Now it's happening in Canada:
Ontario MP, wife denied communion
Charlie Angus and Celina Symmonds had their lives turned upside down when they were told by their parish priests that they could no longer take communion because their stands on social issues conflicted with church teachings.
Angus, a New Democrat MP who represents a northern Ontario riding, ran afoul of the Roman Catholic church over his support for the federal government's controversial same-sex marriage bill....
Prime Minister Paul Martin, also a practising Catholic, faced similar flak from a priest in his Montreal riding over the bill. Father Francis Geremia said Martin no longer deserved the sacrament of communion and "I pray that he will lose his riding" in the next election.
Symmonds, who once managed the now closed Planned Parenthood office in Medicine Hat, Alta., had to find another place to be married about a month before her wedding in September 2002 after her priest discovered from a newspaper article that she was pro-choice on abortion.
"I was shocked," says Symmonds. "When you grow up Catholic you grow up awaiting the day where you can walk into that great big cathedral with your husband. It's something you dream of as a little girl.
"And it got crushed within seconds." ...
I grew up Catholic. I don't miss it a bit, but I understand thinking Catholicism is part of your birthright. But everyone, politicians especially, has to understand that the church is just going to keep doing this -- more and more, it's going to limit itself to those who are 100% with the program (or at least the parts of the program the current leadership is emphasizing), and everyone else is unwelcome. (Although the article goes on to say that Celina Symmonds, though denied communion, wasn't excommunicated. Apparently the church still doesn't have the guts to do that to her, just as it hasn't had the guts to do so in the case of John Kerry or other pro-choice Catholic Democrats in the U.S.)
Eventually, rank-and-file Catholics who are pro-choice or pro-gay marriage or who favor embryonic stem-cell research -- as well as those who simply agree with legislators who think such issues are matters of individual conscience -- need to stand up in large numbers and challenge the church to deny them communion (or excommunicate them) en masse. The church would be within its rights to do so, obviously, and it might well deny sacraments to the dissenters or banish them altogether. And then, at least, we'd know that the Catholic church is an institution in which no discussion of these issues is welcome and only one strain of thought is acceptable -- that the Catholic church is, in other words, a full-fledged part of the Christian right, something I don't think is clear to a lot of people right now.