Religion: To Hell with Choice

A Cardinal turns excommunication into a political weapon

Stumping for the White House, John F. Kennedy promised voters he would leave office if his Roman Catholicism ever interfered with his political duties. Last week New York's John Cardinal O'Connor proclaimed that Kennedy was wrong: Catholics should fight, not quit. In a strongly worded twelve-page statement published in the archdiocesan weekly, the Cardinal declared that Catholic officeholders had an obligation to support their church's moral teachings -- especially on abortion. Failure to do so, he said, merited excommunication.

"Where Catholics are perceived not only as treating Church teaching on ^ abortion with contempt," wrote O'Connor, "but helping to multiply abortions...

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