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Published in Newsday, June 3, 2004

Hope for church

To the Editor:

The electoral season is upon us again, and in no place do we see more backroom politicking than in the diocesan chanceries around the country ["Bishops' order debated," News, May 25].

The article accurately describes the discomfort many feel when bishops use Communion as a political weapon against pro-choice Catholic politicians. Recent studies show that most American bishops share this discomfort. Research from Catholics for a Free Choice reveals that when it comes to dealing with Catholic politicians who do not vote as the church hierarchy wishes, bishops are forging their own path rather than pandering to the wishes of conservative Catholic organizations.

The vast majority of bishops and dioceses have either been silent on the issue or have indicated that they would not deny Communion to policy makers who vote pro-choice. It would seem that the most interesting aspect of the current debate is the tacit admission by many bishops that to be pro-choice on the legality of abortion is neither a grave sin nor a cause for denying Communion. Perhaps there is some hope for the church after all.

Frances Kissling

Washington, D.C.

Newsday Editor's note: The writer is president of Catholics for a Free Choice.

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