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Jason Holliston
Thursday, May 13, 2004  
Archbishop Vlazny Lays Down The Law

There's a sea change going on in the Catholic Church right now. Across the country, bishops are beginning to deny Holy Communion to members that publicly speak out on the wrong side of hot-button issues, such as abortion and gay marriage. The bishop of the Portland Archdiocese (my bishop) joined them today, saying, "Catholics who publicly disagree with serious church teaching on such matters as abortion or same-sex marriage should refrain from receiving Holy Communion." Wow. Again, wow.

Note that he's not talking about only politicians, but anyone who speaks out against the Church's teachings, like me or you. To my knowledge, this is a change to how the Church has approached such matters of late. John Kerry has butted heads with his bishop because of his stance on abortion, but I believe this to be fundamentally different. A United States Senator has the power to make laws directly affecting the practice of abortion or gay marriage. I, on the other hand, do not. In some small way, through talking with friends and family, or writing on this blog, I might be able to influence people's opinions, however. It does seem to me that my power to influence events, though, is exponentially smaller than someone like Kerry's.

I need to think about this before I come to some sort of opinion about it. I see what the Church is doing, and why, and I don't completely disagree with it. On the other hand, this now directly affects me. On this very blog (a very public forum), I have spoken out in favor of civil gay marriage, and stated my disagreement with the Church on the matter. I also respect their right to choose not to marry gays in the Church, but I'm not sure that makes a difference in the Bishop's eyes. I guess it's time to have a long sit-down with my priest.

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