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The International Writers Magazine

Reverend Father Antonio Hernández, O.M.D., A.B.F.
Founder of the Independent Order of American Buddhist Fathers

Ex Oficio Excomunico: Catholics Stick in Their Big Noses

...what the Catholic Church is doing is tantamount to a Constitutional crime.

Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark, New Jersey, is only one among many in the Catholic Church who has overstepped his bounds. Myers, formerly the none-too-popular bishop of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, made statements recently, that Catholic politicians should essentially confess themselves to the public if they support anti-Catholic ideas. Myers went a step further and forbade any such politician from receiving communion, thus branding any such politician a heretic.

For the layperson, that kind of declaration is equal to excommunication. No religion has the authority or the freedom to bully voters or politicians; Myers believes he's above all that. The Church has now publicized a painful rider to Myers' Medieval view: no Catholic may receive communion if that Catholic supports an anti-Catholic politician. Two excomunicados with one stone. The Church violates its own canon law in doing these things, treating as public the very things that are strictly between priest and laity. Talk about buying and selling votes: I thought simony and usury were relics of the past....

In the midst of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's damage control visit to Iraq, and a highly touted visit by Bush to see the pope, the Republican party has stooped lower, ever lower - they have clearly bought out the Catholic vote. Or at least they're trying. At least it's heartening to see how desperate they have become.
Catholic politicians are outraged at the Church's arrogant Republican-like hypocrisy. Many Catholic politicians have said they will not receive communion, but will continue going to mass. Some have said they simply won't attend church at all. Is this a way for America to run campaigns? Sadly, yes. But what the Catholic Church is doing is tantamount to a Constitutional crime.

America is the only land in which we have true freedom: we are free to be religious, and simultaneously we are free from the religions of others. If the Catholic Church thinks it can usurp a bully pulpit, it will have another think coming. This kind of "religious" activity is what fosters the kind of "event" that occurred on American soil on that horrific 11 September.

All of us must ask: is this kind of religious blackmail the sort of thing voters should have on their minds? Especially in light of one of the most important presidential races in history? America is not a theocracy. It is, however, an anything-goes mudslinging festival. The presumptive John Kerry happens to be a Catholic with some anti-Catholic views, and he's been lambasted for it. The incumbent, as far from Catholic as one can get, is about to visit the pope. Blessings and assurances for THE tyrant of the 21st century? You can bank on it.
And here I thought the Inquisition was over. How naïve of me.

© Reverend Father Antonio Hernández, O.M.D., A.B.F.
June 2004

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