Politicians normally don’t welcome being singled out for public criticism. Yet Charlie Angus is actually hoping he’ll continue to be the biggest target for the Roman Catholic Church’s wrath over legalization of same-sex marriage. "I’m a Catholic in exile," says the New Democrat MP for Ontario’s Timmins-James Bay riding. "I wouldn’t want that to happen to any other MPs and their families. I’d prefer to be the sad anomaly."
Angus has been denied communion by his parish priest since affirming his support for same-sex marriage last January. A former Catholic school trustee and choirmaster, he no longer feels welcome at his local church. His wife and three young daughters don’t go anymore either, the youngest missing her first communion as a result. And what happened to Angus could soon become the norm. Bishops from around the world are currently meeting in Rome for the first synod under Pope Benedict XVI. Among other doctrinal matters, they are discussing whether the holiest sacrament — the taking of bread and wine symbolizing Christ’s body and blood — should be withdrawn from Catholic politicians who flout Church teachings.
Symbolizing Christ’s body and blood. No surprise that this article is so one sided when they couldn’t even get the fact about the Catholic belief in the Eucharist right.
Currently there’s no consensus among Canadian bishops about how, or even if, Catholic politicians should be disciplined for deviating from Church teachings. That’s left to the discretion of parish priests. Hence, Windsor-Tecumseh MP Joe Comartin, another NDPer who supported gay marriage, was banned from teaching marriage preparation classes and other church activities.
What! Somebody who doesn’t have the basic understanding of what marriage is is prevented from teaching marriage prep? What a scandal! Hey, anybody can get the ingredients wrong once in a while. Only having one man and one women who are free to marry is a difficult recipe to memorize. I mean if a baker used only egg yolks to make Angel food cake would we ban him from teaching other chefs on how to make Angel food cake?
Whether that would compel Catholic politicians to toe the Church line, however, is debatable. "I’ll go take communion with the United Church, for heaven’s sake," scoffs Vancouver Liberal MP Hedy Fry. Toronto Liberal MP Maria Minna says she has disagreed with the Church on a number of issues — its handling of pedophile priests, its refusal to admit women to the priesthood, its stance on same-sex marriage — and has never docilely accepted every dictum from Rome. "If my faith depended entirely on the behaviour of the institution, I don’t think we’d have too many Catholics left," she says, contending that politicians "have a responsibility to the whole country," not just to their church.
Scratch a dissident on one issue and what you will find underneath is a white-washed tomb. A theology as brittle as dead man’s bones with only a thin-veneer of Catholic culture painted on the outside. An ecclesiology more associated with nationalism than having any basic understanding of Christ’s bride the Church.
But Comartin worries that moderate Catholics, who are already feeling alienated, will leave and start a splinter church if the Pope condones denying communion to politicians like him. Moreover, if the Church is going to exclude liberal Catholics from communion over issues like gay marriage, where will it stop? [Source]
Well they have already started a splinter Church that has much to associate it with Protestantism. If you have no need to follow the pope and the Church’s magisterium and you think an apostolate is a government program exactly what Church do they think they are attending? It is one thing to know what the Catholic Church is and what it teaches and then disagree with her reasoning. Most of the disagreements our totally out of ignorance. They will complain about a couple dogmatic teachings of the Church when in reality they should be complaining about the whole nature of the Church according to their understanding. By rejecting the authority of the Catholic Church they are in reality rejecting the Catholic Church. Garbage in – garbage out. A mistaken ecclesiology leads to garbage theology.
Hat Tip to Letters From a Young Catholic for sending me the story.