Kathryn’s points are right on, while Dionne’s on regarding why Arlen Specter waterboy Rick Santorum should be considered a saint while Kerry is a sinner is very interesting. Anyway, as a pro-life war horse, who’s long wanted the bishops to crack down–and I still do–on the “personally opposed” crowd, I must remind myself that every Sunday the lines going to receive Communion are long indeed, filled with people who haven’t been to Confession since Hector was a pup. Supporting abortion isn’t the world’s only sin.
Regarding the Church, people used to go to Confession frequently. Now, most don’t even meet the Church’s minimal requirement–at least once annually. So most people who are receiving Communion every week are doing so without their soul being in the proper state (pure! clean!) to accept the what Catholics believe to be the Body and Blood of Jesus. Forgive the monster judgmentalism (I’ll make a point of mentioning this at my next Confession). This Confession fall-off is due to many things, a big one reason being that bishops and parish priests have downplayed the sacrament for a generation (you’ve got a better chance of winning Powerball than of hearing a priest encourage you to go to confession). And that in turn has compromised the practice of receiving Communion. So … if there is going to be bellyaching about who shouldn’t be receiving Communion, the answer is, given current practices, and pardon me for again for playing God, most people. Maybe we can have higher expectations of our bishops regarding pro-abortion Catholic politicians bellying up to the altar rail after we’ve seen our pastoral shepherds restore some dignity to the practice of receiving Communion and its critical partner, frequent confession. I’m not holding my breath waiting for that.