Skip to comments.Bishop's ban ignites church-state debate
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
And since when is murder a religious issue?
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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.
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.
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.
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.
What does the "church-state separation" have to do with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?
Hey, I didn't even have to spin that one!
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.
He didn't "wade." He kicked down the door. And it's about time.
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.