Local priests stand behind Bishop Raymond Burke’s decree to deny communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion.
Holding back the sacrament of the Eucharist for those who go against the church’s teaching is nothing new. What puts priests in a difficult position is unlike most parishioners, politicians’ voting records are tangible and public.
The bishop’s action is a fulfillment of his role as leader and teacher, said the Rev. Thomas Rudolph, pastor of St. Joseph’s in Stratford and St. Andrew’s in Rozellville.
“The politician may take a huffy stand, but you must remember that if they can’t accept the church’s teaching they sure as hell shouldn’t proclaim they’re Catholic in good standing of their own,” he said. “That’s just total inconsistency.”
The Rev. John Malik, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Colby, said he doesn’t agree with legislators who claim they vote the way their constituents would, rather than their conscience.
“Some of the great people of the world are great because they followed their conscience,” he said.
Some theologians say Burke’s decision could hinder the public from voting for a devout Catholic politician.
Dan Maguire, a theology professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee, said other bishops in the state and in the country likely won’t issue such “an ultraconservative decree.”
“There has been a change in Catholicism and it’s pluralistic. This was an unjust judgment,” Maguire said. “It’s going to make people think twice before voting for a Catholic politician for fear they will take orders from the hierarchy.”
People should already think twice about voting for a Catholic Politician whose faith says one thing and their voting record another. We already have too many Janus like politicians as it is. It is rather odd to hear a Catholic theologian trot out the old Know-Nothing’s party line about Catholic politicians taking orders from the hierarchy. As if these Catholic politicians get a secret red phone tied to the Vatican installed into their offices upon election.