Op-Eds & Letters
April 12, 2004
The Washington Post
To the Editor:
While it is perfectly understandable that John Kerry makes some church leaders uncomfortable, the source of that discomfort is political, not theological (“ ForCatholic Politicians, a Hard Line,” 4/11/04). The fact is that bishops and the Vatican have limited legitimate canon law options for dealing with Catholics who disagree with church suggestions.
It is to the church’s credit that, to date, most bishops have followed church rules and not imposed official sanctions on politicians who disagree on the appropriate legal approach to abortion. They understand denying communion is not just bad politics, as Allen points out in the article, but bad theology. Catholics actually have right of access to sacraments under church law. How policymakers vote on controversial issues is simply not a matter of faith.
Literally hundreds of Catholic elected officials, including almost half of the 145 Catholic members of Congress, are prochoice. While they may personally accept church teachings on abortion, they also believe that non-Catholic Americans have a right to follow their religions’ teachings on abortion and thus refuse to pass laws that would violate individual conscience. This is both good politics and good faith.
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