According to the word (or is that Word?) from the Vatican, bishops worldwide are free to humiliate their politician communicants — perhaps condemning their souls while they are at it — for voting the wrong way. Do it if you want, say the bishops from the Roman Catholic synod last week.
The American issue, as it is known by the mitered ones, has a clear resolution. If one of your guys or gals votes in the legislature against your understanding of church doctrine, you can deny communion. There was no comment about whether the bishops should take their ball and go home.
To phrase it as the synod vote did, offending politicians are those who show "no coherence when they support laws that run counter to the human good, to justice and to natural law."
As bizarre and regressive as that might seem, at least one pro-gay Catholic activist calls it "a step in the right direction" for the church. This takes the matter from being a Papal directive to letting reasonable bishops think for themselves, according to Francis DeBernardo, executive director, New Ways Ministry. On the other hand, he added, "I do think the danger of this is it becomes a political decision for the bishops and not a theological decision.
Debbie Weill, executive director, Dignity USA, was not quite a generous. She noted, "The church is really using the sacrament in a way that (it) was never intended to be used. The sacrament is an expression of God's love and a person's faith."