Wednesday, August 25, 2004
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life's new poll (on which the post below is also based) has some startling statistics on the public's attitudes toward the bishops' threats to deny communion to public officials:
Fully seven-in-ten Catholics (72%) say it is improper for Catholic Church leaders to deny communion to politicians who defy church teachings on abortion and related issues.
By comparison, only 47% of white evangelical Protestants believe the denial of communion would be improper. Certainly this disparity may stem in part from white evangelicals' more consistent anti-abortion convictions, or perhaps (less likely) from a failure to appreciate the centrality of communion to the Catholic faith. Still, it is striking that the Christians devoted to the supremacy of individual conscience in matters of faith find the exercise of institutional authority more palatable than do the Christians whose faith tradition is rooted in institutional authority.