The Providence Journal reports on its website that Kennedy was told by the bishop not to take communion in his diocese, given his support of abortion rights. The Catholic Church holds that life begins at conception, and that abortion is wrong.
For an explanation of the importance of communion in the Catholic church, go here, where you’ll read that partaking of the Holy Eucharist is considered the most important of the church’s sacraments. From the website, Catholic.com:
Innumerable, precious graces come to us through the reception of Holy Communion.
Communion is an intimate encounter with Christ, in which we sacramentally receive Christ into our bodies, that we may be more completely assimilated into his. “The Eucharist builds the Church,” as Pope John Paul II said (Redemptor Hominis 20). It deepens unity with the Church, more fully assimilating us into Christ (1 Cor. 12:13; CCC 1396).
The Eucharist also strengthens the individual because in it Jesus himself, the Word made flesh, forgives our venial sins and gives us the strength to resist mortal sin. It is also the very channel of eternal life: Jesus himself.
So it’s a big deal to be banned from partaking. Whether Rep. Kennedy could simply go to another diocese to partake of the church sacrament is anybody’s guess. According to a priest quoted in the Journal:
“it would take a canon lawyer” to say whether a Catholic denied Communion in his own diocese would be free to receive Communion elsewhere.
This is a fascinating (and painful) topic to me. Though I still identify as a fundamentalist Christian, that could be considered an affectation on my part because the tribe from which I spring would not consider me a member. I do not hold that all the tenets of my own fundamentalist Christian faith are in line with the original intent of the text from which they spring, and that puts me outside the body of believers.
I don’t know who gets to pick who is in the tribe and who isn’t, who gets to participate fully and who has to stay in his pew. My heart goes out to Rep. Kennedy for his strong stance on reproductive rights. For what it’s worth, this says that a slim majority (51 percent) of American Catholics believe abortion should be legal in “most or call cases.” Would those Catholics bishops deny them the Eucharist, as well?
And thanks, Bro. Stan, for the link.