I'm finding the recent flap over whether or not John Kerry should receive communion in the Catholic Church rather interesting and ironic. As a lapsed/alienated Catholic, I actually come down on the side of Catholic conservatives on this one. It seems to me that a central aspect of any religion is to decide what are its central tenets and who is or isn't a believer, based on those tenets. Don't get me wrong--I wish the Church would rethink some of those tenets, but it's not my place to tell the Catholic Church what it can and can't do regarding its own rituals and observances. If John Kerry or any other Catholic politician differs significantly with the Church's teachings, why don't they just honestly say so and then find a different church?
It seems that both sides in this debate want to avoid a massive self-inflicted wound. If the Church started to deny communion to pro-choice adherents, politicians and otherwise, they would risk a schism. Likewise, if pro-choice politicians fessed up that they no longer believed in some of the central beliefs of the Church and were therefore leaving, they would risk alienating Catholic voters. Unfortunately, the result is hypocrisy all around with both sides pretending to believe in something they don't.