Tuesday 26 September 2017

Michael Kelly: Communion for pro-choice politicians still a thorny issue

Try as they might, Irish bishops may not be able to keep politics away from the altar rails

Michael Kelly

THE issue of Holy Communion for Catholic politicians who support abortion is a contentious one, even for some within the church.

When Archbishop Eamon Martin, leader-in-waiting of the church in Ireland, mentioned the issue of excommunication during the recent abortion debate in the Dail there was consternation among politicians and frowns from some senior churchmen.

The other Archbishop Martin – Diarmuid Martin in Dublin – refused to back his northern counterpart on the issue. The Dublin Martin saw the intervention of the Armagh Martin as a tactical error: predictably, talk of excommunication led many politicians to harden their attitude, insisting they would not be dictated to by the church.

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