After posting last week about John Kerry and the Catholic bishops, I’ve received a passel of emails like this:
Will you now call for the excommunication of pro-choice Catholics Giuliani, Ridge, Pataki, and the governor of California?
Although fair enough, the question is badly stated. I never called for the “excommunication” of John Kerry or anyone else (and neither did Ramesh or K-Lo). “Excommunication” represents a punishment, a formal statement that an individual has been banned from receiving any of the sacraments, holding any Church office, or otherwise participating in the life of the Church. I suggested only that John Kerry should be denied the sacrament of communion. To quote Canon 916 once again, “Those…who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.”
As to the substance of the question—that is, whether pro-choice Republicans should receive the same treatment from the Church as pro-choice Democrats—the answer, obviously, is you betcha. We were discussing the Kerry case last week on the Corner only because his was, for the time being, the most prominent. But after the special election here in California last October, K-Lo and I both argued that Bishop Weigand of Sacramento ought to be just as tough on the new, pro-choice Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as he’d been on the old, pro-choice Democratic governor, Gray Davis. “Manifest grave sin” is the criterion, not political party.