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Kerry, Candidate and Catholic, Creates Uneasiness for Church
The NY Times ^ | 04.02.04

Posted on 04/01/2004 10:26:50 PM PST by Coleus

 






Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
John Kerry with the Rev. Michael J. Chaback after attending Sunday service in Bethlehem, Pa., on March 14, before a day of campaigning

Kerry, Candidate and Catholic, Creates Uneasiness for Church

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
alt
Published: April 2, 2004

Senator John Kerry's support for abortion rights and stem cell research has prompted discussions among Roman Catholic bishops and Vatican officials over how to respond to a presidential candidate who professes Catholicism while taking stands contrary to church teaching.

The issue has been a topic in the Vatican this week as bishops from Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina hold long-scheduled meetings with the pope and Vatican officials on a variety of issues.

"They are basically struggling with this, as we are," said one visiting American, Bishop John H. Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee, the chairman of a task force expected to produce guidelines for American bishops on relations with Catholic politicians.

Most recently, Bishop Ricard said, the bishops were troubled by Mr. Kerry's vote against a bill that makes it a crime to harm a fetus during an assault on a pregnant woman. President Bush signed the legislation on Thursday, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops immediately issued a news release applauding him.

Bishop Ricard said in Rome: "Of course we were disappointed with Kerry's voting against it. We were disappointed with others who voted against it, but as Catholic lawmakers we hold them to a higher standard."

The task force Bishop Ricard heads was formed last year after the Vatican released a forceful "doctrinal note" on Catholics in public life, which said, "A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals."

The bishops are unlikely to make overt endorsements, and consistently say that they favor neither Democrats nor Republicans. But if some influential prelates choose to publicly embrace Mr. Kerry or to snub him — by refusing to offer him communion, withholding an honorary degree or canceling an event at a Catholic institution — it could have an impact on some Catholic voters.

In February, Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis admonished Mr. Kerry not to take communion if he attended Mass there. Archbishop Burke, until recently the bishop of the diocese of LaCrosse, Wis., caused a furor when he issued the same threat to politicians there last year. Few of his fellow bishops followed suit.

Catholics make up 27 percent of the electorate and belong to the largest church in the country, with about 65 million members. Many live in states with large blocs of electoral votes. Exit polls in states that have already held their Democratic primaries showed that Mr. Kerry did very well among Catholics.

The Democrats began losing their lock on the Catholic vote about 30 years ago, and now it is very much up for grabs. No presidential candidate since at least 1980 has won the Catholic vote and lost the White House, with the exception of Al Gore in 2000.

Mr. Kerry is the first Roman Catholic to run for president on a major party ticket in 44 years, but the obstacles for Catholic politicians have turned inside out since 1960, when John F. Kennedy became the first Catholic to win the White House.

President Kennedy had to overcome accusations from non-Catholics that he would follow the bidding of the pope. Now, Mr. Kerry faces accusations from some within his own church that he is not following the pope's bidding closely enough.

"Kennedy settled the problem that a Catholic couldn't become president," said the Rev. Robert F. Drinan, a Catholic priest and former Democratic congressman from Massachusetts.

"That's not an issue now," said Father Drinan, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, who described Mr. Kerry as a friend and a strong Catholic. "The issue with Kerry will be, is he good enough as a Catholic."

Like many American Catholics, Mr. Kerry does not adhere to some church positions yet describes himself as, in his words, "a believing and practicing Catholic." He is a former altar boy who says he learned only last year that his paternal grandfather was a Czech Jew named Fritz Kohn, who changed his name and converted to Catholicism before emigrating to Boston.

Mr. Kerry sought an annulment from the church when he was divorced from his first wife. He later married Teresa Heinz, who is Catholic, and together they regularly attend Sunday Mass and take communion, a sacrament reserved for those in the church's good graces.

The senator is aligned with his church on many social justice issues, including immigration, poverty, health care and the death penalty. But he diverges on the litmus issues, like abortion and stem cell research, that animate church conservatives and many in the hierarchy.

Mr. Kerry has responded to questions about his adherence to church teachings by proclaiming his belief in the separation of church and state, just as President Kennedy did in a speech that largely laid to rest suspicions about his allegiances, said David Wade, a Kerry spokesman.

"Senator Kerry is a person of faith, he's a practicing Catholic, and his religion is an important part of his life and of Teresa Heinz Kerry's life," Mr. Wade said. "And they've always recognized that separation between the public and the private."

Mr. Wade said the senator had no concerns about being confronted or snubbed by Catholic leaders.

"It's not once been an issue the campaign has run into in almost two years on the campaign trail," he said. "He's given speeches at Georgetown, he's given speeches at Boston College, he's a graduate of Boston College Law School, and he has a long history speaking in Catholic institutions."

Some conservative Catholic groups have been urging bishops to penalize Catholic politicians who do not vote with the church.

The Rev. John McCloskey, the director of the Catholic Information Center in Washington and a member of the conservative organization Opus Dei, said, "Senator Kerry considers himself a Catholic, but on issues that are fundamental in terms of Catholic morality, he appears to be off the reservation."

However, Father McCloskey said, American bishops are "in a quandary" over just what to do about Catholic politicians who fail to uphold church doctrine on issues like abortion. Punitive measures like denying Mr. Kerry communion could backfire, he said.

Few bishops followed the example of Archbishop Burke in St. Louis, and two who did were far less direct. A Catholic official familiar with the bishops' thinking, who did not want to be identified, said after Archbishop Burke's sanction: "Notice the resounding silence. I think many people would not consider that a pastoral way to approach somebody."

Bishop Joseph A. Galante of the diocese of Camden, N.J. who served briefly on the task force on Catholics in politics, said that bishops must, in their roles as teachers, assert church doctrine and continue to call Catholic politicians to account to prevent them from leading other Catholics astray.

"When someone who is public and identifies as a Catholic takes public positions opposed to church teaching," Bishop Galante said, "if it's just ignored, then the question arises among other Catholic people, who say, `Well, I guess it's all right to hold these positions.' "
Jason Horowitz contributed reporting from Rome for this article

Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
John Kerry with the Rev. Michael J. Chaback after attending Sunday service in Bethlehem, Pa., on March 14, before a day of campaigning.

 




TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; Politics/Elections; US: Massachusetts
KEYWORDS: 2004; abortion; abortionlist; botox; catholic; catholiclist; catholicpoliticians; cino; election; excommunicated; holycommunion; homosexualagenda; johnkerry; kerry; lurch; prolife; vatican

A Primer on Canon 915 Can. 915 Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion

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CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
DOCTRINAL NOTE
on some questions regarding
The Participation of Catholics in Political Life

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A Challenge to American Catholics

A Statement by the Catholic Bishops of the United States

Faithful Citizenship:
Civic Responsibility for a New Millennium

An Old Testament, Litany of Life
Canon Law and Abortion
Sign Petition: To Excommunicate
The Gospel of Life--Evangelium Vitae
Herod's Heroes, Sign Petition

CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PROPOSALS TO GIVE LEGAL RECOGNITION TO UNIONS BETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS
 

Catechism on Homosexuality

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By: Fr. Frank A. Pavone

Wisc. Bishop Tells Pro-Abort. Catholic Pols: Change Your Stripes or Stay Away from Holy Communion 

Hughes exhorts Catholic pols to toe line
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support abortion, assisted suicide or any other "life issues" out of step with church
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Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes' statement, contained in his column in this week's
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Bishop Raymond Burke's Strange Nemesis
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Partial Birth Abortion

1 posted on 04/01/2004 10:26:51 PM PST by Coleus
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To: All

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2 posted on 04/01/2004 10:27:56 PM PST by Support Free Republic (Hi Mom! Hi Dad!)
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To: 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; annalex; ...
`
3 posted on 04/01/2004 10:29:06 PM PST by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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To: Coleus
Kerry belongs to the Church of Liberalism, not the Church of Christ.
4 posted on 04/01/2004 11:20:19 PM PST by Neanderthal
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To: Coleus; american colleen; sinkspur; Lady In Blue; Salvation; Polycarp IV; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; ...
"A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals."

Faith in Jesus Christ, who is «the way, the truth, and the life»(Jn 14:6), calls Christians to exert a greater effort in building a culture which, inspired by the Gospel, will reclaim the values and contents of the Catholic Tradition. 
The Participation of Catholics in Political Life

In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue; participation in the political process is a moral obligation.


Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility

Catholic Ping - let me know if you want on/off this list


5 posted on 04/02/2004 12:29:58 AM PST by NYer (Prayer is the Strength of the Weak)
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To: Coleus
First off:

" take communion, a sacrament reserved for those in the church's good graces."

Yikes. If you break any of the commandments, it is against God, not the Church that you do so.

Any politician who holds public office and creates the Law is more culpable than the average citizen. Kerry has the chance to save infants and votes to kill them.


6 posted on 04/02/2004 2:52:21 AM PST by OpusatFR (Sure they want to tone down the rhetoric. We are winning.)
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To: Coleus; All
Don't bother to hold your breath for the church to do anything. When I was dropping leaflets against our Governor at Catholic Churches, the biggest argument was "She may be pro-abortion, but she is sooo good in other ways."

The church will do nothing about these guys. The cafeteria Catholics will vote for him.
7 posted on 04/02/2004 4:40:34 AM PST by netmilsmom (Busybody of Free Republic)
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To: NYer
The senator is aligned with his church on many social justice issues, including immigration, poverty, health care and the death penalty. But he diverges on the litmus issues, like abortion and stem cell research, that animate church conservatives and many in the hierarchy.

Because they're intrinsic evils, not prudential judgments regarding public policy.

Senator John Kerry's support for abortion rights and stem cell research has prompted discussions among Roman Catholic bishops and Vatican officials over how to respond to a presidential candidate who professes Catholicism while taking stands contrary to church teaching.

"Prompted discussions"?! What's to discuss? I will consider this NY Times spin... for now.

8 posted on 04/02/2004 5:41:29 AM PST by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: netmilsmom
"She may be pro-abortion, but she is sooo good in other ways."

"He may be in favor of dismembering babies, but he's so good in other ways." This attitude is nauseating, but widespread. I'm always stunned by indifference to abortion, especially in otherwise seemingly good people.

9 posted on 04/02/2004 5:45:16 AM PST by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: Coleus
The senator is aligned with his church on many social justice issues, including immigration, poverty, health care and the death penalty. But he diverges on the litmus issues, like abortion and stem cell research, that animate church conservatives and many in the hierarchy

Kerry, like many post-Vatican II Catholics, put more stock in the Beatitudes than the Ten Commandments. They stress the 'feel-good; parts of Christ's teachings, and ignore the nasty 'judgmental' parts like "Go, and sin no more".

10 posted on 04/02/2004 7:49:30 AM PST by SuziQ
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To: Coleus
Candidate flip-flop needs to choose this day whom he shall serve.
11 posted on 04/02/2004 7:51:18 AM PST by AD from SpringBay (We have the government we allow and deserve.)
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To: Coleus
Senator Kerry is a person of faith, he's a practicing Catholic, and his religion is an important part of his life and of Teresa Heinz Kerry's life," Mr. Wade said. "And they've always recognized that separation between the public and the private."

If he's going to call himself a Catholic and run for office as such, then he is NOT separating his faith from his public life. He should be held accountable by the public for whether or not he truly accepts and represents the tenets of his faith, and this means HOW he votes in relation to those tenets.

12 posted on 04/02/2004 7:53:27 AM PST by SuziQ
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To: AD from SpringBay
He's serving Satan.
13 posted on 04/02/2004 8:11:26 AM PST by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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To: MHGinTN; Coleus; nickcarraway; Mr. Silverback; Canticle_of_Deborah; TenthAmendmentChampion; ...
A Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters is must reading for every Catholic family. It is also very important for high-school students to learn this so that they can be properly informed Christian Voters. By Father Stephen F. Torraco, Ph.D.

Available from Leaflet Missal Company 1-800-328-9582 or On-line at: www.leafletmissal.org Click image

IMO--This is the most important 5-10 minute read Christians should experience before elections. It is written in the style of the old Baltimore catechism—15 direct questions with concise answers.

Please consider presenting to pastors, Religion Classes, KofC, Sodalities, etc. for widest possible distribution.

Is it a Mortal Sin to vote for a Pro-Abortion candidate?

14 posted on 04/02/2004 8:32:26 AM PST by cpforlife.org (The Missing Key of the Pro-Life Movement is at www.CpForLife.org)
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To: cpforlife.org
What are the 15 questions? My Parish would never buy that regretablly. I still am doing my best to get rid of any NCRs I find around the place.
15 posted on 04/02/2004 8:44:14 AM PST by StAthanasiustheGreat (Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit)
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To: NWU Army ROTC
Is it a Mortal Sin to vote for a Pro-Abortion candidate?
is # 15. I will try to type out rest in time.

The booklet is 95 cents with great qty pricing. I'd like to see it everywhere, especially highschools so the kids can learn BEFORE they get corrupted.
16 posted on 04/02/2004 8:58:37 AM PST by cpforlife.org (The Missing Key of the Pro-Life Movement is at www.CpForLife.org)
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To: SuziQ
As a Roman Catholic, I'm ashamed that Kerry is Catholic, (Maybe I should sa he's a CINO, Catholic in name only)
17 posted on 04/02/2004 9:03:39 AM PST by Pippin (Each day is a gift from God. ---That's why it's called the PRESENT!)
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To: Coleus
$10 says that the priest in the photo is liberal. You can tell by looking at them, because for some reason liberal priests never learned how to wear their vestments correctly.

He is wearing the stole (the scarf-looking symbol of his office) over the chasuble (the purple cloak... it represents the all-covering nature of charity). The chasuble is supposed to be worn over the stole due to its "all-covering nature".

Just thought someone might find that interesting.
18 posted on 04/02/2004 9:10:03 AM PST by William Martel
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To: Pippin
As a Roman Catholic, I'm ashamed that Kerry is Catholic, (Maybe I should sa he's a CINO, Catholic in name only)?

That goes for the majority of so-called Catholics in the Senate. Unfortunately, they were educated in the sophisticated attitude of 'God respects our free-will, so whatever we choose is fine'. WRONG! He gives us the free-will to make stupid, sinful choices as well as the right ones, Catholics like Kerry, Biden, Kennedy, Mikulskie, et al. can't seem to make that distinction.

19 posted on 04/02/2004 9:11:18 AM PST by SuziQ
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To: cpforlife.org
I think it is a Mortal Sin to vote knowingly ans deliberately for someone who advocates the MURDER of innocent children and babies born and UNBORN.

But like back in 2002 when Maryland was holding thier gubernatorial election. both candidates were pro-abortion. I asked someone in my Secular Franciscan fraternity what I should do in this instance, she told me since it is a moral obligation to vote, then I should choose more reasonable of the two candidates, like Gov. Ehrlich, he's pro-choice (not Catholic) Ehrlich was for the bann on PBA's. So that is what colored my choice on election day on the issue of abortion.

20 posted on 04/02/2004 9:12:35 AM PST by Pippin (Each day is a gift from God. ---That's why it's called the PRESENT!)
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To: SuziQ
I don't know why Kerry, Biden, Kennedy,Glendening, or Mikulski are even bothering to say they are Catholics.
21 posted on 04/02/2004 9:14:24 AM PST by Pippin (Each day is a gift from God. ---That's why it's called the PRESENT!)
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To: SuziQ; Pippin
Ten "pro-abortion Catholic" Senators vote against "Unborn Victims of Violence Act"
22 posted on 04/02/2004 9:15:16 AM PST by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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To: Coleus
John Kerry is No John Kennedy

John Kennedy never said anything like this


No more cutbacks on population control efforts around the world
John Kerry: NARAL Dinner - January 21, 2003

http://www.bankofknowledge.net/2004/archives/000135.html#more
23 posted on 04/02/2004 9:21:51 AM PST by Mo1 (Do you want a president who injects poison into his skull for vanity?)
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To: Coleus
Thanks for the link, Coleus

It seems I'm right now more proud of our non-Catholic, President and ashamed of the so-called Catholics who seem to reject Church teachings when they get elected.

24 posted on 04/02/2004 9:22:02 AM PST by Pippin (Each day is a gift from God. ---That's why it's called the PRESENT!)
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