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Letters & Op-Eds - 2004

irish Times

Kerry and Communion

Frances Kissling

19 April 2004

The situation vis a vis US senator and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry and his eligibility to receive the sacrament of communion is slightly less contentious than depicted in Ian Kilroy's report "Kerry defies prelates over communion" (The Irish Times, April 14th).

In fact, neither the Archbishop of Boston nor the Cardinal of Washington, DC, the two dioceses in which Mr Kerry resides, have issued any directive that he should not receive communion.

A number of right-wing Catholic fringe groups have called on US bishops to deny communion to Mr Kerry and other pro-choice Catholic legislators, of whom there are more than 70 in the US congress.

It is important to note, however, that the US bishops have almost unanimously been silent on the issue.

Only two have indicated that pro-choice Catholic politicians should not receive communion in their dioceses (Bishops Bruskewitz and Burke). The others appear to be more prudent, understanding that Catholics have a right in canon law to receive the sacraments and that there is no infallible teaching on how to vote on either abortion or other controversial issues in America, such as the war in Iraq or the death penalty. - Yours, etc.,

Frances Kissling, President, Catholics for a Free Choice, Washington, DC, USA