People who "disagree" with Church teachings are not denied Communion.

Politicians who publicly support a practice -- abortion -- that contradicts the very heart of Christian philosophy about life and the soul are denied the Eucharist. As one supports the destruction of a new individual, one turns one's face from God and from the faith community. It has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with the blessed unity of a group of believers who dare to stand out against America's modern holocaust.

-- Rachel Lee Poole, Fairfax Station

Communion is the right of every Christian, based solely on the conscience of the person receiving Communion. The priest is merely the provider. As Christians, we are not supposed to make judgments about people, only their behavior. Thus, we can incarcerate someone as a danger to society based on behavior, but we cannot make judgments about that person's soul. Only God can do that, and that is why the Church is opposed to capital punishment.

Refusing Communion to anyone is tantamount to blasphemy because the priest takes for himself something that belongs only to God -- judging a human being's soul.

-- William A. Miner, Alexandria

The word "communion" implies that we are in union with the Church, her teachings and that we want what she offers, namely the Eucharist (Communion). If a politician is not in union with the Church or her teachings, does not accept and live them, then I have to ask: "Why do you want Communion? Is this just a show for you?"

-- Sara McCray, Arlington

I am a fifth-generation African American Catholic. When my ancestors became Catholic, the church hierarchy not only was silent on the question of the morality of slavery in this country, but there were some Catholic churches where blacks could not worship with whites.

I find it troubling that the Church hierarchy, all men, is so selective about the issues that cause them to climb on moral high ground.

I am also irate that the one issue they focus on, almost to the point of obsession, is abortion. Abortion is legal in this country. Period. On the other hand, sexual abuse of children is not. When the church hierarchy forbids cardinals, bishops and priests who are guilty of sexual abuse or complicit in covering up sex abuse from either distributing or receiving Communion themselves, then their calls for denying Communion to pro-choice Catholics won't have the ring of hypocrisy that they do now.

-- Roxanne Evans, Washington

Catholics conscious of manifestly grave sin (advocating and/or voting for liberal pro-abortion laws) should deny themselves Holy Communion. What an individual bishop or priest does in denying or not denying Communion to one of the Roman Catholic faithful is only a matter of prudence on the bishop's or priest's part. If a Catholic is conscious of having committed grave sin and has not been forgiven of that sin in the Sacrament of Confession, then he or she brings condemnation upon himself or herself by receiving.

-- Gene Arbogast, Springfield

No. A priest should never withhold the Body of Christ [from] a Catholic. God is the only one who truly knows what is in the recipient's heart.

However, a politician should not "pretend" to be a Catholic if he doesn't uphold the teachings of the Church. Supporting abortion is directly contrary to the Church's position on upholding the dignity and sanctity of all life -- born and unborn.

-- Kathleen Cumberland, Damascus

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