Marquette Warrior: Denying Communion To Pro-Abortion Catholics: The Hypocrisy Factor

Monday, November 23, 2009

Denying Communion To Pro-Abortion Catholics: The Hypocrisy Factor

The current brouhaha over the fact that Bishop Thomas Tobin told “Catholic” pro-abortion politician U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy not to take communion could use some historical perspective.

Let’s roll the clock back almost 50 years, to Louisiana where Catholic politicians who were segregationists were disciplined by the church for their opposition to church teaching about racial integration.
Three Louisiana Catholics were well known for their diehard stances against integration. Leander Perez was once a state judge but is best known as the political boss of Plaquemines Parish, an extremely isolated rural area south of New Orleans at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Under Perez’s leadership, many of the black people of Plaquemines lived in a debased state of peonage little better than slavery. In 1960, Perez retired and devoted himself full time to the battle against integration. Perez was joined in the public fight by Una Gaillot, the leader of a militantly segregationist group called Save Our Nation, and Jackson Ricau, who was executive director of the New Orleans Citizens’ Council. All three publicly repudiated the theological arguments behind Rummel’s statements on racial equality and led efforts to encourage other lay Catholics to defy Rummel and to undermine the church.

On March 31, 1962, Rummel sent letters to Ricau, Gaillot, and Perez, warning them that their actions were in direct defiance of his authority over Catholic schools and that they were in danger of excommunication. All refused to curtail their activities. On April 16, 1962, the chancellor of the archdiocese, Msgr. Charles J. Plauche, announced that the three had been excommunicated. They were to be denied the sacraments and a Catholic burial, and were forbidden from attending Mass (although they would not be physically ejected if they did so). The Vatican later commended Rummel for his courage in the face of entrenched American racism.
There is more here.

So, did the Church violate the “separation of church and state” here?

Did in interfere with “freedom of conscience” here?

The average liberal Catholic will say “but that was segregation, and that was bad.”

But of course, for the Church abortion is bad. Indeed, segregated black people are at least alive, while abortion kills babies, and disproportionately black babies.

Quite simply, it depends on whose ox is gored. Liberal Catholics are quite happy to see the Church enforce, with excommunication if necessary, positions that they agree with.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

So your evidence of hypocrisy is what you THINK liberal Catholics WOULD have said IF they were asked about something that happened 50 year ago?

Here, then, is my evidence that you're a racist. I think that IF the segregation debate were happening now rather than 50 years ago, you would be on the side of letting states continue to segregate. See? I don't have to appeal to any ACTUAL words or beliefs of yours, but only to words I IMAGINE you would have. So which is it? Are you a racist or is this a bad form of argumentation?

12:30 PM  
Blogger James Pawlak said...

Why not play "according to the rules of the game"? In baseball loaded bats and spit-balls are not allowed. Catholics are not allowed to support abortion. If a baseball player, rules violations can get you suspended or expelled. In the Church, that rule violation will get you excommunicated, with or without public notice.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Nice straw man you've built there. It's obviously not an issue of separation of church and state, for it is not the government meting out the punishment.

And what of politicians who fight against Universal Health Care, given the Catholic church's stance is that health care is a human right? The only reason there is Catholic complaining about the current bill is because of the abortion payment issue. But without that particular part of the bill, the Catholic church would be, and largely has been in favor of such a government program.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Dad29 said...

it is not the government meting out the punishment.


Nick, you're off the rails here.

You say that it is "punishment" that a woman bears a child?

Conversely, you think that taxpayers should be forced to pay for abortions?

Maybe you forgot your /sarcasm tag?

11:22 AM  
Blogger Dave said...


Yes, we believe that healthcare is a universal right. However, one may debate how this is best implemented. One may hold the view that the best approach is letting Catholic institutions carry out their ministry to the poor without unnecessary interference from Caesar. The bishops are certainly not infallible in any endorsement of socialized healthcare.


How ridiculous can you get? The Church does not endorse any political party or platform. She was right on desegregation fifty years ago; she is right on abortion now. Both treat a human being who is made in the Divine Image as less than human because of their circumstances. And for a politician to claim that he is "personally opposed" to either makes him a coward, for he will not act upon what he knows to be right.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those who oppose abortion because human life is sacred also tend to oppose universal healthcare because human life is cheap.

11:05 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

God Of Bacon,

I think you are assuming that anybody who doesn't support Obama's healthcare plan doesn't want people to have health care.

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The current healthcare bill is a monstrosity that should be unceremoniously trashed. America needs a single payer system that relieves employers of their current burden and relieves employees of the fear of being wiped out by a major illness or injury.

My previous comment was meant to illustrate the fact that republicans value your life from conception to birth, then they completely ignore your needs until you can pay taxes or serve in the military. Hypocrisy is rarely subtle.

5:06 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Dad29: I'm not referring to bearing a child as punishment. Read more critically. I'm referring to the punishment meted out by the Church (excommunication) vs. the punishment not metted out by the government (you know, because of that pesky 1st Amendment thing).

10:55 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

republicans value your life from conception to birth, then they completely ignore your needs until you can pay taxes or serve in the military.

It's not hypocrisy to say that current health-care proposals in Congress are horrid.

Like liberals generally, you equate "valuing life" with your particular partisan agenda.

2:00 PM  

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