View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Oh, you naughty Canadians

From the Ottowa Citizen...

Ontario MP denied communion
Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Charlie Angus and Celina Symmonds had their lives turned upside down when they were told by their parish priests that they could no longer take communion because their stands on social issues conflicted with church teachings.

Angus, a New Democrat MP who represents a northern Ontario riding, ran afoul of the Roman Catholic church over his support for the federal government's controversial same-sex marriage bill.

"It's quite disturbing,'' said Angus, pointing to what he called "the rising militancy of language within the church. I went to Ottawa feeling that I would be speaking as someone rooted in a faith tradition and rooted in a justice tradition. (But didn’t he disconnect himself from that faith tradition by his vote?)

"Then your involvement in the sacraments becomes a political pressure point. It was unacceptable.'' (Sort of like his vote?)

Prime Minister Paul Martin, also a practising Catholic, faced similar flak from a priest in his Montreal riding over the bill. Father Francis Geremia said Martin no longer deserved the sacrament of communion and "I pray that he will lose his riding'' in the next election.
(Let’s see, risk losing your riding or risk losing your place in heaven. Tough choice - for a politician.)

Symmonds, who once managed the now closed Planned Parenthood office (!!!!) in Medicine Hat, Alta., had to find another place to be married about a month before her wedding in September 2002 after her priest discovered from a newspaper article that she was pro-choice on abortion.

"I was shocked,'' says Symmonds. "When you grow up Catholic you grow up awaiting the day where you can walk into that great big cathedral with your husband. It's something you dream of as a little girl. (Hey, at least she survived to become a little girl. Planned Parenthood prevents lots of others from getting that opportunity)

"And it got crushed within seconds.'' (Sort of like the babies killed by Planned Parenthood?)

Symmonds remembers well the day when the priest's assistant phoned, and she hasn't attended church since the incident. "It hurts that you're told that you're not welcome to be a part of something that was very precious in your life,'' she said, her voice trembling… (And life is not precious?)


Okay, let me get this straight. Two of them are upset because they face consequences for supporting a measure that they knew violated Church teachings.

And Symmonds is upset because she couldn’t have her nice wedding after working for Planned Parenthood, one of the leading advocates of abortion on demand. (And by the way, she may have already been excommunicated because as explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2272, which covers people who have “formal cooperation in an abortion.”)

I have no sympathy for Symmonds. There is no way of arguing around supporting abortion, especially to the extreme of working for Planned Parenthood. I think that most people who work for Planned Parenthood in public/counseling/management positions are automatically excommunicated (latae sententiae) even without an official or formal pronouncement.

The gay marriage boys I have more sympathy for. While I oppose gay marriage, I think the moral culpability is far less for what they did. In Angus’ case (if you read the full story and other stories about what happened), it looks as if he did think about the decision and did try to talk with Church officials about what he was doing.

Were I a priest, I would not deny these two Communion. But I would have long talks with them. Very long talks.

(For the full story go to:


Anonymous anon said...

Funny, I always thought reprsentatives were there to represent their constituents not their Churches. Maybe this should be a lesson to people who get into public office and really want to listen to their constituents: better not be Catholic.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Steve Bogner said...

I've never understood how a politician can say they are privately against abortion (for example) based on their religious/moral convictions, and then support it via legislation. Separating their personal morality from their legislative votes gives me the impression they are being hypocritical, two-faced, morally lax.

When a politican is running for office, they publicize their stand on various issues - for this, for that, against the other thing. Voters ought to know who they are electing, and realize the candidate will represent them in government. That means trusting the candidate's judgement. If politicians were only there to represent the majority of their district's desires, then we wouldn't need them. We could all just vote on the issues ourselves.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I don't know much about Canadian govn't, Steve, but in the US we have a representative form of government. The elected officials are supposed to listen to the constituents, that's their job.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Actually, Anon, there is divided opinion about that.
Some political scientists say politicians are supposed to represent their constituents' views, even when those views disagree with their own.
Others contend that they are elected to make judgments based on information they have access to that their constituents might not have. In other words, they are elected to act on their best judgment - and that best judgment may conflict with what their constituents think.
My own view tends to the latter. I think we elect officials to study the issues in ways we can't and to vote as they think best.
I also believe all too often politicians use the "I'm representing what my voters think" excuse as a cop out. Their real concern is reelection, not what their consciences tell them they should do.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Anonymous - yes, listen to their constituents. But that should be just one of the factors - and not the only one - behind their votes. Think back to the days of segregation in the South, when most voters wanted to deny Blacks civil rights. Are you saying that's how politicians should have voted, even if they knew segregation was wrong?

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you recall. Lee. it wasn't the politicians who ended segregation, it was the people and the courts. The Supreme Court agreed with the lawyers that 'seperate' was not 'equal'.

When enough people believe in a cause and make their voices heard things change. You, of all people, should know this. It does scare me tho' when we start agitating to take people' rights away. I find little compassion in conservative views.

Frankly, I find this balckmail (let's call it what it is) that the Church is using to try to control Cathloic politicians to be reprehensible. Rationalize it as you will.

3:03 PM  

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