Skip to comments.Priests Should Refuse Communion to Kerry, Leading Catholic Says
Posted on 03/31/2004 2:47:28 PM PST by kattracks
More: Senate's 'Deadly Dozen' Fake Catholics,
Pope Says Catholic Pols Must Oppose Abortion
and Bishop Tells Gray Davis: Choose Abortion or Communion.
Sen. John Kerry's defiance of his Church's condemnation of abortion and approval of gay marriage is not only a problem for him and Catholic bishops, but for individual Catholics as well, according to a leading Catholic layman and editor.
He says Catholic priests should refuse to give Holy Communion to Kerry even if their bishops have not specifically warned the senator that he is not to receive Communion.
That demand of excommunication for Kerry is made by Deal Hudson, editor of Crisis magazine, the nation's leading intellectual Catholic journal.
Hudson is a respected Catholic layman, and his views are often sought by national media and government officials, including the Bush White House.
In an exclusive interview with NewsMax.com, Hudson said that the matter of individual bishops ordering Kerry to refrain from receiving the Eucharist when in their dioceses - in other words, excommunicating him - was between Kerry and America's individual bishops, including his own.
"It's in the hands of his ordinary [bishop] - and when his ordinary has spoken and said that politicians should refrain from communion, he's alluding to the fact that someone like Sen. Kerry should not consider themselves part of the Catholic community."
The issue will arise as Kerry campaigns around the nation and continues to insist on publicly receiving communion under the watchful eyes of the media. As a result, Hudson said, some bishops will have to face the issue head-on.
"Some bishops will be very likely be forced to clarify the Catholic faith in the wake of any campaign stops by Sen. Kerry, especially if the human life issue arises."
Hudson left no doubt that in the absence of action by their bishops, individual Catholic priests should still turn Kerry away from Communion. "Absolutely, they should," he said.
St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke has specifically warned Kerry to avoid receiving communion when visiting his archdiocese. In Kerry's home archdiocese, without mentioning him by name, Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley has said that Catholic politicians who do not vote in line with Church teachings "shouldn't dare come to Communion."
Commenting on Archbishop Burke's instruction to Kerry, Hudson noted that Kerry avoided the confrontation by visiting a black Baptist Church when he was there recently.
Asked if he believed that the bishops individually or together should tell renegade Catholic politicians such as Sen. Kerry that they must not receive communion and that they are excommunicating themselves by so doing, Hudson said: "I think that it's what's happening, little by little. When a bishop says that someone should refrain from receiving communion without using the word excommunication, he's implying it. I think they are beginning to speak up, and Kerry's ordinary has spoken up, although he hasn't specifically mentioned Kerry as has Archbishop Burke."
While observing that the problem was a large issue for the Catholic bishops, Hudson said it also was a problem for the laity.
'Pretending to Be a Catholic'
"My view that this is a huge decisive moment for Catholics in the United States. I hope they will rise to the challenge and refuse to endorse another Catholic politician who is pretending to be a Catholic while rejecting the Church's central moral and social teachings.
"I think that the challenge is bigger for the laity than it has been for the bishops. It's an election. The issue is who's going to vote for the guy.
"I agree on one hand that it's an issue for the bishops, but in a very real sense it's even a bigger issue for the laity. If they show massive support for Kerry, that's going to set back the church in this country for at least a generation, just at a time when a significant number of bishops and laity are beginning to get active on this issue. I am keeping my eyes more focused on the laity and hoping they will reject such Catholic politicians," Hudson said.
"It is a problem for the church - the Church's identity is at stake - the church being the bishops and the laity. If they don't respond to the situation now, the Church will lose credibility."
As NewsMax.com has reported in Vatican Worries About Kerry, the Rev. Thomas Reese, editor of the Jesuit magazine America, is quoted in Time magazine as saying, "All you need is a picture of Kerry going up to the Communion rail and being denied, and you've got a story that'll last for weeks."
But Hudson told NewsMax.com he doubted that will happen. "They [Kerry's staff] are checking it very carefully, everywhere he goes to Mass.
"They're not going to let him be embarrassed, as Al Gore was embarrassed in 2000 when he was planning a campaign stop at Catholic hospital in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and the bishop canceled the visit. After that I don't believe Gore many any more attempts to visit any Catholic hospitals."
Time on Monday quoted a Vatican official, who is American, as saying: "People in Rome are becoming more and more aware that there's a problem with John Kerry, and a potential scandal with his apparent profession of his Catholic faith and some of his stances, particularly abortion."
Kerry, who likes to think of himself as JFK, has said: "We have a separation of church and state in this country. As John Kennedy said very clearly, I will be a president who happens to be Catholic, not a Catholic President."
A former altar boy, he has described himself as a "believing and practicing Catholic, married to another believing and practicing Catholic."
He insists he will continue to attend Mass and take Communion.
On Tuesday, the largest abortion rights group in the United States endorsed Kerry for president.
Calling the choice "clear," NARAL Pro-Choice America President Kate Michelman called Kerry "a president pro-choice Americans can rely on" to ensure "Roe vs. Wade remains the law of the land."
Only last week, Kerry, in a rare episode of showing up for work, was among the minority of senators voting against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which, when President Bush signs it, will finally make it a crime to harm or kill an unborn child, abortions excluded.
Ash Wednesday photo opportunity at St. John's Cathedral, Cleveland. (AP/Wide World Photos)
We had a Catholic man run for state rep endorsement at our R caucus earlier this month. Someone asked him if he was pro-life.
His answer: "Of course I'm pro-life. I'm Catholic."
The response: "So is Ted Kennedy. So is John Kerry."
We didn't reach a definitive conclusion, and it is unlikely that the church will publicly provide clarity to the situation.
It's very sad that we have gotten to this point. I hope the bishops think back on it when they are roasting on their spits.
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