Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Communion Game

Here is perfect example of why the "Communion Game" of "Your beliefs are not good enough" is unacceptable. I've never heard of Douglas Kmiec before this morning, but according to, he has been refused communion by a priest for endorsing Barak Obama.

The Pepperdine law professor was an architect for the Reagan Administration's stance against abortion. In fact, he's well known "pro-lifer" who's been rather involved in the "pro-life" movement. The Mass where he was denied communion preceded a meeting of a California business group where he was the featured speaker. The priest took the opportunity to admonish him at the homily and then deny him communion.

This is simply the logical extension of this communion game where prelates decide that a certain Catholic's beliefs are not good enough to come to come to the Lord's table. Is our measuring stick for who can receive communion God's infinite grace or a certain clergy person's personal beliefs?


Dad29 said...

Kmiec is certainly NOT a sitting Congresscritter; thus denying him the Eucharist was questionable--as opposed to a flagrant pro-abort type such as Dave Obey.

Jack said...

I have stated many times that the Church has become a one issue religion. Can anyone cite an example where communion has been denied a Catholic for not supporting the Church's social teachings other than the pro-life position? BTW did the Church ever deny commention to followers of Hitler, Franco,etc.

Is the Church saying all Catholics must support McCain? It would seem so. Jack

Jack said...

Make that "deny communion." Jack

James said...

I agree that Mr. Kmiec shouldn't have been denied communion. Sen. Kerry, Kennedy, Dodd, Mikulski, Gov. Guiliani and Gov. Schwarzenegger should be for their open flaunting of Church teachings.

Abortion is an Intrinsic Evil which makes it a higher issue than say Health Care (unless one's Health Care position is the total libertarian position).

Dad29 said...

As a matter of fact, Jack, the Archbishop of New Orleans ex-commed a bunch of segregationists back in the 1950's (?) or '60's.

Jack said...

Okay, dad 29. I'll take your word. But what about Hitler, Franco etc and their followers.Can you name one fascists that the church denied communion to? Let's assume I follow every catholic social justice teaching except one--abortion. Now let's assume B supports pro-life position but pays no attention to other catholic social judgment positions--indeed flauts all the other. In responses to James, am I to assume that the church really has only ONE social justice teaching.

Maybe an example will help. Assume "A" runs a child sex ring; makes his employees work 20 hours a day, provides no insurance and fires any employee who is sick, dumps toxic waste in a nearby river and on and on. But he is active in the right to life movement.
Now "B" takes in orphans from the street,limits his employees to 40 hours a week, provides comprehensive health care for his employees and is active in the environmental movement, BUT he does favor the right to early term abortion.

Who is the better Christian? Jack

James said...


What you ignore though is that in many Social Justice issues, there are a multitude of methods that would be proper to alleviate the problem. Education for example, can feature disagreement between two faithful Catholics on the best means to provide quality education for all. The same for many other Social Justice and Peace issues.

However, on some issues, there isn't that same freedom: Abortion, Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Gay Marriage, Euthanasia, and other issues that involve an "intrinsic evil" and have no room for debate.

As for which (A or B) is a better Christian, the correct answer is neither. Both are GRAVELY Deficient. While the Right to Life is primary, person A isn't necessarily acceptable. But I challenge you to find a person A running for office who actually espouses those positions. Rather you are building a straw-man to justify support for someone who supports abortion (since from what I can follow, you personally do not).

Jack said...

James, thanks for responding. But you did not answer my question. Is paying workers starvation wages in Africa, we'll say, not intrinsically evil? Is poluting the rivers thus damaging the welfare of others not intrinsically evil? Is killing innocent populations not intrinsically evil? Is destroying the lives of 12 year old rape victims not intrinsically evil?

James, I'm sure you are a nice sincere guy. But you simply determine yourself what is "evil" and then say all other issues are "maybe I follow the church and maybe I don't."

When you say "no room for debate" does that mean all who disagree with you are "evil." Are you sure the church teaches that.

Why does the Church bother with any issues besides abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, euthanasia. Pretty slim pickens. Incidentally all issues connected with sex from a Church with 80 percent homosexual clergy. Is raping a teen age boy not intrinsically evil? You say "no"? I say "yes."

What if I say the solution to economic justice is to allow employers to simply follow the market; so I advise abolishing all laws dealing with child labor? Well, that is an approach. And you say working 10 year olds 18 hours in a factory is not intrinsically evil? Good catholics can disagree. James, I am afraid you are really not following catholic doctrine.

So catholic social teaching is meaningless except on 4 issues. After all good catholics can disagree on all the others, is that your position?

BTW do you believe Catholic judges should follow our constitution when making decisions or wait for hierarchy instructions?

Glad you responded. I do favor allowing first trimester abortions and have covered this extensively on my blog. Good luck, James. Jack

James said...


I am in no way saying that Catholic Social Justice Teaching can be ignored. You are again, constructing a straw-man.

Catholic Social Teaching is a guide. From it we can build what is the best position to deal with care for the poor, care for the environment, the condition of workers, etc, assuming it is in conformity with the Social Teachings of the Church.

The Social Teachings of the Church do not articulate what "proper" tax policy should be. Rather we take what the PRINCIPLES are, to construct a policy in conformity with those principles.

Thus there is a difference between those principles and an Intrinsic Evil. Certainly violations of those principles are evil, and as to which is worse, that is a discussion I will leave to the Church's Moral Theologians. Thus the exploitation of workers is evil. Not perhaps as evil as Dr. Tiller and his mass murder, but evil nonetheless. I myself won't determine which is more evil.

You even go so far as to say that I approve of the rape of young boys by priests (or your implication at least). That is disgusting. What those priests did is EVIL. There is no other way of describing what it is. Rape is Evil. Abortion is Evil.

It boils down to the Teaching Authority of the Church and Natural Law. Those form the guiding principles and truths in our lives.

You accuse me of being a Cafeteria Catholic, which isn't true. Rather it is an attempt to obfuscate the facts and clear yourself of your own Cafeterism.

By position is not that Abortion, Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Euthanasia and Gay Marriage are the only issues. They are ones where the Church has definitive statements, but certainly not the only issues. But the Church's Social Justice teaching is primarily principles, within which, we articulate our positions, but only within them.

To answer your aside: A Catholic Judge is to use the legal framework of this Country (Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and legal precedent), but also is informed by Natural Law. Justice Roberts should not take his orders from the Pope, but from the Constitution and Natural Law. Had justices done that, Roe v. Wade would not be the Law of the Land (numerous liberal legal scholars have noted the dubious legal ground in that decision).

Jack said...

James, I never cease to be amazed by catholic apologetics. The church has a position; then it is agreed to be absurd by most people, including catholics. Then they massage it a little bit, throw in a papal statement or two, misinterpret a fact or two, set new categories etc until the faithful are so confused, most just ignore it.

Just a couple of examples: Birth control is alright just so it isn't "artificial"You can't use a condom, but you can mark a calendar, take your rectal temperature, attend a NFP class. cross your fingers---all natural, not artificial you say.Give me a break. And of course you can have an abortion if it is not direct. Catholics overwhelmingly reject this wierd teaching as all evidence shows. You can skip the "moral conduct is set by God, not by the majority." Is an old celibate priest in Rome the sole spokesman for God? Does he alone determine what is right and wrong.The natural law? Whose natural law. Specific cite please.

A church in which all the leaders have sworn to never have a direct relationship to children, tells the parents of a 12 year old rape victim that the pregnancy must be carried to term and ruin the girl's life. Amazing!!

And now the lastest: There is "evil" and "intrinsic evil." So now my good friend James let me list list 10 things and you tell me if they are just evil or intrinsic evil. What is the difference?
One, a priest rapes a 17 year old boy.
Two, an American company has a plant in Africa and employs 10 year olds for 18 hours a day.
Three, a 17 year old boy imagines he seduces his girlfriend.
Four, a pope approves the use of torture.
Five, a 16 year old boy masturbates.
Six, a company dumps toxic waste into a river used for recreational purposes.
Seven, a person votes for Obama against McCain.
Eight, a neighborhood instructs real estate agents not to show vacant home to African-Americans.
Nine,A Catholic girl has 3 children without being married, does not have abortion and is praised by priest for making adoptable children available.
Nine,a catholic political figure (Weigel)joins hands with groups that believe the Pope is the anti-christ to advance Republican party.
Ten, a father rescues his son from a burning laboratory instead of recuing 50 petre dishes with fertilized eggs containing as a catholic must believe that the 50 dishes contain 50 human persons.

We can argue with any court decision, but are lower court judges bound by Roe v. Wade or should they not follow this ruling but instead ask their bishop what to rule?

Just a few. Anxious to see your comment. Jack

James said...


From a quick perusal of your own blog and your own statements, you are not Catholic. You ignore or decry Church Moral Teaching. Who knows how many liturgical, sacramental, or ecclesiastical teachings you also ignore or decry. You claim to be Catholic, but seem to take great delight in placing your own judgment as greater than the Church's own.

In truth I pity you. You have chosen to willfully blind yourself to the Splendor of Truth. It is quite sad, but, i nonetheless hope for God's Grace, His power, His mercy, His love, to infuse your soul, to fill you up, and to point you once again to His Church.

The Church is an incredible blessing and Her teachings and powerful tool, may you one day return to that fullness and embrace it for the positive, enriching, fulfilling nature it provides one's life.

God Bless you Jack.

Jack said...

James, could you please answer my questions? It would just take a few minures. Your blatant rejection of the message of the Church as it concerns our caring for other people is shocking. I may partially disagree with the Church on a couple of issues. You flaut most major teachings of our Church. I pray that you accept at least the majority of church teachings.

Loyal catholics do not hide from questions about the faith. Your I pick four Church teachings position and ignore most others is not in the catholic tradition and is not worthy of our church. I will repost the questions on my blog and invite you and other"Catholics" to respond. Best wishes. Jack

James said...


Have you ever heard of a Straw-Man?

That is the entire basis of your arguments.

You want to get into a debate about whether something is Evil or really Evil. All to hide your own support for Evil.

You then go so far as to assume that I support exploitation of the poor, rape, etc. That is beyond the pale and disgusting. It merely highlights how far you will go to justify your own lack of understanding of the Church.

1. Priest Rapes a Boy -- EVIL
2. American Child Labor in Africa -- EVIL
3. 17yr seduces his girlfiend -- probably EVIL (need more on your story, is it rape?, is it in the context of marriage?)
4. Pope approves use of Torture (example would be nice, what is the torture, is it torture?) -- but assuming it is causing intense pain for the sake of it -- EVIL
5. 16yr old boy masturbates (depending on the priest) -- Gravely Disordered (which I guess means Mortal Sin)
6. Company dumping toxic chemicals -- EVIL
7. Voting for Obama over McCain (Depends why they did it)
8. Clearly Racism, which is EVIL
9. The Girl, while engaging in sinful activity (sex outside of marriage) is making the right choice by having the child. I know you support the murder of those children, but that would be Evil.
10. You really have Republicans, lol. How about the people Obama associates with? Want that answered. I would say misguided, but not evil. And that would go for Fr. Pfleger as well, misguided not evil.

As you can see, I am a heck of a lot more consistent than you give me credit for and than you are. It is easy if you build a straw-man of an enemy that believes only in the "Big Four" but dissents on everything else. The problem, that's not me and that's not the majority of Orthodox Catholics.

I do pity you, because you aren't Catholic. You have left the bosom of the Church. May you one day return.

Jack said...

James, thanks for your comment. My questions were straight forward, not straw men. You answered. BTW,and I do not hold this against you, I think you misread number 3.Also I might comment that your equating "A" and "B" above was startling!

But you still have not answered as to the difference between "evil" and "intrinsically evil." I don't get what you are saying. Is intrinsically evil more evil than just evil? Help me on this one?

Also could you respond on my "judges" question?

To answer that all abortions are murder is just a statement. The statement alone has no probitive value.

I see you're a Chaney fan on torture. Okay "waterboarding", for example.

Two medieval popes expressly approved torture. If you had lived then would you have supported torture, as the papal bulls said and called these "The Splendor of Truth"?

It's interesting that each of us thinks the other is not 'really' catholic.

I will continue to pray that you accept most catholic teachings and not just pick 4 or 5 teachings as the sum of our faith. Jack

James said...


And I will pray that you have a respect for the Institution of the Church, the Pope (both of which are not found on your site), for the Church's rich teachings in regards to Sexuality (might I recommend Christopher West's Theology of the Body Explained, much easier reading than John Paul II's Love and Responsibility), The Teaching Authority of the Magisterium, etc. Since you are quite proud of your dissent.

As for me, you continue to ignore what I say, so the conversation is quite pointless. Anyone who actually read my responses would know that I don't pick and choose.

Intrinsic Evil:

I know it isn't much, I know its Thomist, but hopefully this helps you understand it.

God Bless

Jack said...

Gads, James. Like Cardinal Newman, I am not that much on Aquinas. Following (or making)Church teaching on sex he wrote that masturbation is as bad as rape. See what happens if you start with wrong premise. Church starts with sex is demeaning i,e. lasser than celibacy. Fancy words by JP2 can't cover this obvious truth.

Thanks for your time. I applaud you for trying; not just running.

Oh, a comment on example ten if you would. Best wishes. Jack

Dad29 said...

Jack, you will live a much happier life if you get off the emotion-pills and use some reason-pills instead.

It may be helpful for you to review the 10 Commandments and then to learn the meaning of the phrase "hierarchy of values."

Jack said...

dad29, Well I'm very happy, but thanks anyway. You might take a stab at my questions to James. Jack

Clarence said...

At my parish adults over 18 are required to present voter registration cards at the altar proving they are bona fide Republicans before taking holy communion. Anyone lacking the proper ID is presumed to be Intrinsically Evil and turned away. That is the Prudential Judgment of our pastor whose sermons are 100% Abortion and Gay Marriage. He believes "Social Justice" is nothing but liberal code for Pro-Abortion. For some unknown reason our parish membership has dwindled from 1500 to a dozen people but that's fine. The others were just a bunch of liberal weenie social justice proaborts. We are the Faithful Republican Catholics and WE WILL SURVIVE!!!

Jack said...

Clarence, Good for your church. As catholics we use to mess aroung with lesser things in the hierarchy of values like feeding the starving. But your church is on the right track: Catholicism is and only is the anti-abortion movement--the only movement in America that is "intrinsically good." Jack

James said...

Clarence and Jack, at one with the Straw-man line of argument.