Thursday, October 28, 2004
On Being Catholic and Pro-Life
It's something like if he chose to go to Catholic services and worship Ganesh. Nothing illegal about it...but it just not what being a Catholic is about.
In the worldview of Catholicism, to take communion while in flagrant sin (as those who advocate the abomination of abortion are) is to compound a mortal sin with a sin against the Body and Blood of Christ. Redemption becomes that much more difficult, for one’s initial sin is intensified. Even for Protestants, taking communion in unrepentant sin varies from a risky proposition to a forbidden act. Given the Scripture, it is hard to imagine a Christian position that would encourage its members to take communion while in unrepentant sin.
Those who object to the bishops’ position misunderstand the direction of the directive. It does not dictate how the politician must vote or what stance he or she must take on the tricky question of abortion. It only clarifies the consequences of that choice for those who would be Catholic. Advocating the murder of children in the womb is simply something that disqualifies one from being a good Catholic. Some folks think that’s unfair. But nobody ever said that religions and religious organizations had to be fair, within the bounds of their own structures. Indeed, to do such a thing would itself violate the First Amendment right of free exercise of religion.
Religions have rules. Mormons can’t smoke or drink. Neither can Pentecostals. Most Christians are circumscribed in their behavior by the restrictions of their doctrine. Majorities of Protestant groups forbid adultery, fornication, and homosexuality; others add restrictions of dress. Catholicism, as it happens, has a thing about abortion. In some cases, violating these rules renders one ineligible for membership, though usually still welcome in fellowship. And the benefits and obligations of membership vary, as well.
Kerry is welcome to be pro-choice, if that is where his conscience leads him. But if he chooses to elevate his own wisdom over the two-thousand year consistent teaching of the church, he has chosen a religion that is not Catholic, and a Lord that is not the Christ of Catholicism. At that point, his membership is void, and he is barred from the privileges thereof, one of which is taking communion.