Merely holding the position that a woman has the right to an abortion puts you in the dog house now — Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) — he clearly cannot commit the sin of having an abortion himself — was told in a confidential email that he will be denied Communion for his position as an elected official.
So what's next? Given its involvement in rolling back equality in Maine, Papa Ratzi's boys may be ready to refuse Communion to supporters of marriage equality. (Change.org):
It was a narrowing of Catholic theology to strip issues like poverty and social justice from the forefront of the Church, and replace them with opposing abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research. It was also a call to Catholic politicians: oppose abortion and gay marriage at all costs, or risk the threat of the Church denying you Communion and publicly tarring and feathering you as a sinner.
Bishop Tobin's action toward Rep. Patrick Kennedy doesn't have anything to do with gay marriage on its surface (Rhode Island doesn't allow gay marriage, and Rep. Kennedy has kept a relatively low profile on the issue). Rather, Rep. Kennedy's sin in the eyes of the church was voting against the Stupak amendment to the U.S. House's health care bill, and siding with reproductive rights activists.
But the question is that if the Church is now ready to do this on the issue of abortion, are they also ready to do this on the issue of gay marriage, an issue the Church says that they view with as much disgust? Do Massachusetts politicians who support gay marriage or abortion rights now have to wonder whether they'll be denied Communion at weekly mass? What about Catholics in Vermont, Iowa, Connecticut or New Hampshire?
Time will tell. But we've already seen bishops with the Catholic Church threaten to stop caring for the poor in Washington, D.C. over the issue of gay marriage. There's no reason to think that Church leaders won't head to even deeper depths, politicizing one of their oldest traditions in Communion to simply toe a line on gay marriage that is increasingly out of step with public opinion.
For those of you well versed in Catholic theology, isn't refusing Communion reserved for those who have personally committed mortal sins, like, um, murder, adultery, etc.? More below the fold.
So if Kennedy, as a public official is acting on behalf of his constituents' wishes, how is that in any way related to his personal religious beliefs. If Bishop Tobin is correct, then no Catholic should serve in public office because they are placing their personal faith above the Constitution. This is madness, but we're talking about a segments of faith communities that cannot separate church and state.
We also have the ridiculous framing going on by these same folks to paint themselves as the victim as equality gains are made. Look at this BS regarding The Manhattan Project:
Religious Leaders: Civil Disobedience OK to Protect Faith
A formidable coalition of 150 Catholic, Orthodox, and evangelical leaders is calling on Christians in a new manifesto to reject secular authority — and even engage in civil disobedience — if laws force them to accept abortion, same-sex marriage, and other ideas that betray their religious beliefs.
“Because we honor justice and the common good,” it states, “we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide or euthanasia or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.”
[Princeton University professor Robert P.] George and other signers backed off from specifically defining what civil disobedience may entail. Wuerl's office played down the civil disobedience wording, saying he wasn't urging Catholics to “do anything specific,” his spokeswoman, Susan Gibbs, told The Washington Post. “That wasn't something we had talked about.”
“We certainly hope it doesn't come to that,” said George, who told The Washington Times that he has represented a West Virginia resident who has refused to pay a portion of her state income tax that funds abortions. “However, we see case after case of challenges to religious liberty,” such as compelling pharmacists to carry abortifacient drugs or healthcare workers to assist in abortions, he said.
“When the limits of conscience are reached and you cannot comply, it's better to suffer a wrong than to do it,” he said.