Dissent in the Catholic Church
Monday, May 24, 2004; Page A22
As a Catholic who has struggled to understand the relationship between God and church, I am confused again. Deny pro-choice politicians communion ["48 House Catholics Warn Bishops' Stance Could Spark Bigotry," news story, May 20]? Why stop there?
Why not deny everyone who has ever disagreed with the Catholic Church? Include Friday meat eaters, large families that use birth control, divorcees and a list of others too long to add. Include any sexual sinner the church has a whim to include, such as those who go to certain movies or read certain books. And add to the "deny list" the many priests, bishops and other clergy who may have some human failings.
I love my God and my church; however, at times like these, I am ashamed to be a Catholic. Christ would not condone this kind of politically driven behavior.
In their letter to Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the archbishop of Washington, 48 Catholic Democrats in the House insisted "that it would be wrong for a bishop to deny the sacrament of Holy Communion to an individual on the basis of a voting record."
Would these same Democrats have been appalled by Archbishop Joseph Rummel's decision in 1962 to excommunicate Leander Perez, a judge and Democratic Party political boss, for his opposition to the desegregation of Louisiana schools? Mr. Perez insisted that he was following his conscience and the will of many of his constituents and warned of a public backlash against the church. Several segregationists picketed the archbishop's residence, alleging that Communists had infiltrated the Catholic Church.
Private organizations in the Western world have the right to set guidelines and rebuke, discipline and even expel members who break and publicly defy them.
How many of these same Democrats complained in 1992 and 1996 when Gov. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, a Catholic and pro-life Democrat, was not allowed to address the Democratic National Convention?
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