Friday, June 25, 2004

Bishop Ronald Gainer - Diocese of Lexington, KY

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Lexington Bishop Ronald Gainer wants politicians who support abortion rights to voluntarily refrain from taking Communion in his diocese. But two politicians whose views on abortion are contrary to church teaching say they plan to continue taking the sacrament.

Gainer is the only Kentucky bishop so far to publicly question whether Catholic politicians who back abortion rights should receive Communion.

His admonition didn't change Lexington Mayor Teresa Isaac's mind.

"I plan to continue taking Communion and would love to receive it from a woman priest some day soon," she said in a written statement.

State Sen. Ernesto Scorsone, D-Lexington, also said the bishop's statement wouldn't keep him from taking the Eucharist. Scorsone said anti-abortion advocates don't have a monopoly on the faith.

"I certainly believe there are a lot of good American Catholics who believe in choice," he said. "I certainly believe in a woman's right to choose."

Bishops in a handful of U.S. dioceses recently asked Catholic leaders who support abortion rights to abstain from taking the sacraments. Gainer also wants them to voluntarily refrain from taking communion, said Lexington diocesan spokesman Tom Shaughnessy.

"A professing Catholic who has taken public stands against what the church teaches should disqualify himself or herself from receiving the Eucharist because they cannot receive in good faith," Shaughnessy told the Lexington Herald-Leader, quoting the bishop.

"Were there to be such a person under his pastoral care, (Gainer) would ask to meet them privately as a pastor and attempt to challenge them to change their public position before he would take any public action."

Source: "Bishop urges abortion-rights politicians to not take Communion". Associated Press, June 24, 2004.