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Vatican hesitant on US Communion debate

Vatican officials do not have easy answers to the questions raised by the US debate on communion for politicians says respected Vatican reporter, John Thavis of CNS.

In one of its main reports this week, Catholic News Service is carrying a story from respected Vatican reporter, John Thavis, that the Vatican might not have any easy answers to the questions raised by the debate in the US on denying individuals communion.

Thavis writes: "Despite the divergent policies adopted by several U.S. bishops, the Vatican has been slow to intervene, and it may choose not to do so publicly. One reason is that the Vatican does not want to be seen as telling the U.S. bishops what to do. Another is that Vatican officials do not have easy answers to the questions raised by the debate."

"Many at the Vatican would agree that a Catholic politician who supports legal abortion could be denied Communion under church law. But on the question of whether this should be done, Vatican opinion is far from uniform."

The 950 word article by Thavis is significant because CNS (Catholic News Service – an agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops) is picked up by many diocesan publications around the world and Thavis is providing well-sourced commentary on the differing Vatican perspectives in this heated debate that has broken out between the liberal and conservative lay and ecclesial factions in the American church. His full article can be read at the link below.

CNS – No easy answers: U.S. debate over Communion reverberates at Vatican

Communion Issue Creates Split Among U.S. Bishops (New York Times 6/6/04)
Denial of Eucharist a 'slippery slope,' cardinal tells journalists (Catholic News Service 1/6/04)
Church's Freedom in U.S. Threatened, Says Cardinal George (Zenit 1/6/04)
Cardinal George denies Communion to Rainbow Sash gay activists (Catholic News Service 1/6/04)
Cardinal Stands by Decision on Holy Communion (Zenit 1/6/04)
Questions the Holy See Is Asking About the Eucharist (Zenit 1/6/04)
Steady as she goes (Online Catholics 2/6/04)

15 Jun 2004