Remember Lucy Killea?
Kerry, Candidate and Catholic,
Creates Uneasiness for Church
"Senator John Kerry's support for abortion rights and stem cell research has prompted discussions among Roman Catholic bishops and Vatican officials over how to respond to a presidential candidate who professes Catholicism while taking stands contrary to church teaching...
"The Rev. John McCloskey, the director of the Catholic Information Center in Washington and a member of the conservative organization Opus Dei, said, "Senator Kerry considers himself a Catholic, but on issues that are fundamental in terms of Catholic morality, he appears to be off the reservation."
"However, Father McCloskey said, American bishops are "in a quandary" over just what to do about Catholic politicians who fail to uphold church doctrine on issues like abortion. Punitive measures like denying Mr. Kerry communion could backfire, he said."
It might be interesting if Kerry were excommunicated--when our late Bishop Maher excommunicated Lucy Killea it did such wonders for her political career (in a heavily Catholic constituency) that other local politicians clammored for excommunication.
How many members of Opus Dei are there? Of course no one knows because it's Opus Dei. How many cultural Catholics and just plain ordinary mainline Catholics are there? When I take informal surveys of my classes, probably 65% Catholic, on abortion virtually all are pro-choice (and pro-capital punishment).
The Catholic Church de facto is the last viable "mainline Protestant" denomination in the US, regardless its official position, mandates from HQ and manifestos by Opus Dei. Extra ecclesia there are only a few fulminating fundamentalists, who've appropriated the name "Christian," even fewer liberal Protestants from the old majority denominations hanging on by the fingernails and the Unchurched, the third largest "denomination" in the US and the fastest growing.
In the US, serious political candidates still have to maintain a religious affiliation. But, as Howard Dean's abortive efforts to present himself as a devout Congregationalist (oxymoron?) suggest, outside the Catholic Church these days, there are only fundamentalists and fakers.
Kudos to the Catholic Church--as it is rather than as it's supposed to be!