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Commentary: Politics, Faith and Catholic Communion

This year has been marked by a series of confrontations around the Eucharist in Catholic churches. In January, the archbishop of St. Louis announced he would deny communion to John Kerry, because of Kerry's support of abortion rights. Earlier this month, a bishop in Colorado said that any Catholic politician who supports abortion rights, stem cell research, euthanasia or same-sex marriage is not eligible to receive communion. And in several U.S. cities this coming Sunday, a group of gay Roman Catholics are planning to stage a protest during Mass. The protesters intend to wear rainbow sashes, opening declaring their sexual orientation. In Chicago, Cardinal Francis George has told priests to deny communion to anyone wearing one of the sashes. Commentator James Martin, a Jesuit priest, says that even the threat of denying communion goes against the meaning of the ritual.

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