Skip to comments.Kerry reaffirms rights to Receive Holy Communion Paterson, NJ Bishop Rodimer Agrees
Posted on 04/24/2004 10:58:04 PM PDT by Coleus
Kerry reaffirms rights
|Saturday, April 24, 2004|
WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry delivered an unabashed defense of abortion rights on Friday, just hours after a top Vatican cardinal said that priests must deny Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights.
Several other Catholic politicians said they, too, had no intention of altering the way they practice their religion or their politics.
With hundreds of Catholic politicians in the United States supporting abortion rights, the trans-Atlantic counterpoint was only the latest sign that the issue promises to be a recurrent one on the U.S. campaign trail this year.
"I believe that in the year 2004, we deserve a president who understands that a stronger America is where women's rights are just that: Rights, not political weapons to be used by politicians of this nation," Kerry declared at a rally with leaders of pro-choice groups mobilizing in Washington for a big march set for Sunday. "We are going to have a change in leadership in this country to protect the right of choice."
Speaking earlier from Vatican City, Cardinal Francis Arinze stopped short of saying whether it was right for Kerry to receive Communion but said a Catholic politician who supports abortion rights "is not fit" to receive the Eucharist. U.S. bishops have discretion in deciding who should receive Communion, but the cardinal's comments could put more pressure on them to sanction Catholic politicians whose positions are at odds with church teachings.
Kerry said he personally opposes abortion but supports a woman's right to choose. He did not directly respond to Arinze's comments, but campaign spokesman David Wade said Kerry believes the separation of church and state "helped make religious affiliation a non-issue in American politics."
Paterson Bishop Frank Rodimer said that he would give Kerry communion. While Rodimer remains adamant that abortion must be publicly condemned, he does not see a benefit in denying communion to a Catholic politician. "I would not make that the occasion for teaching; it is not a teaching moment," Rodimer said.
Rodimer said the proper time to have a conversation with a Catholic candidate about abortion or other spiritual matters is before Mass, not during the distribution of communion.
Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt countered that Kerry's views on abortion were "outside the mainstream" and said the president "supports a culture of life."
Judie Brown, president of the anti-abortion American Life League, said it was perfectly appropriate for voters to consider a candidate's religion and the way he or she practices it in deciding how to vote. She said the group is keeping tabs on 500 Catholic politicians at the state and national level who support abortion rights.
"If you are elected to public office as a Catholic, then your fellow Catholics expect you to be Catholic," she said, calling it "hypocrisy" for Kerry to say he is personally opposed to abortion while supporting wider access to the procedure.
But Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice, USA, said statements such as Arinze's "debase the political campaign" and would only isolate the church from its U.S. members, most of whom she said support abortion rights.
"Every time Catholic church leaders have attacked Catholic politicians for their view on abortion, the Catholic politicians have become more popular and the church has become more marginalized," she said. "It's a very foolish strategy relative to political influence."
She added: "Do they really want to tell Senators (Edward) Kennedy, (Barbara) Mikulski, (Patrick) Leahy and 70 other members of the U.S. Congress that they can't receive Communion? Because they can't just tell this to Senator Kerry."
Sen. Edward Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat whose brother was the nation's first Catholic president, stressed that Arinze was speaking for himself, not the pope, and said he did not expect to be denied Communion despite supporting abortion rights.
"I'm a very strong believer in the separation of church and state, as President Kennedy spoke to, and I continue to follow my own beliefs and will continue to serve the people of Massachusetts," he said.
Among American Catholics, 56 percent of non-Hispanic Catholics and 59 percent of Hispanic Catholics oppose making it harder for a woman to get an abortion, according to the Pew Research Center. Support for additional restrictions increases among Catholics who attend church at least once a week, with 50 percent of non-Hispanic Catholics favoring further restrictions and 43 percent of Hispanic Catholics.
Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Texas, was criticized by Republicans recently for keeping track of the votes of Catholic members of Congress and whether they are in keeping with church doctrine. He said the vote tallies grew out of meetings by a group of lawmakers exploring their own beliefs, "knowing many of us want to bring as much of our faith as we can to our action in Congress."
"We are trying to live the teachings of our church and we try to bring that to work," he said. At the same time, he added, Catholic congressional members struggle with adhering to their faith while representing people of many religions.
"I am not here to represent the Catholic church," he said.
Last week, Kerry met privately with Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Washington archbishop heading a task force examining whether there should be church sanctions for Catholic politicians who vote and support positions at odds with church teachings.
Bishop Raymond Burke, the archbishop of St. Louis, has said he would refuse to give Kerry Communion.
Then what does he do when the Paulist Center gives Kerry communion anyway? Which they will. With full press coverage.
I think O'Malley's in a tough spot (several, actually, and none of his own making). Maybe he can get the Paulists out of his diocese, but I don't know quite how he could work it, and he probably has lots to do trying to get the diocesan priests, who are under his direct authority to cooperate here. I don't see any grounds for the civil authorities to get involved in any attempt of O'Malley's to physically remove the Paulists.
. . .how about this Bishop just accepting that it is a 'moral moment' that defines and honors the Churches teachings; otherwise; what is the point of anyone not availing themselves?
Liberals, like everywhere else in our culture, continue to debase the 'good' by their escape in a moral relativism.
John Kerry IS a Catholic - just depends on the meaning of 'is'. . .and maybe by now; the meaning of 'Catholic'. . .
That is about as vacuous as saying "Hey, I personally oppose slavery but I support your right to own one."
Excellent point. Rodimer is a fool. He will occupy a lower circle of hell than Kerry, but they will be in hailing distance of each other.
Barring, of course, Rodimer and KErry getting knocked off their horses on the way to Damascus.
If anyone wants on or off my ProLife Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.
This is his email address according to that diocese's newspaper.
Here is a copy of what I just sent to that address:
You said that in your diocese you would not refuse Kerry communion. Then for all your talk in your editorial about the "Risen Christ" you show by your actions you really don't believe much. Anyone who would feed Holy Communion to a pig and apostate like Kerry shows by his actions he doesn't respect the "Risen Christ."
You said refusing someone communion in church was not an opportunity to "Teach." Well, you've "taught" _PRACTISING_ Catholics in the pews that pro-abortion politicians can blackmail the church into bowing down to apostates. You've given us cause to wonder if you are hiding further scandals that they can blackmail you with. Are you a practising homosexual or something that you are in fear of Kerry and his ilk? You act like it.
What's it going to take for you spineless bishops, the alleged shepherds of the flock for you to get the message that we want bishops with true convictions and not lip service to the REAL faithful? Do we all need to start writing checks to our parishes for the amount of FIVE CENTS with a note in the memo line that the donation will NOT increase until we get bishops who start acting like bishops?
DO we need to forward copies of our checks to the Papal Nuncio in Washington, and to the Vatican itself until you stop acting like butt-buddies of the pro-abortion politicians? Will THAT get your attention? Do you need your own faculties suspended? What's it going to take?