Kafer: Colorado’s bishops should pressure Catholic democrats to do the right thing

Should bishops get involved in political issues? Joseph Rummel thought so. The Archbishop of New Orleans voiced his opposition to segregation in the late 1940s and began desegregating churches and schools within the archdiocese a few years later.

“Racial segregation as such is morally wrong and sinful because it is a denial of the unity and solidarity of the human race as conceived by God,” he wrote.

He didn’t just disprove of segregation in private institutions but segregation laws themselves. Catholic legislators were warned that if they worked to perpetuate such laws, they risked excommunication, the church’s severest censure. When three prominent church members organized protests against the archdiocese, they received letters of “paternal admonition” and having disregarded them, were excommunicated. Two of the individuals publically recanted their opposition to desegregation and were reinstated as church members.

Earlier this month, Archbishop of Denver Samuel J. Aquila, Bishop of Pueblo Stephen J. Berg, Bishop of Colorado Springs James R. Golka, and Auxiliary Bishop of Denver Jorge H. Rodriguez took a similar action concerning Catholic legislators who supported House Bill 1279, the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA), which codifies the ability to choose life or death for a preborn baby for any reason from conception until birth.

Colorado bishops reached out privately to 14 Catholic lawmakers on the issue of communion and abortion in fall of last year and spring of this year but none of the 10 Catholics who voted for RHEA were receptive.

Early this month, in an open letter to lawmakers, bishops asked, “Catholic legislators who live or worship in Colorado and who have voted for RHEA, to voluntarily refrain from receiving Holy Communion” until “public repentance takes place and sacramental absolution is received in Confession.”

For Catholics, Holy Communion is a sacramental meal of hosts bread and wine that become the real Body and …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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