I haven't seen it on any recent threads, so I was wondering if there ever was a topic about the Roman Catholic Church and their desire to hold back communinion for politicians who support abortion.
There was a good editorial in my local paper (Cleveland Plain Dealer) about it and it made me wonder if the strongly Christian Hatrack had a say in it.
The article raises interesting points. One was how far do Bishops want to go with it? Will they refuse communion for people who vote for those types of politicians? Will they support ALL of the Catholic doctrines handed down by the Pope in this way? Meaning, the Pope has publicly stated that the War in Iraq is evil and unnecessary...does this mean people or politicians who support the war should be refused the holy host? What about people who support the right to choose, regardless of that choice is to abort or not to abort?
The article also pointed out the hypocrisy of the Church. Bernard Law, the man who actively hid the church's sexual molesting priests now has a sweet job somewhere else within the church. Some of those (if not all of those) accused of sexual molestation are also able to receive the wafer.
1.) The difference is that, presumably, the molestors and molestor-enablers have repented. Although they still need to be kept away from children, a sin which has been reconciled may not be used to withhold Communion.
2.) The abortion teaching is tied in closely with one of the two doctrines ever declared by a Pope to be infallible - the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which involves as a necessary predicate that human life is fully bestowed at conception. Very few other teachings ar ethis integral to being a Catholic.
3.) The teaching on the war in Iraq was the Pope's opinion. As Catholics, we must listen to it and take it seriously. And we must follow the underlying teachings that inform those opinions. But there is room for individual conscience in applying those teachings, even on subjects the Pope has spoken about.
4.) My preferred method is that of the California Bishop who reminded people that being in full communion with the Church was necessary to receive Communion, and that failure to provide laws to protect human beings from the moment of conception is not consistent with some of the most sacred doctrines of the Church. The Bishop then left it the individuals to decide.
5.) Priests have a duty to withhold Communion from people known not to be in full communion with the Church.
Interesting points, Dag. What about capital punishment? I would think the one thing that supercedes Church Doctrine would be the 10 Commandments, which clearly prohibits killing (there are no asterisks with exceptions after it, either). This would mean supporting killing of other humans for any reason to be outside the bounds. While I could see self defense as being legit, capital punishment or attacking a country without provocation would be below the "defense" threshhold.
quote:The teaching on the war in Iraq was the Pope's opinion.
As the Holy See, doesn't the Pope represent God's will on earth? Wouldn't this "teaching" need to be a bit more than "taken seriously?" This isn't some random thought that the aged Pope mutters under his breath. He actively scolded Bush on this when the met a while back. I don't know. Smacks of some sort of hypocrisy to me.
How is advocating of killing of ANY sort in line with the Catholic church?
Unless you understand the difference between Church dogma/teachings and Church commentary on the events of the world, I can't explain the difference.
Of course the Pope's writings should be taken very seriously, and acting contrary too them should be viewed as a sign that prayerful consideration is needed. But the Pope does not have all the information about every situation.
And if you can see self-defense (or even better, defense of others) as possibly justified, then you've already added an asterix. The same sections of the Bible that have the commandments specify the death penalty for certain crimes, so clearly the prohibition is not absolute.
Is the death penalty still justified in today's world, especially in the U.S.? Maybe not. But the Church has recognized reasons it might be necessary. Abortion, in and of itself, is never considered morally correct, although operations necessary to save a mother's life that have the effect of destroying the unborn child are.
So what is the Sin? The act of having an abortion? The act of performing the abortion? Or supporting the woman's right to choose? Since Kerry has not had or performed an abortion, why is the sin of it on his hands to the point where the holiest of sacrements is being kept from him?
There are two sins. First is the rejection of a teaching of the Church. Presumably, if Kerry thought an unborn child was fully human and alive at the moment of conception, he wouldn't think it OK to allow people to choose to kill them. If he does believe an unborn child is fully human and alive just as you and I are, but still thinks it is OK to allow others to kill them for any reason whatsoever, he is acting even more monstrously.
Second, he is enabling abortions by voting for legislation that supports them (including federal funding).
Dagonee Edit: You know, I'm actually impressed with how well this conversation is going. Your thread title is not doing justice to you or the other people in the forum.
Yeah, the wafer really is "wafer thin." I was at a UCC church where they have communion (but not weekly) and it was a nice hunk of french bread, fresh. Hmmm....sacrilicious.
quote: Edit: You know, I'm actually impressed with how well this conversation is going. Your thread title is not doing justice to you or the other people in the forum.
Yeah, I was worried about it and had a "safer" sounding title but I thought a reference to the Soup Nazi would have more pizzazz! It also puts my opinion on the surface with it a bit, too. The Soup Nazi had a difficult to remember and understand ritual that needed to be followed to get his glorious soup. I think the Church might be doing the same thing, giving the sacrement to some and not to others.
Dag, the Church does not make it the authority of humanity to judge people for their actions, though. Free will, God's greatest blessing and curse, seems to dicate that we have been given a healthy length of rope to hang ourselves if we so choose. If Kerry supports the right for women to choose, he isn't advocating for abortions...simply saying that a woman has to make up her own mind whether or not to spare the life of her child. Only the Pro-Life people translate the "right to choose" as "you must abort." If Kerry has actively performed an abortion or paid for one out of his own money knowingly or, in an odd fit of biology, had one of his own then I could see the church saying "No soup for you!" But to simply leave that decision up to the individual woman seems like a reasonble take on things.
fil, there's no use pointing out the hypocrisy (real or imagined) of the Catholic church. Frankly, I agree with you, but the church hierarchy does not and will not. They don't see the "10 Commandments" as somehow trumping church law. They see church law and the commandments as entirely consistent, and you pointing to a difference that you perceive just will indicate to them that you understand this all at a superficial level.
The only sure way to change church doctrine is to become Pope.
I think most outsiders believe that every word that drops from the Pope's lips is considered infallible. That's not true at all. That doesn't mean they won't defend the papal pronouncements if pressed. But they aren't going to excommunicate people over it.
But really, I'm surprised the church took this route of "no communion." It is a defacto excommunication. But they fail to go all the way with it. And that does surprise me. I think if a politician tried to force the issue, they would indeed formally excommunicate him or her. It's a step I think neither the church nor the politician wants to take.
But the alternative is irrelevance in the debate. And the church doesn't like being irrelevant. Or being treated like it is. Especially on something like abortion, which really is a central issue for the church, not something peripheral that they can ignore.
quote:But really, I'm surprised the church took this route of "no communion."
It's actually an issue left to individual Bishops, not the Church as a whole. There's a lot more discretion within the Catholic Church, both for lay people and clergy, than most people (even Catholics) appreciate.
I guess I don't understand what the big deal is about this.
If a person wants to be a Catholic, he or she has to follow certain teachings. If that person doesn't want to follow the teachings, then why does s/he want to be Catholic anyway? Why do they want communion from the Church if they don't believe in its authority?
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I think I'll chime in here with Jim-Me. Dag's already said anything I might have already.
Yozhik really makes a good point. They've already chosen that they don't want to be a full Catholic. So why is it such a big deal for the Church to respect that decision?
As for the death penalty, the Catechism, at least, recognizes that nations have the right to execute criminals in some circumstances, but adds the disclaimer that it should not be necessary, and that if there is a more humane alternative, it is to be used.
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Here's an example. The Church is in favor of feeding the hungry. Particular members of the Church might come out for or against a particular welfare bill, but there would be no moral failing in truly believing a bill different than the one desired by the Bishop is better served to feed hungry people.
The disagreement would be over the understanding of the socio-economic effects of a particular bill, not over a matter of faith. Given the flexibility hinted at in the Catechism about the death penalty, there are relevant, worldly issues that Catholics of good conscience can disagree on while still agreeing with the actual teaching. The same goes for the war in Iraq. Different conclusions can be reached without disagreeing with an article of faith.
The same is not possible for abortion, especially first-trimester abortion on demand.
I think anyone who declares himself to be a Catholic is bound to explore the positions of the Church leadership on particular political issues, but only bound to follow those that are fully informed by issues of faith.
I would also like to support Dagonee's comments. As I am not the best Catholic, I am not aware of any Priest actively preventing a person from receiving communion, yet. They have drawn a line and expect those that are affected to seek redemption or to change their stance on the issue at hand.
As far as the Sacrament of Communion, good Catholics are not supposed to partake in Communion if they do not go to mass at least once a week. We all know the rules, but sometimes we have a hard time admitting they apply to us or are serious enough to govern over the way we live our lives.
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That's very true, Alucard. And the church has been struggling with what to do about lapsed Catholics for a long time. On the one hand, they like to consider EVERYONE as belonging to the Catholic church, but certainly if you were baptized and confirmed in the Church, you are Catholic. If you leave the church you aren't required to tell them. And if you decide to come back, they've recently come up with a "sacrament of reconciliation" (or so I've heard, maybe someone can describe this to us or correct me if I've created a false impression).
But it has sort of grown into a tradition in American Cathoicism that one can call themselves Catholic while not necessarily attending mass or believing the tenets of the faith, major or minor.
Why anyone would want to do that, I don't know.
But in particular it might get someone votes if they claim to be Catholic, but not too Catholic.
I think the church has a right to be upset if they are being used that way. It is hypocritical and misrepresentative of what the church teaches.
Dag, you are absolutely correct about people in the Church not knowing what it teaches. I blame the church for that, by the way, but then I grew up in the era when Catholics were discouraged from reading the Bible, and many churches never bothered to instruct people on church doctrine after the sacraments of Communion and Confirmation were conferred. Certainly, some families seemed very well informed, but the vast majority of Catholics probably don't even know that the pope has to specifically invoke infallability or the scriptural basis for the various social and moral stands that the church takes.
Frankly, it's a convenience thing. The people don't want to know (most of them) because of the fear that they'd disagree so much with the Church's position that they'd have to leave it. And the Church doesn't want to lose parishioners as a result of explaining its stances and how it arrived at them. Until recently, it's been more or less a nod and a wink. At least in America. But now I think the church leaders have realized that this isn't workable either. The church seems to be shrinking even while it tried to accommodate the free-thinking Americans. So now it's taking a harder line and insisting that people at least know and profess to believe the major tenets.
Good for them.
I hope they stick with it. Better a loyal core of believers than a bunch of "in name only" Catholics.
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Bob, the "sacrament of reconciliation" is just another name for confession - which is and has always been the sacrament a Catholic needs to receive to "come back" to the Church. It also happens to be a sacrament I'm not very good at receiving, but that's a personal problem.
As for your take on the Church, I can't speak to how it is outside of my parishes, which have never really deemphasized doctrine as you descibed. But I do know a lot of people who fit your general description, so I'm sure it happens. Ironically, what's not known about the Church is often it's more compassionate doctrines, which causes a lot of self-doubt and guilt that is totally unneccessary.
I just attended the pre-wedding weekend for our diocese, and they were up-front about the two big areas of "dissent" - pre-marital relations and birth control. There's no way anybody walked out of that weekend doubting the Church's positions.
It was thought provoking to hear the reasonings behind the birth control rules, as well as couples talking about the physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of natural family planning to them.
But what got us most is the idea that marriage is key to the idea of being made in the image of God. First, the "one flesh" idea is the closest human's can come to experiencing what God experiences as part of the Trinity. Second, it's the means for humans to experience a part of the creative powers of God. And finally, it's a way to practice living as Christ did - feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, and teaching our children how to be close to God.
I also love that it's the only sacrament given by laypeople absent an emergency. Husband and wife give the Sacrament of Matrimony to each other; the priest is a witness.
Kath, its all about social status. I have known of many people where that question was put to them and there are two most common answers. They grew up that particular religion and therefore it is their tradition. So, since it is only "tradition" anyway they seek to change the religion to make it more palatable to their unbelief. Personally, I see this as an act of religous war. That is, to my estimation, why the Catholic church has a right to treat those not in compliance any way they want within the rules of law.
The other was that if they were to claim otherwise than they would be austraciced by their family, friends, nieghbors, etc. They see it as a form of protection. Personally, I think those answers make them look weak and cowardly.
1) It smacks of the Centurian in Temple Garb-- someone in the church is more interested in making a name for himself, getting on TV, raising an issue and being well known, than he is interested in being a servant of God.
This is not a problem that can be argued. Its the personality of the new Arch Bishop of St. Louis that I am refering too. He was one of the people who started this idea back when he was Bishop in Milwaukee or somewhere.
2) The capital punishment comparison has been rightly argued down. Lets take the argument to the extreme. The Catholic Church believes that they are the only true church. To save the souls of everyone, everyone needs to be converted. Isn't to deny communion to a politician because he did not do all in his power to stop abortion the same as denying communion to any church member who has not done their duty and done everything in their power to convert others?
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Quoting once again from my favorite source, an atheist organizer who started his career in the city I live in now and who shook things up in the city I grew up in:
quote:Each year, for a number of years, the activists in the graduating class of a major Catholic seminary near Chicago would visit me for a day just before their ordination, with questions about values, revolutionary tactics and such. Once, at the end of such a day, one of the seminarians said, "Mr. Alinsky, before we came here we met and agreed that there was one question we particularly wanted to put to you. We're going to be ordained, and then we'll be assigned to different parishes, as assistants to - frankly - stuffy, reactionary, old pastors. They will disapprove of a lot of what you and we believe in, and we will be put into a killing routine. Our question is: how do we keep our faith in true Christian values, everything we hope to do to change the system?"
That was easy. I answered. "When you go out that door, just make your own personal decision about whether you want to be a bishop or a priest, and everything else will follow."
Oh, I can come up with theories, but I wonder if someone who does that could say? I'm thinking there has to be more to it than mere human pride, and I'll bet the full picture would quite interesting.
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quote:Criteria For Dissent 1. Responsible dissent distinguishes between the degrees of authority of different teachings--ordinary and extraordinary magisterium. 2. Responsible dissent follows when the only remaining reason left for holding a position is that it is being taught by the magisterium though not adequately supported by convincing arguments. That is, when the only option left after prayerful and reasonable consideration is blind faith. 3. Responsible dissent is proportionate to the competence of the person to make an assessment of the teaching at stake.
Guidelines for Dissent 1. Affirm the teaching authority of the Church. Still repect the teaching authority for further and other issues. 2. Be concerned for the means. There are ways of going about dissenting in one's heart--no need to go on TV. 3. Contribute toward the reformulation of the teaching. For theologians, don't trash the Church, but contribute towards a change for the good. 4. Count the cost--what is involved in the dissent?
Responsible dissent in the church rests upon the conviction that the achievement of truth in the church is a process in which we all have a responsibility. Teaching and learning are a communal experience. Dissent is a part of the process by which we learn. When it comes at the end of the process of docile and respectful reflection, it can play a significant part in the purification and development of the church's understanding of its apostolic inheritance. If we serve the church well by receiving its teaching with a thoughtful and critical spirit, the church will be a more effective community." --Richard Gula, "Reason Informed by Faith"
The Catholic Bishops of the United States issued three critera for responsible dissent: 1. the reasons for dissent must be serious and well-founded 2. the manner in which one dissents must not impugn the teaching authority of the church 3. the dissent must be such as not to give scandal.
quote:Isn't to deny communion to a politician because he did not do all in his power to stop abortion the same as denying communion to any church member who has not done their duty and done everything in their power to convert others?
First, because there is a lot of room for interpretation with regards to "everything in their power to convert others." Cases can be made that certain proseletyzing activities cause people to turn away from the Church. Again, it's a question of "technique," essentially a worldy, not theological question on means of persuasion. This argument directly parallels my feed the poor analysis from above.
Second, it's not a question of not doing all in ones power to stop abortion; it's a question of directly enabling it by voting to remove the legal protections enjoyed by almost every other human being in this country.
I was a good bad Catholic. I didn't go often as a young lad (when I could avoid going in my teens) but when I did go, I usually didn't pretend I was up to date on my Confession and attendance and take Communion. I was fine sitting it out. I wonder how many others are like this? Are people who take the Communion without "meeting the requirements" as bad as a politician who supports a woman's right to choose? I would guess there are more of the former than the latter, but it is interesting that the public sees the latter. Which supports the political grandstanding idea.
I still haven't found out why it is a sin to wash one's hands of something vs. actually doing it. I heard you Dag on the "not doing enough" bit, but as Dan pointed out, then there should be a WHOLE lot of Catholics sitting out Communion every week. If a person doesn't do abortions, have abortions or even advocate for abortions (by supporting Choice, you can still advocate to keep the child...but the choice is the mother's, not the politicians). What if said politician voted yea on a bill that supports Choice, but in their other parts of their life supported the birth of children by donating money to adoption agencies, family planning centers, etc.?
I would fit that bill. I support the right to choose but in all other ways personally, I support the life of the unborn child but stop short of telling other people what to do. Is that a sin? Again, if so, then Host passing time should be mighty thin in most churches.
And since when is a politician's private life (especially Church life) up for public debate? I would be incensed if a reporter dug into this, but to have a Bishop stand up and make such a public stance...shouldn't that be between the politician, his priest and God?
Which is why I said my preference is for the public reminder, with the decision left up to each person. But Kerry has not been private about either his pro-choice stance or his Catholicism, so I think public commentary is warranted.
quote: Second, it's not a question of not doing all in ones power to stop abortion; it's a question of directly enabling it by voting to remove the legal protections enjoyed by almost every other human being in this country.
If a politician is responsible for every aborted fetus because a law gave the choice to the mother, then couldn't this be the case for other laws? What about reducing all public highway speed limits to 35 miles per hour? Is allowing cars to travel at high speeds (which in turn cause more fatal car crashes) just as bad? Deaths occur and have they done enough to stop it? How about guns? By supporting laws that allow people to carry guns, are they supporting the potential deaths of hundreds of people due to bad choices made? Should more be done? What about alcohol? This is one of the dangerous substances that we are legally allowed to ingest. It is the root cause for thousands of deaths, crimes, broken families and lost jobs and it is a legally supported and taxed substance. Are we doing enough to get this out of people's homes, public restaurants and off the street? I don't think so.
Having fast cars, lots of booze and handguns is enabling all sorts of chaos. Does a politician wear these sins on their soul, too?
Go back to my original response to your "what's the sin" question. We're starting to repeat.
To sum up, the only way to be Catholic and pro-choice is to either disbelieve the Church teachings on when someone becames a human being with the full dignity and respect due all human beings, or to believe that it's OK to let some people kill human beings because they don't believe they're human yet.
The Church does not maintain that everything that's immoral should be illegal. It has maintained that civil and criminal laws should take into account the dignity of human life.
Dag, That's not actually true, you know. There's a big leap between thinking that people shouldn't have abortions and thinking that you are obligated to stop them from having them by the use of force. There's a further leap between wanting to support a politician who wants to make abortion illegal and making this the only issue worth considering. If, for example, a Catholic believed that the war in Iraq constituted an Unjust War, I imagine that it would be extremely difficult for them to support or vote for George Bush, no matter what his stance on abortion was.
Being pro-choice, even for a politician, is not techincally considered a sin by the Catholic Church. Not yet. The bishops (if things haven't change since I last looked at this, it's 4 out of the 300 American Bishops) who have said that they will deny pro-choice politicians (and, some of them, people who vote for pro-choice politicians) the sacrament of Communion have done so not on the bounds that it is a sin. They don't have the authority to say what is a sin and what isn't. They are exercsing their perogative to control the administration of the sacraments within their diocese.
It's important for people to realize that this is not an official Church issue. This is the action of a certain number of bishops - as I said, I think 4 - exercising their personal perogative. The Church has called a council for 2005 to discuss these very issues. Despite what you may think, there will be many influential voices at this conference opposed to the denial of sacraments basewd on political voting. It's not a cut and dried issue that just needs to be formalized.
The Church is ambivilent over its role in influencing the politics of other countries. It is also ambilivent over its role in permitting or denying sacraments to people. The issues of the Chruch's stance towards political support of abortion is a great deal more complex than the issue of abortion itself.
As an aside, I was unaware that the Catholic Church currently accepted the death penality as morally ok in any circumstances. I thought that the thought under Pope John Paul II was that it was considered as uniformly bad as abortion - part of the "culture of death", just that it wasn't classified so at as high a level as abortion. Is this a case where people think that it's ok to disagree with the Pope's firm stance against capital punishment in all it's forms, perhaps because of the prior statements of the church, or am I missing nuances in the current stance of the Church?
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Nevermind, found it myself. From the Cathechism:
quote:2266 The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people's rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people's safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.
2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.
If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."
You know, it would be interesting to see if the Catholic Church bans Joh nKerry from Communion, would they also ban Antonin Scalia because of his unflinching, unuanced support of the death penalty. I suspect not, as I think that most Catholics who support the use of power in the abortion case are favorably disposed to the death penalty, far beyond what is suggested by the Cathechism.
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I've said all along that this is an isue of discretion for individual Bishops. I'm explaining why it is consistent with Catholic teaching for the Bishops to make this denial. I've not said it should always be done.
However, you are flat our wrong when you say being pro-choice (allowing elective abortions, even only in the first trimester) is not in and of itself a sin. To be pro-choice because the person doesn't think a pre-born child is alive requires denying a tenet of faith that is considered essential - that of the immaculate conception. To be pro-choice while accepting that tenet requires condoning killing of innocents with no justification. Both are rejections of core Church teachings.
The Pope has never spoken from the chair on capital punishment, and official teaching still allows it in some circumstances. The circumstances are defined as worldly questions, not as theological ones, and so are left to the individual conscience of believers.
As for voting for a pro-choice politician because of other stances informed by your faith, that is not necessarily sinful if, in balance, the voter expects the politician to have little real impact on the abortion issue but to have potentially larger impacts on other important issues.
The control they are exercising over the sacrament, while not subject to review, is also not supposed to be unfettered. So the Bishop is making a ruling of faith that is binding on parishoners within the diocese.
The 2005 conference will create no binding authority; each Bishop will still have personal discretion.
quote: They don't have the authority to say what is a sin and what isn't.
Then who does? Sure, one could argue "nobody" but then the word "sin" becomes pretty meaningless.
I'm very interested to learn that the life from conception argument is based on immaculate conception. It seems consistent. The LDS church doesn't have a doctrine on the subject, though there seem to be members who go with conception as the beginning of life because it is the most conservative view.
So if a birth control method can prevent conception, why is this bad? How is avoiding relations on days when conception is unlikely different from preventing conception? (A lot of LDS use both kinds of pills, I don't support pills because I believe they harm the potential mother's body).
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That's based on a different teaching, about the purpose of sexuality/marriage. I don't have time to do it justice here, but even abstaining on fertile days is not given a free ride. It's only supposed to be done prayerfully for a valid reason. Valid reasons can include financial state, but the Church has a stricter definition of financial needs than most Americans do.
However, this is exactly the type of decision that is rightfully left to people's conscience, because no one is really cpable of judging how someone else is evaluating their ability to care for a child.
There is a respect for life aspect to the reason for birth control restrictions, but it has a different foundation than the abortion restriction.
However, because of the view that life beigns at conception, not implantation, the abortion teaching comes into play with some birth control methods.
Dag, Could you explain the immaculate conception thing to me? I don't get how that's relevant to abortion.
I disagree with your view of being pro-choice as being intrinsically a sin. I am pretty darn sure that it is not considered techinically so by the Church. Having or performing one, yes, but not using force to prevent them, no. A politician or someone who votes for a politician may believe that abortion is wrong, that no one should have abortions, and yet not believe that it is within their responsibility to force people not to have abortions. Or a politican may see themselves as the represntative of a population who is largely pro-choice (I don't really like that term, but pro-abortion is not inclusive enough a description and anti-anti-abortions is too cumbersome) and feel obligated to duly represnt his constituents' wishes.
If you were trying to say, as I did, that this isn't the Catholic Church doing this, but a very few bishops (who have been opposed in this by more prominent American Bishops and Cardinals), that didn't come across to me. This is a dinstinction that I think is usually lost when people report on or talk about this issue, leading it to be blown way out of proportion. Elsewhere, someone claimed that John Kerry had to scramble to find a place where he could freely receive Communion. My thought was that, if he had to scramble to find one of the 296 dioceses where he could receive Communion, the man was pretty stupid, even for a politician.
The 2005 conference will result in a coherent statement that represents the Church's stance on this. It may not be binding (actually, I didn't know that), but it will present a much different face to these issues than what now exists. I also believe that it will present a much different stance than some people seem to expect, and will state that it is specifically not the policly of the Catholic Church to deny Communion to people based solely on political stances. I could be completely wrong in that, but my read of the situation is that a large number of the Church hierachry are unwilling to adopt a more coercive role in nations politcs.
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quote:However, this is exactly the type of decision that is rightfully left to people's conscience, because no one is really cpable of judging how someone else is evaluating their ability to care for a child.
Can you explain this to me? The last sentence is confusing. Are you saying no one is judging parents ability to care for a child? I was wondering if you could explain or restate this a bit. It is an interesting point, if I am reading it correctly. It might be if I am reading it incorrectly, too, come to think of it!
pooka, The Catholic Church has some pretty strict rules about the offices and/or contexts that confer authority to do certain things. There are offices and contexts the confer the authority to declare something a sin or not. The bishopforic (I didn't spell that right, did I>) doesn't confer that authority. They can have personal opinions on the matter and can use the authority they are given to express these personal opinions, but I don't think anyone, no even the priest under their direction, are obligated to regard these personal opinions as binding. That is to say, the priests under the 4 bishops in question are prohibited from granting Communion to certain people, but they are not obligated to view these people as being in a state of sin.
Posts: 10177 | Registered: Apr 2001
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All I meant was that any decision that requires you to evaluate the world in order to make the morally correct decision is much harder to second guess. So if a couple decides not to have kids because they can't afford it, the Church isn't going to come audit their finances and tell that they really can. A priest might remind people in a homily that living up to the typical American two-income middle class lifestyle does not represent true financial difficulty. And if a couple soought counseling, a priest might tevaluate their finances with them. But because so much discretion is needed to make a good decision, it is basically left to the conscience.
MrSquicky, the doctrine of the immaculate conception is that Mary, "in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin." (It's not about Jesus's conception, as many believe).
The doctrine presumes that Mary existed at the first instance of her conception, since only a human being can posess original sin, and therefore only a human can be exempted from it.
I'd be interested to hear a rational that starts from the premise that at the moment of conception an unborn child is fully human that ends with it being OK to exempt that human being from the protection of homicide laws that doesn't violate another teaching of the Church. That's what is required to be anti-anti-abortion and in full communion with the Church.
(By the way, I'm referring to elective abortion solely based on the decision of the mother, with no complicating factors).
Aren't individual politicians supposed to act as the voice for the people they represent? Is it possible to fight for something that you find morally abhorrent because the people who have put their faith in you are behind it? Or what if you feel it should be legal given the current state of laws (not a question of *should* it be legal or *is* it really legal. Please don't answer either of those questions).
Can you deny a politician communion based on what they fight for if it's not necessarily what they believe is morally right? Can the Church say, "This is what you believe in and that makes you not Catholic enough for communion" despite someone’s protests that that isn't, in fact, what they believe in? Isn't this whole communion thing between God and the receiver anyway? Who are you to tell someone what level of Catholicism they've reached? Doesn't God sort all of that out in the end?
Just some stream of consciousness there.
Posts: 3243 | Registered: Apr 2002
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Okay, I have a question. How does voting for someone make me prochoice? If I vote for bush because I am prolife does that mean I am prowar? I'm not sure who I will vote for in the upcoming election. But what if I research both candidates and find out that other than the abortion thing I agree with almost all of Kerry's ideas and none of Bush's? Do I vote for Bush because he's prolife? Is he likely to actually change the laws even if he is?
Oh and pooka no one can say if a person's sinned because no one but that person knows what is going on in a person's mind. Sin is a conscious choice to do something wrong. One of the first requirements for sinning is that you must know that it is wrong. Or at least, that's what I was taught in grade school.
Posts: 872 | Registered: Mar 2002
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Yes I was more thinking of the last thread where this was discussed and voting was more the topic of debate. It is more clearly stated here. But it's still not clear to me as a Catholic up here in liberal liberal new england what the Church is teaching. I am originally from one of the most conservative diocese in the country and am quite astonished by how radically different the teachings are. While I agree that many things are up to interpretation and opinion it's mindboggling how frequently the two conflict each other.
Posts: 872 | Registered: Mar 2002
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Now see, this is a difference from what I remember of my Catholic upbringing. I know many of my Catholic relatives had tons of kids, but it was more of something to giggle about. I am not saying you are wrong, Dag, as it fits but in church (and CCD) we never got the "have babies until it hurts" sort of teaching. Wow. That is interesting stuff.