So America’s Roman Catholic bishops voted to move ahead with drafting new guidance that is aimed solely at denying President Biden communion, despite warnings from the Pope’s top doctrinal official.
As a former Catholic, it’s this type of hypocrisy that drove me from the church. Is abortion truly the most pressing problem facing our world today? I don’t see those same bishops talking about climate change, social justice, election theft by right-wing legislators, quality public schools, health care access and income inequality.
Are those bishops prepared to ask every worshiper who approaches the communion chalice “what’s your stance on abortion and access to contraceptives?” I would guess that up to half of American Catholics today support access to contraceptives and support a woman’s right to choose, as evidenced by our declining birth rate in this country and declining seats in pews.
Are Catholic bishops willing to turn away those people too, and then lose the donations that those congregants bring?
I doubt it, because those same bishops need the weekly donations from worshipers to pay for the sex abuse cases they are still litigating and paying for at Catholic diocese across the country.
The right to life encompasses so much more than what Catholic bishops would have us believe. And that’s a right to live in a safe, clean world with access to affordable housing, jobs that pay a living wage, health care, freedom from gun violence, a quality public education, and social justice. I don’t see those bishops denying right-wing Republicans communion when they attempt to undermine Democracy, take away the Affordable Care Act, deny the reality of climate change, deny rights to LGBTQ individuals, promote a gun-toting culture and so many more socially destructive policies.
Bishops certainly play a role in advancing moral principles but should not single out individuals nor bring politics into religion. How refreshing it would be if they could do what Jesus did: offer love and acceptance not judgement and scorn.
Teri Merrill is a resident of Winchester
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