I’ve read the letter that a Dominican father sent this layman in California who wants Kerry branded heretical, sent on behalf of a Vatican official. It doesn’t say KERRY IS A HERETIC in any breaking news way. It’s a letter spelling out church teaching on abortion, with no new news. The Vatican has been (almost uncharacteristically clear) on abortion and politicians, especially in recent years. There is nothing new here—this is a priest spelling out those directives—which priests should be doing, and more of. He never mentions John Kerry. (This is a nonpartisan directive: George Pataki, Ah-nuld, Rudy…)
In the end, if John Kerry is excommunicated, that’s a matter between him and his bishop. And I would hope—pray—that his bishop has made that clear to him, privately. It would be unfortunate, though, if this became a game—laymen trying to get the hierarchy to actually influence the election. If a bishop were to have to deny communion to a politician during the course of election, that would be one thing. KERRY-EXCOMMUNICATED! Press releases are another (which, mercifully, I don’t anticipate). Contrary to what some may believe (on right and left), there is no lay Torquemada society (even if that would make unique stationery).
For voters, on all this faith stuff, the question is “Integrity, Integrity, Integrity” as Momma Kerry, we are told, said. Who’s the guy who has the character to pull off leadership? The guy in office seems to have proven he’s got some of the right stuff. And I think Kerry’s only going to continue to hurt himself if he keeps talking about religion–running convoluted loops around his record and theology.