A Good Question

A reader writes:

Re your post below on politicizing the sacramentsI am a pastor in a mainline Protestant church.  Our of my work with abused and neglected children, I am rather reluctantly pro-choice.  One of the things I have always admired about the Roman Catholic Church is their pro-life position is morally consistent, in a way that the religious right (or my own, for that matter) is not.  They are against abortion, but also against the death penalty and against war except when it can be justified as a just war.  And, of course, the church is against the cruelty of torture.  So what I want to know is why there has never been any talk of denying sacraments to politicians who endorse the death penalty, or are pro-war and pro-torture?

The argument is that life-taking of the innocent is the deepest moral evil. But pro-choice politicians don't actually engage in abortion and if they do not vote for public funding, the culpability is indirect. But being a member of a government that tortures amounts to direct complicity in an absolute moral evil; similarly waging pre-emptive war that violates just war doctrine. I'd say that from a Catholic viewpoint, many men in the Bush administration would be far less fit for communion than John Kerry ever was. But that just reinforces to me the need for the Church to treat individual human beings pastorally, not politically. We cannot and should not judge from an abstract distance. Theocons, eager to use the church for their own social agenda, don't agree.