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
Okay, really bad choice of words on my part. I hope you'll bear with me; I've been on vacation for several weeks and my brain has been effectively rendered "off."
What I SHOULD have said was, "Since when does outlawing murder require a reference to religion?"
And this is the one reason that so many hate the Catholic Church.......the one Church that has stood steady and firm throughout history.
(Yes, I know there have been some mistakes, but all in all, the Catholic Church is the mainstay of morals.)
Well, I'm not exactly Catholic (but I'm not exactly Protestant either... Christian, yes; not sure about denomination), but I certainly don't hate Catholicism. My grandparents, as well as my mother's sister and her family, are all Catholic, and from what I can see, they appear to love God more than anything else and genuinely desire to be like Christ (and I can say the same thing about the Pope), and that's what's important.
For me, the problem isn't Catholics so much as the way the Church seems to have allowed itself to kind of... melt since Vatican II. Some would argue (and I would agree) they made necessary reforms at that council, but from that point on, I've encountered a LOT of cases where the Church doesn't stress the importance of CONTINUALLY living for God; not just remembering him once a week at the Eucharist or while doing sacraments. Now, this certainly doesn't describe ALL of the Churches or congregations; in fact, I attend the Catholic Church on my college campus, and I have met many people there who are genuinely devoted to God. And it happens in a number of Protestant churches as well.
But--and this is just my opinion; someone may have had a different experience than me--on the whole, I see a far bigger problem of "nominal Christianity" in the Catholic Church than I do in most Protestant churches. It seems (to me) that too many people practice a form of Catholicism which is devoid of actual Christian substance, and it appears to me that the clergy isn't always doing all that it should to rectify this.
Hoo... I'm done ranting. Again, it's nothing against Catholics; I know many Catholics who genuinely follow the example of Christ. Just a concern I have for the Church. I do worry about it sometimes... guess I'd be better off praying, huh?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.