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Friday, May 28, 2004

The death penalty, abortion, and Catholicism

As has been well-noted by many, many people, certain politcally-minded Catholic clergy are trying to get communion denied to Democratic Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, specifically John Kerry. Of course, they generalize it to make it seem like a principled thing, but of course, no pro-choice Republican has been singled out as of yet.
And of course, no Catholic clergy has come forward to ask that communion be denied to any politician who supports the death penalty, which the Catholic Church also strongly opposes. Many, many people have pointed out the hypocrisy of this.
Well, I've thought about it and I realized that it's even more important for a good Catholic to be against the death penalty than legal abortion. I was listening to Air America and they were interviewing Steve Earle to ask him about his work against the death penalty. And he said that since he lives in a democracy, every executed prisoner was blood on all our hands. And he doesn't want to be part of killing anyone, because he wants to go to heaven. Fair enough.
And something for Catholics to consider. We are the State, and so when they execute somebody, we all execute somebody. However, abortion isn't performed on our collective behalf. It is tolerated, which is a much different thing. When a woman gets an abortion, it's not on our collective behalf.
It seems to me that if Catholic clergy are truly interested in the souls of their flock, then they need to do what they can to keep them from being part of collective killing long before they start thinking about looking after the lives of their non-flock members who are getting abortions. And that applies to the war as well, which is also violence on the behalf of us all.

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