Showdown at the Communion Rail

When bishops threaten to deny the sacrament, they're hurting the church

It has--amazingly--been 44 years since a Catholic ran for the presidency of the U.S. under a major-party banner. And how things have changed. In 1960 John F. Kennedy had to convince Americans that he was not too Catholic to be President. In 2004 John F. Kerry has to convince the Catholic bishops that he is not too American.

By "too American," I mean in the sense that religious faith is a personal matter, that it can be sealed off from public life, that it doesn't dictate political views on any one issue or another. But on the issue of abortion, that...

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