Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Friday, May 14, 2004  

In anticipation of next week's primary in Oregon (yes, some states still haven't voted!), Portland Archbishop John G. Vlazny has decreed John Kerry doesn't deserve to receive the Holy Eucharist. Some bishops immediately agreed, saying they'll deny him the body and blood of Christ. Vlazny, in an article in last week's Catholic Sentinal, wrote:

We bishops, like most Catholics, hope and expect that our fellow Catholics in political life will be guided by and live out the truths of the faith which God has given us. But many prominent Catholics in the political realm continue to fail to deliver on these hopes and expectations. Some probably do this to pursue political advantage. After all, it is difficult to take an unpopular position, particularly when one is seeking the votes of a majority of citizens. But integrity is a quality all people rightfully expect from their political leaders. In my judgment, Catholics who publicly ignore or oppose clear church teaching in serious matters fail the litmus test with respect to integrity. This becomes a problem for Catholic and non-Catholic voters alike.

While he wouldn't issue direct instructions for priests to deny Kerry Communion, he did say that "Catholics who publicly disagree with serious church teaching on such matters as abortion or same-sex marriage should refrain from receiving Holy Communion." The message was clear. And then Vlazny went on to target Kerry voters--an especially bold foray into the political sphere.

If they vote for them precisely because they are pro-choice, I believe they too should refrain from the reception of Holy Communion because they are not in communion with the Church on a serious matter. But if they are voting for that particular politician because, in their judgment, other candidates fail significantly in some matters of great importance, for example, war and peace, human rights and economic justice, then there is no evident stance of opposition to Church teaching and reception of Holy Communion seems both appropriate and beneficial.

You may have noticed that he also targeted supporters of same-sex marriage there--an issue currently working its way through Oregon's legal system. According to the Archbishop, those who believe the state should comply with its own constitution and issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples (a belief that is clearly not religious nor the purview of the Catholic Church. What's particularly bad is that the effort to target Kerry will have substantial effect long after the election. Oregon's governor and a number of elected officials are Catholics. Their views will henceforth be subject to review by bishops, priests, and fellow parishoners to see if they past religious muster.

posted by Jeff | 7:21 AM |
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