The HHS mandate is now a 'non-negotiable'

Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs spoke with Daniel Cole of his local paper and added to the list of positions that will get your barred from communion, at least in his diocese. He started out by reiterating that support for abortion rights and same-sex marriage are automatic disqualifiers for Catholic pols, maybe even voters:

Bishop Sheridan: Its clear to me that the Code of Canon Law, Canon 915, says that a Catholic politician who publicly espouses positions that are contrary, not just to any teachings of the Church, but to serious moral teachings, should not receive Holy Communion until they recant those positions publicly. Voters needs a little bit more nuance, because there the question is, are we voting for those politicians precisely because of their positions on those non-negotiable issues? Here is what I would say: It would be very difficult for me to understand how, if there are two candidates quite far apart in their positions on these matters, I could vote for the one who consistently opposes these Church teachings, simply because he might be in favor of a few good things.DC: Would support for the contraceptives mandate also disqualify Catholic politicians from receiving Communion? Is that a new non-negotiable?Sheridan: I think we do need to add to that list (of non-negotiables) religious liberty. Absolutely, yes. I think a Catholic politician who publicly and consistently defends the mandate, which causes people to violate their conscience yes, I think thats right up there with the rest of them.DC: If Vice President Joe Biden, who is Catholic, were to swing through Colorado Springs on a campaign tour and attend your Mass, would you deny him Communion?Sheridan: He should know, and I would do everything I could do to make sure that he knows, he ought not to be receiving Communion.

Everything else -- care of the poor, immigration, the death penalty, etc -- is a matter of prudential judgment, he says.

David Gibson is the director of Fordham’s Center on Religion & Culture.

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