Tuesday September 25, 2012

Excommunication Should Be the Church's Next Option

Conservatives are compassionate and serve the community through individual acts of charity and donations to foundations and organizations that have the experience and spiritual guidance to view their recipients as children of God deserving of mercy. Government checks reduce these same individuals to objects fueling bureaucratic power.

By Alicia Colon

Although I may not be the best Catholic I can be, at least I know my religion. It drives me crazy when politicians like Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, VP Joe Biden and Gov. Andrew Cuomo who consider themselves Roman Catholics express such ignorance of its dogma. I blame their pastors for continuing to serve them in spite of their public heresy promoting issues that are against Church doctrine. But it is also very unnerving to hear President Obama twist Christian ideology to suit his campaign rhetoric.

In explaining at a Washington D.C. prayer breakfast why he believes the rich need to pay more he said, "But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus' teaching that, 'for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.'" Like many other Democrats, Obama believes that Jesus' admonition to take care of the poor and to do other corporal works of mercy means that the government should mandate them. To earn grace every Christian needs to voluntarily perform acts of mercy. Redistribution by the government is theft and the continuing policy promoting class envy is in direct abuse of the tenth commandment-Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.

Compassion for the poor and downtrodden has always been the liberal mantra requiring government intervention as the solution to all their problems. Cloaking this intervention with religious guilt messages is testimony to how little these advocates know about Christianity.

Conservatives are compassionate and serve the community through individual acts of charity and donations to foundations and organizations that have the experience and spiritual guidance to view their recipients as children of God deserving of mercy. Government checks reduce these same individuals to objects fueling bureaucratic power.

Consider this: why is there still so much poverty in the third world despite the billions our government sends in foreign aid? That's because the money never reaches the poor but instead goes to keep corrupt governments in power. The religious missions have done more to rescue the foreign poor and that's why I send my donations directly to them through my church.

I remember reading a novel by the author Taylor Caldwell who warned that charity that takes away a person's willingness to work is evil. That may not be her exact wording but that was the message I retained and I have witnessed the truth of her words for decades. I have always lived in neighborhoods that bordered on low to middle class households. When we first bought our home on Staten Island 32 years ago it was bargain priced because the neighborhood had a methadone clinic, OTB and bars in close proximity to a crime-ridden housing project. Gentrification was slow and still not there but having grown up in barrio of East Harlem, I've long witnessed the results of this faux governmental compassion.

Years ago I saw a man in his 30's coming out of the methadone clinic who was noticeable because of a stomach bulge that made him look pregnant. Decades later, I saw him again coming out of the clinic only this time he was on crutches with stringy grey hair with the much larger stomach bulge. Thus for 30 years this man has been on disability as a drug addict and I can't help but wonder if he would have been better served if he had been treated with real compassion rather than as a hopeless statistical number.

Churchgoing Christians don't depend on the government to perform their corporal works of mercy. When we see need we dig into their own pockets to help because Christ did not tell us to let Caesar do it for us. Palming charity off on the taxpayers does not absolve the Christians of their duty to do good works. It may make liberal politicians look as if they care more than conservatives but their real motive is only to create dependency not to provide genuine assistance.

It is disgraceful that religion is being used to deceive the populace by self-serving politicians who distort church teaching to excuse their congressional voting records. Democrats like Pelosi, Kerry and the late Ted Kennedy could only continue this deceit with the help of their naïve or equally deceptive pastors too cowardly to challenge their powerful parishioners. What ever happened to excommunicating those who blaspheme and cause scandal?

In Luke 17:1-2, Jesus tells his disciples: "Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!" Rationalizing that abortion and same sex marriage is permissible is directly against church teaching and because these Democrats have signed these objections into law makes them guilty of spreading scandal and heresy. One is not supposed to receive Holy Communion unless one is in the state of grace and without the stain of mortal sin. Yet only a few priests have dared to deny the sacraments to these so-called Catholic politicians.

Excommunication is different in the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church in that it is not a permanent separation but is a censure and considered a medicinal penalty intended to invite the person to change behavior, repent and return to full communion. The church is a spiritual community and has the right to exact rules and edicts that belong to it so that it can be well administered and survive. Members who, by their obstinate disobedience, reject the means to this common cause deserve to be removed from such a society.

Since the 1960s there has been a growth of what are call "Cafeteria Catholics" who pick and choose what doctrines they want to adhere to and this lax adherence was tolerated by a church which had lost a considerable number of followers after Vatican II.

These are perilous times with powerful entities engaged in a war against religion and the Church must use its full authority to thwart the attacks. Weeding out the CINOs - Catholics in name only - is one step. Censuring the religious in the communities and universities is another. There are many priests and nuns in academia that are pro-choice and also promote same sex marriage. They need to find a more suitable church for their beliefs and there are many other liberal Christian communities that would welcome these dissenters.

Excommunication may seem harsh but this isn't exactly the sixteenth century. No one will be put in towers or have their wealth taken away. These pseudo Catholics don't respect church teaching in their public lives anyway so excommunication will simply deprive them of the sacraments and church rituals they only use now as photo ops.

This is not the time to worry about public relations or seeking approval from the high and mighty. The Church has a much higher authority it needs to answer to.

Alicia Colon resides in New York City and can be reached at and at

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