey said Burke can instruct him on faith and morals in his private life but should use "persuasion, not dictation" to affect his political votes. He said Burke had "crossed the line into unacceptable territory."

State Senate Minority Leader Jon Erpenbach, a Democrat who was raised Catholic but is no longer practicing, expressed a similar view.

"Dictating public policy for people of all faiths by holding sacraments hostage from those who believe does not sound right," Erpenbach said.

Burke has also been criticized by some Catholic scholars.

Dan Maguire, a professor of theology at the Jesuit Marquette University in Milwaukee, called Burke a "fanatic" who has embarrassed the Catholic Church by using bullying tactics.

© 2004 The Plain Dealer


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Politics/Elections; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: abortion; catholic; catholicpoliticians; christianity; religion; secular
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1 posted on 01/11/2004 6:15:19 PM PST by Valin
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To: Valin
What does this have to do with the church-state separation? Is the author suggesting that a Catholic can't have any political opinions, or that is an invasion of the church/state separation? If so, then isn't it an invasion of the church/state separation for a Catholic to either support or oppose abortion?
2 posted on 01/11/2004 6:19:25 PM PST by Brilliant
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To: Valin
"The problem with it is that elected officials have to represent people of all faiths and none and not adhere to one religious demand like the bishop's," he said.

And since when is murder a religious issue?

3 posted on 01/11/2004 6:21:00 PM PST by MegaSilver
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4 posted on 01/11/2004 6:21:10 PM PST by Support Free Republic (Hi Mom! Hi Dad!)
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To: Valin
Who cares what a Jesuit scholar says, the Jesuit's left the Catholic Church years ago.
5 posted on 01/11/2004 6:21:48 PM PST by paguch
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To: Valin
If you don't believe in your domination's beliefs, change your domination. But some want it both ways.
6 posted on 01/11/2004 6:23:24 PM PST by fini
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To: Valin
This is not a Church-state issue. Actually abortion shouldn't even be a "state" issue. It is a moral issue & thus belongs to the church.

The Catholic church has the DUTY (per Paul's epistles) to tell their congregations how to behave as Catholic Christians.
7 posted on 01/11/2004 6:23:46 PM PST by madison10
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To: Valin
Being a Catholic is very simple ~ in for a dime, in for a dollar.

Any wayward politician who doesn't like having the Bishop withhold Communion can quit. It's all a matter of private conscience, and if a politician is of a mind that the Catholic church is intolerable, he should keep that in his private life, check out and move on.

Even complaining about it in public is a violation of church/state theory. After all, who you gonna' call, the Speaker of the House, or maybe John Ashcroft, to go tell the Bishop to lay off?

These baby-eaters who want to stay in good stead with the Catholic church are a bunch of whiners who appear to have been taught the wrong lessons by the nuns.

8 posted on 01/11/2004 6:23:48 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: Valin
This is why many people did not want to vote for Kennedy; because the church would have such control.
9 posted on 01/11/2004 6:24:08 PM PST by BikerNYC
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To: Valin
How are you representing people of all faiths by supporting abortion? You're following your own, narrow faith, not everyone else's.
10 posted on 01/11/2004 6:24:28 PM PST by WinOne4TheGipper (Hey. Wait. My tagline. OH MY GOD, I CAN'T FIND MY TAGLINE!!!!)
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To: Valin
"The problem with it is that elected officials have to represent people of all faiths and none and not adhere to one religious demand like the bishop's," he said.

Baloney. It's a matter of honesty, nothing more. If a politician is going to claim to be (Anglican|Buddhist|Catholic|...) he should act like it. The voters can decide whether that's what they want to elect.

11 posted on 01/11/2004 6:26:38 PM PST by ArrogantBustard
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To: BikerNYC
This is why many people did not want to vote for Kennedy; because the church would have such control.

Yeah, the church has such "control" that half the Catholics in Congress support abortion.

This is not about control. If one wants to call himself a Catholic, he cannot do that if his public stances oppose Catholicism.

He is free to leave Catholicism or change his view.

12 posted on 01/11/2004 6:26:51 PM PST by sinkspur (Adopt a shelter dog or cat! You'll save one life, and maybe two!)
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To: Valin
"The problem with it is that elected officials have to represent people of all faiths and none and not adhere to one religious demand like the bishop's," he said.

Barry Lynn should keep quiet. There is no "debate" here, except in the minds of secular humanists. The Catholic Church has the right to enforce their laws. I am confident that God is not pleased with the pro-abortion stands of these politicians. This article makes it sound as if the Bishop has broken some Constitutional law.

The real battle in America in the 21st century is between secular humanists and Christians. This article gives a not-so-subtle hint about where the radical left wants to take this war - using force against churches that don't tow the PC line.

13 posted on 01/11/2004 6:27:43 PM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: Brilliant
What does this have to do with the church-state separation?

What does the "church-state separation" have to do with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?

14 posted on 01/11/2004 6:28:05 PM PST by judgeandjury
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To: Valin
Obey and the rest need instruction on how to change their church membership. Both Dean and Clark can offer advice on this subject.
15 posted on 01/11/2004 6:34:13 PM PST by Malesherbes
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To: judgeandjury
We can spin this all too readily into noticing that Barry Lynn has asked John Ashcroft to suppress the Catholic church by imprisoning one of it's Bishops until he recants.

Hey, I didn't even have to spin that one!

16 posted on 01/11/2004 6:35:01 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: Valin
"Dictating public policy for people of all faiths by holding sacraments hostage from those who believe does not sound right," Erpenbach said.

And having public policy dictate the moral teachings of a religion is one of the reasons people came to the Americas from Europe in the first place, dips***.
Some of these CINO politicians will have to make a choice. Either they align their conscience with the moral teachings of the religion they belong to, or leave. They cannot have it both ways.

17 posted on 01/11/2004 6:35:22 PM PST by Tench_Coxe
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To: Zack Nguyen
Exactly right. This has nothing to do with the Constitution. It only has to do with politicians wanting to have the rights and privileges of a private organization (the Catholic Church). This is between the church and them. It has nothing to do with the Constitution. Dems want to have the political cover of being called a Catholic, without abiding by any of its rules. The Church, and any private organization, must have the right to enforce their own rules. The people are free to leave this voluntary organization (or any other one) at any time.
18 posted on 01/11/2004 6:37:12 PM PST by DeweyCA
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To: Valin
"A Roman Catholic bishop who waded into politics..."

He didn't "wade." He kicked down the door. And it's about time.

19 posted on 01/11/2004 6:39:14 PM PST by Joe 6-pack ("We deal in hard calibers and hot lead." - Roland Deschaines)
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To: sinkspur
He said Burke had "crossed the line into unacceptable territory."

Does this sound ominous to anyone else? Almost as if the Congressman is warning the Bishop. The opening line of the article sounds as if the Bishop had entered territory he had no right to enter.

I'm telling you, within most of our lifetimes there will be a showdown between church and state. Not just the Catholic Church, but Protestants/evangelicals as well. Too many leftists in this country worship government power as God. And this God will brook no rivals. Be prayed up and ready.

20 posted on 01/11/2004 6:42:39 PM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: DeweyCA
Indeed. Please check out my post #20.
21 posted on 01/11/2004 6:43:26 PM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: Valin
"The problem with it is that elected officials have to represent people of all faiths and none and not adhere to one religious demand like the bishop's," he said.

the problem really is an elected official who will not inform his conscience nor conduct himself according to it.

22 posted on 01/11/2004 6:43:53 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (do not remove this tag under penalty of law.)
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To: sinkspur
The control the church has is to cut the person off from rituals the person finds important and significant. It is not easy to leave a religion one has belonged to for a lifetime, and the church knows this. The risk is that a politician will vote because of the kind of blackmail seen in this case.

The church's blackmail weakens its moral authority. I appears as though the church itself does not believe any punishment in the afterlife will be sufficient; rather, punishment in this life is necessary.
23 posted on 01/11/2004 6:44:13 PM PST by BikerNYC
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To: fini
If a priest supports leftist causes, the left crows about it and makes the priest a "hero."
24 posted on 01/11/2004 6:46:50 PM PST by Enterprise ("You sit down. You had your say. Now I'm going to have my say.")
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To: Valin
Democratic U.S. Rep. David Obey, who received a letter from Burke, said Friday that he respects the oath he took to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

Does the Bill of Rights fit in here, anywhere?

This is great. Sometimes there has to be a separation of state and Church. In other words, a time comes to obey God rather than man.... even the man that elected you.

25 posted on 01/11/2004 6:46:59 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (do not remove this tag under penalty of law.)
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To: BikerNYC
I appears as though the church itself does not believe any punishment in the afterlife will be sufficient; rather, punishment in this life is necessary.

I'm not a Catholic, but in my opinion it has nothing at all to do with that. Christ laid down specific procedures to go through with a wayward brother. If all else fails the person is to be treated "like a tax collector." God wants members of his church to behave in a certain way while on earth. I have no idea if Congressman Obey truly belives or not - and that may be his biggest problem.

26 posted on 01/11/2004 6:47:35 PM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: BikerNYC
The church's blackmail weakens its moral authority. I appears as though the church itself does not believe any punishment in the afterlife will be sufficient; rather, punishment in this life is necessary.

It's not blackmail; no one is forced to belong to the Catholic Church.

Catholic politicians who openly support and vote for abortion give other Catholics the impression that abortion is just dandy.

Abortion is a violation of the moral law and is condemned by the Catholic Church. So the Church, in order to prevent the scandal of a Catholic politician contravening a Church law, publicly, is beginning to say that Catholic politicians are free to vote for abortion, but are no longer free to call themselves Catholics.

Life's full of all kinds of choices, some easy some painful. This is a painful one, but politicians must make it.

27 posted on 01/11/2004 6:48:24 PM PST by sinkspur (Adopt a shelter dog or cat! You'll save one life, and maybe two!)
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To: BikerNYC
" The church's blackmail weakens its moral authority. I appears as though the church itself does not believe any punishment in the afterlife will be sufficient; rather, punishment in this life is necessary."

It is not blackmail. The Catholic church has a responsibility. To turn and look away from one who claims to be a member then have that same person proceed to go against the church's moral teachings is akin to being an accessory to a crime.

28 posted on 01/11/2004 6:50:41 PM PST by Tench_Coxe
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To: Valin
"I'm a good Christian. The ROMANS pay me to do this."
29 posted on 01/11/2004 6:51:30 PM PST by PoorMuttly ("Deny, Deny, Bite")
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To: BikerNYC
If the Church does not discipline its members, it betrays Christ and its members. The members of His body do not have teaching authority, that is reserved for the shepherds of the flock who possess the teaching authority bestowed upon them by prior successors of Christ. The bishops have too long ignored their duty, themselves risking Christ's condemnation. It IS about time that they slap secularists publicly for the outrages perpetrated against the innocent.

Regards.

30 posted on 01/11/2004 6:54:34 PM PST by TheGeezer
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To: BikerNYC
Actually, a politician who votes for abortion and then goes to church to receive communion is, in the phrase I remember from the Book of Common Prayer in the days when I was an Epicopalian, "eating and drinking damnation to himself." Catholics believe that Holy Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ, and if a person receives communion in a state of mortal sin he is only making things much worse for himself.

Catholics also believe that anyone who "procures and abortion," which presumably applies to politicians whose votes make abortion and abortion funding possible, is automatically excommunicated. It is a false kindness for a bishop not to warn someone that they are risking damnation.

If you don't believe that, fine, but then you have no business being a Catholic.
31 posted on 01/11/2004 6:57:57 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: paguch
Ole Dan from Marquette University was married to a forme nun, now divorced from her, and still teaches Theology at Marquette U. His Highness Weakland never did anything about this "Former Jesuit." And now it appears Archbishop Dolan doesn't have the gonads to do anything about this - or even to defend Bishop Burke, who will soon take over Dolan's home diocese of St. Louis. Bishop Burke stands with Archbishop Bruskewitz of Lincoln, NE as men of stalwart faith in our church - and the balls to defend our faith against these duplicitous public servants.
32 posted on 01/11/2004 7:02:08 PM PST by NewMac
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To: Zack Nguyen
"Does this sound ominous to anyone else? Almost as if the Congressman is warning the Bishop. The opening line of the article sounds as if the Bishop had entered territory he had no right to enter."

Exactly.

33 posted on 01/11/2004 7:03:33 PM PST by reed_inthe_wind (That Hillary really knows how to internationalize my MOJO.)
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To: Cicero
Catholics also believe that anyone who "procures and abortion," which presumably applies to politicians whose votes make abortion and abortion funding possible, is automatically excommunicated.

Technically, procuring an abortion applies to abortionists, clinic assistants, and the woman procuring the abortion.

But, legislating to make abortion possible is surely only a half-step of separation from procurement.

If a Catholic politician is concerned that his faith prohibits him from representing all of his constituents, he should renounce Catholicism. Or, he should realize that unborn fetuses are also his constituents, and he is not representing them by enabling their extermination.

34 posted on 01/11/2004 7:03:36 PM PST by sinkspur (Adopt a shelter dog or cat! You'll save one life, and maybe two!)
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To: Valin
I have only one problem with this. It will not be enforced across the board in every diocese and, thus, will still send a confusing message.
35 posted on 01/11/2004 7:10:29 PM PST by Aliska
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To: sinkspur
he should renounce Catholicism

renounce his pretense to Catholicism : )

36 posted on 01/11/2004 7:19:11 PM PST by cornelis
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To: Saint Athanasius
Ping!
37 posted on 01/11/2004 7:21:54 PM PST by rhinohunter (Toomey for Senate!!!)
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To: Aliska
The most confusing of messages is to say nothing. If Bishop Burke remains silent he's a traitor to his calling.
Because so many Bishops past were weak-kneed and cowed by public opinion they did nothing and the seminaries were invaded and ruined.
Bishop Burke is probably heeding the advice of Edmund Burke:
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
The process of doing something has begun with Archbishops like Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Archbishop Meyer and many others who have been fighting an uphill battle against the forces of evil which have invaded our church through our (parishioners) love of secularism, and some Bishops' wanton dereliction of duty.
38 posted on 01/11/2004 7:29:15 PM PST by NewMac
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To: Valin
"Dictating public policy for people of all faiths by holding sacraments hostage from those who believe does not sound right," Erpenbach said.

At least the Bishop has not called on a cabal of Catholics to impose Catholic policies on the people of the United States against their will as recorded in their laws, which is how we got the abortion regime in the first place, from a "Supreme" cabal of secularists.

Mr. Erpenbach is no doubt happy to have public policy dictated by unelected judges, but it's wrong for a Bishop to ask Catholic politicians to stand by the teaching of their Church and let the voters decide. The implication is that a Catholic politician who does oppose abortion is somehow a tool of sinister control-hungry interests -- unlike Mr. Erpenbach, none of whose views whatsoever are influenced by anything like social pressure or the desire to fit in with the right sort of people or the influence of pro-abortion groups in his party.

It's no doubt tough to be denied the sacraments. It's also tough to defy the Church of Abortion and be described in the media as a "fanatic" and bully by a third rate academic drone like Dan Maguire. It's tough all over, Jon old boy, so don't expect my heart to break if some of your buds are now getting in a far less brutal way some of what they dish out.

39 posted on 01/11/2004 7:42:46 PM PST by Southern Federalist
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To: NewMac
and some Bishops' wanton dereliction of duty.

The same goes for Rome for not reining in the bishops. You are right on about the rest.

They were talking about this on the Michael Reagan Show, and Michael thought the bishops were wrong. I couldn't see where he was coming from on that. He didn't seem to get it.

A lady who called into the show and identified herself as a catholic, likened the way matters are handled in the US as a "checkerboard church". I did understand where she was coming from.

40 posted on 01/11/2004 7:43:30 PM PST by Aliska
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To: sinkspur
Yes, indeed. Voting in favor of abortion isn't quite the same thing as actually committing or procuring an abortion.

But you can draw an analogy to murder. You don't actually have to pull the trigger to be complicit in murder. If, for instance, you give money to a professional to murder someone, you are legally and morally responsible for the murder. Similarly, if you vote to provide tax money for abortions, you are effectively responsible for the abortions committed with that funding.

There may be some cases, for instance where a politician voted for limited abortion to avoid an even worse law being passed, where there might be some excuse. But even there, proportionality is not widely accepted as a valid moral argument among traditional theologians. Probably it would be legitimate to vote for a bill that made abortion in the third trimester legitimate, but it would be illegitimate to vote for a bill that proclaimed that abortion in the first two trimesters should be legal.

In most cases, the moral lines are pretty clear, however.
41 posted on 01/11/2004 7:45:14 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: madison10
"This is not a Church-state issue. Actually abortion shouldn't even be a "state" issue. It is a moral issue & thus belongs to the church. "

Baloney. Our entire legal system is based on morality.

42 posted on 01/11/2004 7:51:29 PM PST by Godebert
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To: Valin
For anyone to call this a church-state or a separation-of-church-state issue represents that absolute nadir of human thought.

Even granting the most expansive conceivable interpretation of the meaning of the First Amendment, the fact remains that the First Amendment tells THE GOVERNMENT what it cannot do. The Bishop of Milwaukee can tell Catholics ANYTHING he wants. In this case, he is telling them the truth: You can't kill babies and be a real Catholic.

43 posted on 01/11/2004 7:53:33 PM PST by Arthur McGowan
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To: Arthur McGowan
I meant LaCrosse, not Milwaukee.

The reporter failed to note that ex-priest Maquire is a pro-abortion fanatic, author of numerous vile, demonic articles and pamphlets put out by Catholics for a Free Choice.

44 posted on 01/11/2004 7:55:08 PM PST by Arthur McGowan
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To: Valin
"The problem with it is that elected officials have to represent people of all faiths and none and not adhere to one religious demand like the bishop's," he said.

Translation: It is a condition of holding public office in America that one be willing to kill babies.

Guess what: Catholics don't have to be politicians or hold any public office. If it ever becomes a fact that the only way to hold public office is to participate in killing babies, then Catholics have to choose one or the other. All the bishop is telling Catholics is: You can't kill babies and be a real Catholic.

45 posted on 01/11/2004 7:58:17 PM PST by Arthur McGowan
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To: NewMac
...it appears Archbishop Dolan doesn't have the gonads to do anything about this..

The Jesuits as a religious order report directly to the Pope. The local Bishop actually has little to say. Maguire is allowed to speak for himself as he pleases for only one reason - he has tenure.

46 posted on 01/11/2004 8:07:45 PM PST by Last Dakotan
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To: BikerNYC
"because the Church would have such control..."

Control over WHAT??? It's MEMBERS???

It is objectionable that the Catholic Church tell its MEMBERS what their moral duties are?

If we followed your principle, the First Amendment means: Churches are forbidden to teach their members anything.

How does shutting down a Church increase the freedom of the American People? Oh, yeah--the freedom to kill babies REQUIRES abolishing all OTHER freedoms, like freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

47 posted on 01/11/2004 8:07:56 PM PST by Arthur McGowan
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To: Zack Nguyen
It certainly sounds ominous to me, as if they would love to be able to regulate the moral teachings of the Church, which is quite explicit on the issue of excommunication for having or facilitating abortion.
48 posted on 01/11/2004 8:27:25 PM PST by Frank_2001
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To: BikerNYC
Blackmail? Well I suppose so, but then I guess you'd say no church(in the broadest sense of the word) can't tell anyone what they should/need to believe to be a member.
49 posted on 01/11/2004 8:29:40 PM PST by Valin (We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.)
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To: Valin
Bishop Burke and the church rules govern the reception of Communion. Not the politicians! No problem here, sorry!
50 posted on 01/11/2004 8:29:58 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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