CALGARY, May 20, 2004 ( – The first Canadian Catholic Bishop known to publicly weigh in on the raging debate over denying pro-abortion Catholic politicians Holy Communion is Calgary Bishop Fred Henry.  In a recently published column, Bishop Henry says he is “anxiously awaiting” the outcome of the US Bishop’s Conference task force on the subject.  He adds, “In the meantime, I believe the question, ‘If a dissident Catholic leader obstinately persists in opposing fundamental Church teaching, should he or she be turned away if they present themselves for Communion,’ has to be answered, ‘Yes.’”  Commenting specifically on the controversy around Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry, Bishop Henry says, “By sharing in Communion, Catholics testify that they are in fundamental union of heart and mind. On fundamental life issues, Kerry is clearly offside.  Although Kerry may garner a few votes by exploiting anti-bishop and anti-Catholic sentiments, by reason of his defiant dissent from fundamental Catholic teaching, he should voluntarily abstain from Communion.”  Bishop Henry concedes that “John Kerry is not the only Catholic politician in North America who is offside” adding “but he is the only one running for the presidency of the United States, and his situation is something of a test case.”  Of note to Canadians, Bishop Henry says that the same “dilemma and principles would apply” to Canadian Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin, his predecessor Prime Minister Jean Chretien and the one-time Canadian Conservative Prime Minister and former Leader of the Progressive Conservatives Joe Clark – all Catholics who with pro-abortion voting records.  See Bishop Henry’s full column:


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