I've been hanging out a lot this past week in the Catholic Answers Forums. Life is pretty interesting over there, and a little earlier today I posted something over there, in a "is J.F. Kerry a Catholic?" thread, that I think will do nicely over here as a reminder as we enter the messy muddy season called national elections.
Here it is:
Originally Posted by [name deleted]
Is John Kerry or is he not a Catholic?[end quote]
The test of Catholicity:
Has he been baptised in a Catholic Church, or has he been received into the Church and chrismated after being baptised elsewhere? Yes, he has been baptised in the Catholic Church.
Has he actually joined a non-Catholic ecclesial community, or has he been initiated into a non-Christian religion? Examples: joined a Protestant fellowship, registered in a SSPV or Spiritus Christi parish, become a Buddhist......? No, he has not separated himself from the Church by a definitive act.
Has he been thrown out by his bishop? No, Archbishop Sean of Boston, his bishop and ordinary, has not thrown him out yet.
Therefore, John Forbes Kerry is a Catholic.
He may be a mistaken Catholic, or an uninstructed Catholic, or a Catholic who is a bad example, but he is still a Catholic.
This does not mean that he is not a prodigal and a problem child and a pain in the posterior, but he is _our_ prodigal and problem and pain. We don't get the easy way out by denying he's our brother, the only ones with the authority to say that are +Sean of Boston, his bishop, or the Holy Father himself, and they haven't yet.