Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 24, 2004
Church-politician ties to be studied
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
The Canadian bishops' conference plans to launch an in-depth study into the Church's relationship with Catholic politicians and others who run afoul of Church teaching on issues like abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage.
But the study won't be conducted until after the federal election, expected on June 28.
Deacon Bill Kokesch, communications director for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that after the election, the conference intends to have "more in-depth study on the whole interface between Catholics and the political process, not only with politicians but also with other Catholics."
On April 19, the CCCB's social affairs commission called on Catholics to make an "informed choice" in the election, "inspired by the Church's moral and social teachings." (See Pages 8 and 9.)
Some American bishops say Catholic politicians who dissent from Church teaching should not receive Communion. One bishop said that ban should apply even to voters who support such politicians.
Calgary Bishop Fred Henry says he is "anxiously awaiting" the outcome of the task force.
"In the meantime," he wrote in a column for the WCR (Page 20), "I believe that the question, 'If a dissident Catholic leader obstinately persists in opposing fundamental Church teaching, should he or she be turned away if they present themselves for Communion?' has to be answered 'yes.'"
Henry said last year that he would "probably refuse" to give Communion to then Prime Minister Jean Chretien.