Denied Communion over Obama?

by Steve Ray on May 16, 2008

Ed Peter's the Canon Lawyer has an interesting article today. I agree with him. I think it is unconscionable for a Catholic to even consider a vote for Obama. This man will turn the clock back a hundred years in the direction of the Culture of Death. Because he is young, "handsome," inexperienced, idealistic and well-spoken people think of him as the Messiah. Anyway . . .

Was Prof Douglas Kmiec really denied Communion?
He certainly says he was, by a chaplain irate over Kmiec's endorsement of Obama for president. Now I am as nonplused as the next guy about Kmiec's backing of the unborn's worst enemy … and I was quietly hoping that Kmiec would remain an anomalous singularity. That hope was dashed, however, when Nicholas Cafardi, a prominent lay canonist … lent his name to Obama's Catholic advisor list. Good grief. Oh well, they don't move me: I'd rather watch televised soccer than cast a vote for either Obama or Clinton.

But to deny Kmiec holy Communion for his actions to date?

Read my response at

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Philip Harold May 16, 2008 at 11:09 AM

It is not unconscionable for a Catholic to consider a vote for Obama, unless one is viewing politics in a completely partisan way. Being pro-life must mean opposing unjust war. John McCain is not pro-life. He might mouth some pro-life rhetoric, but he is a belligerent warmonger, and supporting him means that the pro-life movement has lost its soul and has become merely an appendage to the Republican party, which can take us for granted. Remember, it's the Republican party that brought us Anthony Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Conner, and David Souter. And most importantly, the terribly anti-life unjust war in Iraq. If we don't oppose McCain, then the worst taunts of the pro-aborts are true: we don't really care about life, we only care about stuffing our sexual morality down everyone else's throats. There's a lot more arguments on my website:

STEVE RAY HERE: We may agree on a few things, but I would disagree with more than I agree with. I post your response in case others want to chime in. Pro-life is a specific term referring to the abortion issue. When you use it to refer to war you muddy the waters. That is a wider issue.

truthfinder May 16, 2008 at 2:49 PM

Steve is right. “Pro-life” refers primarily to abortion. Philip I think you are missing the fact that not all issues carry the same moral weight as others. Here is a quote from then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI,

“Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.” (WRHC 3)

I would recommend that Philip read the voters guide for serious Catholics found at:
God bless.

JohnD May 16, 2008 at 2:59 PM

It IS unacceptable for a Catholic to vote for Obama. If you don’t like McCain, that’s fine. He’s not your only alternative. There are third party candidates who do not support the premeditated murder of innocent pre-born children and who offer different views on other issues.

I strongly suggest you read the Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics if you are a serious Catholic.

Philip Harold May 16, 2008 at 5:36 PM

The waters are already muddied with the abortion issue. The reason is that there are only a few people who are really pro-abortion (think it’s a great, pleasant thing). Most people who are pro-choice are “personally opposed.” If the issue was just: “Abortion–good or bad?” then it would be clear. But it’s not clear. It’s difficult. What’s clear is that we have to oppose abortion, but the way we do it, the prudential judgments we make about supporting policies and candidates in the political realm, all of that is actually very difficult. A lot of people are morally confused on the issue. To be pro-choice is to be morally confused.

The exact same thing applies to war. Unjust war is no different than abortion. It should be opposed. But the particularities are certainly very difficult, again just like abortion. Is this particular war unjust? What is the proper path to oppose it if it is? A lot of people are morally confused. They think they can be authentically pro-life while supporting the war in Iraq, which is an unjust war, clearly an unjust war, as the Pope has stated. We can not support it without jettisoning our pro-life principles out of a convenient partisanship. This would be to be just as morally confused as pro-choicers.

McCain has always been in favor of a horribly, horribly unjust war that must be opposed root and branch by pro-lifers. That is a fact. No semantics of the definition of “pro-life” changes this. I ask what “pro-life” means if it entails political support for unjust war. The answer is that it’s meaningless, or that it means only imposing one’s religion or moral ideas on others who don’t share them. We either stick up for innocent life or we don’t. To start making exceptions is to play the game of the pro-choice anti-life side. Certainly the Iraq issue is a “wider issue.” And it has to be considered in our political decisions if we are to avoid a very narrow partisanship.

truthfinder May 16, 2008 at 8:41 PM

Philip it may seem you have some good intentions but you are still not seeing the whole picture. So you want to be “Pro-life” and against war (or “Pro-peace”); fine. But get to know the degree of seriousness between the issues.

You said, “I ask what “pro-life” means if it entails political support for unjust war. The answer is that it’s meaningless, or that it means only imposing one’s religion or moral ideas on others who don’t share them.”

What do you mean imposing one’s religion or moral idea? Do you even know what an abortion entails? You do not have to be religious to value life. You don’t believe me, ask an atheist if he prefers to live or die and let me know what answer they give. Unless they have mental problems, I will always bet they will choose to live. Abortion is not a matter of religion, it is life and death issue.

What makes abortion unique is its lack of a defensive element. You see, in a war there is always a defense (someone defending) and an offense (someone attacking). Where is this in an abortion? How is a baby able to defend itself from being torn apart? How is a baby able to defend itself from getting its head crushed? How is a baby able to defend itself from being sucked out by a vacuum? Get the facts first Philip.

Check these clips out:

Peggy Scott May 18, 2008 at 8:37 PM

I am wondering when Michigan’s Governor Jennifer Granholm will finally be refused Holy Communion by either her Pastor or her Bishop? Her pro-abortion stand is well known, plus she is on Emily’s List. I still remember all the work done here in Michigan to stop partial birth abortion and the Governor Granholm vetoed it !!!!!!!

Ken Canning June 6, 2008 at 7:28 AM

RE Prof Kmiec,

I copied the following article which I believe, if you read to the end, you will see is of the utmost relevence to the Kmiec argument.

“In the comment, the Pope was referring to the Church’s Canon law 915 which states: “Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis, a pre-eminent Scholar of Canon Law remarked on the need for Bishops to uphold this canon since without doing so they undermine belief in the truth of the evil of abortion. “No matter how often a bishop or priest repeats the teaching of the Church regarding procured abortion, if he stands by and does nothing to discipline a Catholic who publicly supports legislation permitting the gravest of injustices and, at the same time, presents himself to receive Holy Communion, then his teaching rings hollow,” he said. “To remain silent is to permit serious confusion regarding a fundamental truth of the moral law.”

It is not only the Pope who has been reiterating the truth that Catholic politicians who support abortion ‘must’ be denied Communion. The highest authority on the subject in the Vatican, next to the Pope, is the head (or Prefect) of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments – Nigerian-born Cardinal Francis Arinze.

Already in 2004, Cardinal Arinze said a pro-abortion politician “is not fit” to receive Communion. “If they should not receive, then they should not be given,” he added.

Since then, Cardinal Arinze, who is still in his position as Prefect of the Congregation, has been asked about the issue so frequently he has begun to joke about it. The latest such incident was videotaped and is available on Youtube.

The November 2007 video shows Cardinal Arinze eliciting much laughter and applause when he made the analogy, “To the person who says, ‘Personally I’m against abortion, but if people what to do it, I’ll leave them free’, you could say, ‘You are a member of the senate or the congress, personally I’m not in favour of shooting the whole lot of you, but if somebody else wants to shoot all of you in the Senate, or all of you in Congress, it’s just pro-choice for that person, but personally, I’m not in favour.’

“That is what he is saying. He’s saying he’s personally not in favour of killing these millions of children in the womb, but if others want to do it, that’s pro-choice. That’s what he is saying.”

Arinze said that he is regularly asked if a person who votes for abortion can receive Holy Communion. He replies, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that? Get the children for first Communion and say to them, ‘Somebody votes for the killing of unborn babies, and says, I voted for that, I will vote for that every time.’ And these babies are killed not one or two, but in millions, and that person says, ‘I’m a practicing Catholic’, should that person receive Communion next Sunday? The children will answer that at the drop of a hat. You don’t need a cardinal to answer that.”

Pam June 8, 2008 at 4:07 PM

I am a dues paying member of the Catholic Church. Noone goes into the voting booth with me.

Dennis E Horn September 28, 2008 at 1:39 PM

I love the “war is not the answer” stickers; perhaps those anti-war proponents should read Clausowitz, and fully come to the realization that there are 30 wars going on in countries they never heard of right now. There has always been war, since Biblical times, and guess what, you got it, there will always be war. I hate war, I’ve been to Afghanistan in 2002, Iraq in in 2004, and in Grenada and then Beirut in 1983-84. I’ve seen how man treats his fellow man on an abysmal scale.
Guess what? We are the ones that are trying to keep the peace or usually ending oppression and cleaning up radical states or countries after the mess has begun. Most of the Afghani’s I cared for were mine injuries, form mines placed by USSR, CNN doesn’t cover that, or Michael Moore. Most Iraqi’s I cared for were injured by fundamental nut jobs that wanted to die in the name of Allah, kinda like 9/11. Making a comparison of war with abortion is totally out of context. In a war, whether it’s a war on terror, or the Chinese hitting the Jersey shore, lethal force needs to be applied, or guess what, you got it the enemies of USA rape your wife and children in front of you, then cut your head off in front of them. I know that sounds graphic, but it is true, and hiding with ones head in the sand isn’t going to make the fanatic go away, or talking nice to him, or dialoging.

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