Kerry's Catholic Problem

Most of the discussion about religion and politics in America ignores the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which instructs that the state should recognize no particular faith as the church of the state. Instead, the discussion revolves around Thomas Jefferson's private concept of the "separation of church and state," which is usually interpreted in the widest berth imaginable: let no one speak a religious word in public, especially in association with politics, lest church-state separation be violated.

In the August Ladies' Home Journal, editor Diane Salvatore advanced that very belief in a question to Sen. John Kerry: "There's been a lot of discussion about the fact that President Bush has been one of the most vocal Presidents in terms of his faith. Do you find the President's discussion of his faith as part of his decision-making process inappropriate?"

Kerry, a Roman Catholic, could have answered something on the order of, "Ina -what??" but instead chose the worst response imaginable. "I will say I personally would not choose - though I'm a person of faith - to insert it as much as this President does. I think it crosses a line and it sort of squeezes the diversity that the presidency is supposed to embrace. It creates a discomfort level ... You have to balance it, and be very thoughtful about it."

The Kerry shorthand: I'm a Catholic, I'm a legislator, but by God I'm not a Catholic legislator.

Leftists like Kerry traditionally have demanded a wall between the state and religion but now are taking it further still. They are publicly condemning a religious institution - specifically, Sen. Kerry's Catholic Church - for upholding the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding the sanctity of human life. Recently 48 Catholic members of Congress signed a letter to Theodore Cardinal McCarrick declaring that "We firmly believe that it would be wrong for a bishop to deny the sacrament of holy communion to an individual on the basis of his voting record... We do not believe it is our role to legislate the teachings of the Catholic Church. For any of us to be singled out by any bishop by the refusal of communion [because of a pro-choice position] is deeply hurtful."

For the Catholic Church to accept this preposterous demand is to commit theological suicide. Father Francis de Rosa of the diocese of Arlington (Virginia) puts the matter of Holy Communion in its proper perspective for Catholics. "Basing itself upon the very words and doctrines of the Lord Himself, the Catholic Church teaches and believes that the elements of Holy Communion are really, truly and substantially the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ... We are not dealing here with a mere symbol, but with a sacred reality - a profound moment of intimacy with God Himself. Therefore it should go without saying that the Holy Eucharist cannot be indiscriminately distributed."

The Catholic Church teaches that a primary requisite for receiving Holy Communion is that the individual be "in communion" with the Church; anyone not embracing the core teachings of the Church is disqualified from participating. What is the Church's position on abortion? Father de Rosa quotes the words of Pope John Paul II constituting the infallible teaching of the ordinary magisterium of the Catholic Church: "I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being."

John Kerry believes a president must "balance" his expressions of faith, but there's no balance in his abortion stance. He's a 100 percent NARAL pro-abortion militant. Partial-birth abortion? He's for that, too. Letting adults other than the parents transport minors across state lines for an abortion? Count him in. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which counts the unborn baby as a victim when a pregnant woman is killed or her child is killed against her wishes? He voted against it. Kerry even opposed The Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, which has made it illegal to kill a baby who somehow survives an abortion.

By their public support of legalized abortion, Catholic legislators like Kerry have openly declared they reject, and are therefore not in communion with, the teachings of the Catholic Church. For any one of them to take Holy Communion is to commit a mortal sin; for them to demand that the Church ignore her own teachings - and while we're at it, ignore Christ - is the pinnacle of arrogance

The Catholic bishops must take a stand on this issue. They must declare that legislators who advance that killing of unborn babies are not in communion with the Church and cannot receive the sacrament of Holy Communion. They must make a public declaration regarding Kerry given his public defiance of the Church. And they should publicly declare that any Catholic promoting the election of any politician who would advance the continued slaughter of the unborn also is not to be in communion with the Church.