Monday, July 19, 2004

Excommunicating U.S. politicians: wouldn't be the first time

Right now, this election season, we wait and watch as matters of faith, morals, and ethics that have political implications have center stage. Whether pursuing unjust warfare, or allowing procured abortion, or suspending civil and human rights for some, or promoting the exploitation of embryos or the suicides of the ill and handicapped, or oppressing fatherless children and women alone, disqualifies a person for elective office. Whether and when Communion ought to be denied, and how publicly, and whether or not to invoke the greatest penalty the Church has in this life ---- the isolation ward, excommunication.

This isn't new, however, and it wouldn't be the first time, or the last, that these issues have been front and center. Here is an article about one such time, when the Archbishop of New Orleans had to face down some Catholic politicians who denied his right to teach the equality of all the people of God, and to act in accordance to that teaching.

So, when a pastor teaches about disqualifying moral stances, or a priest says that "sorry, you persist in public manifest grave sin so I can't give you the Eucharist, It'll hurt you", or a bishop has to rule on whether one or another moral error sinks to the level of rank heresy calling for public discipline, know that we've been there many a time before, and that the Church will endure longer than any political system or oddball moral theory. The very gates of hell will not prevail against Her, so of course the current unjust-warrior or pro-choice-to-kill legislator or orphan-oppressor doesn't have a chance against the Lord's Church.
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