From today’s Washington Times:
The debate over denial of Communion to pro-choice Roman Catholic politicians was rekindled last month when Bishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., told Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to refrain from partaking in the sacrament.
Similar actions by Catholic bishops in the past have led to strong debate among canon lawyers – those who function within the church’s internal legal system.
As Bishop Naumann joins the chorus of American bishops refusing Communion to wayward politicians, a new consensus is emerging among canon lawyers on the topic, which reached a boiling point four years ago surrounding Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Mrs. Sebelius, a Democrat, has been the subject of much speculation as a potential vice-presidential pick for Sen. Barack Obama.
“Eight or 10 years ago, when people first started advocating on this, they were voices crying in the wilderness,” says the Rev. Francis G. Morrisey, a retired professor of canon law at St. Paul University and one of the most respected canon lawyers in North America. “What we’re seeing is a consensus emerge; it’s more of a discussion now than a debate.”
Father Morrisey, who long had been among the most vocal opponents of denying Communion to politicians, admits that his thinking on the subject has shifted substantially, although he still does not think Communion should be denied in every case.
“It is very rare that truth is in the extremes,” he says. “We have to look at the individual conscience of each politician, and just when a person has overstepped the line.”
Read the whole article here.