May 25, 2004

Who controls Communion? 1.2

A church member forwarded me an email newsletter from theFamily Research Council, a pro-family lobbying organization, that included this take on the issue of Catholic bishops withholding Communion from congregants who openly support causes contrary to Church teaching:
The bishops who have made these statements are following the laws of the Roman Catholic Church and fulfilling their obligation to their respective flocks to fully develop their consciences so that they realize the objective character of certain actions, like abortion. These bishops are not telling parishioners for whom they should vote, but they are letting the faithful know that certain actions are inherently sinful and are not matters of opinion. We should expect no less from religious leaders.
The point the author makes is an important one. The issue at hand here is not a woman's right to choose abortion, nor is it a politician's right to vote his conscience. It is the role and authority of a church in a person's life. Does a church have the authority to interpret Scripture and tradition? Does it have the authority to delineate who can participate in its Sacraments? Does it have the authority to develop positions on specific issues and then mandate those positions for members to remain in good standing with the church? I would say the answer to all those questions is yes.

Does that contradict my earlier statement that "God controls communion?" I don't know...what do you think?


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