A Catholic priest recently denied communion to a parishioner, in violation of Canon 912, which specifically states that “Any baptized person who is not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to Holy Communion…” unless otherwise directed by a superior.
In spite of this, a Catholic priest chose to deny Professor Doug Kmiec communion, a former White House Legal Counsel and Justice Department staffer for President Reagan and President Bush, because he endorsed Barack Obama.
Kmiec is currently a law professor at Pepperdine University.
Obama is pro-choice and evidently this doesn’t sit well with Doug Kmiec’s church. The priest presiding over mass went on to discuss his personal politics during the homily, indicating that supporting a pro-choice candidate was engaging in a “grave moral evil.” He was obviously referring indirectly to Kmiec. The priest then proceeded to nod his head from side to side when Kmiec presented himself for communion, and denied him.
Kmiec, by his own account, said to the priest, “I think you’re making a mistake father.” The priest disagreed.
There have been other instances of this type of behavior from Catholic priests and bishops. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City has played an indirect role in the 2008 campaign by calling on Kathleen Sebelius, the popular Democratic governor of Kansas who has been mentioned as a possible Obama running mate, to stop taking Communion because of her “actions in support of legalized abortion.”
We also remember John Kerry being denied communion in 2004.
I taught Sunday school for three years in my younger days, and I learned a few things.
For one, this priest has violated Canon law and should be punished. The Catholic altar is not a political stump or opinion pulpit, and secondly, the Catholic faith preaches the embodiment of life to the full. However, it does not speak to, or comments on the politics of parishioners during mass, nor does it allow for priests to sit as moral judges while delivering communion. Canon law experts universally agree.
Kmiec’s priest was categorically wrong for his actions.
Senator Obama aims to transcend the current partisan divide in this country that manifests itself in people like Kmiec’s priest, and specifically in those who believe that people must leave their politics at the door before entering church – or reject those beliefs altogether, in the name of quasi political-religious imposed morals.
As evidence of this, conservative blogs have declared Kmiec “self-excommunicated.”
The irony in all this is that Kmiec is an arch-conservative, anti-abortionist! He is pro-life through and through, however he is willing to trade off for Obama’s other positive positions. Conservatives who are traditional one-issue voters, typically reject this. All they see is an “anti-gun” or “pro-choice” tunnel. The rest doesn’t really matter to them.
McCain killed people in Vietnam, and swindled people in his dealings with the Keating 5. Does that count as immoral? That’s who conservative Catholics will be voting for, yet it all seems hypocritical to me on many levels.
Religion’s purpose, if it has one, is not to politically oppress parishioners as they attend church. It’s purpose is to liberate and fulfill people, and ultimately lead them to salvation. Religion and morality are intertwined as Kmiec’s priest suggests, however religion’s true power is in what it offers in spirit, not what it imposes upon it’s followers socially.
A message to America – you are not precluded from voting for Senator Obama. I’m Catholic, and I will be voting for him. You should do the same. He is a moral man, with the practical reasoning and vision this country needs after eight years of incompetence.
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