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The Pope’s New Encyclical: No Communion for Economic Sinners?

Were any of the Wall Street scam
artists and greed mongers who led our country and world into economic meltdown
Roman Catholics?  If so, will they receive communion?  

The New York Times reports on the Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate…On Integral
Human Development in Charity and Truth
 released today by the
Vatican. In it Pope Benedict 

“…called for a radical rethinking of the global
economy, criticizing a growing divide between rich and poor and urging the
establishment of a “world political authority” to oversee the economy and work
for the “common good.”  He criticized the current economic system, “where
the pernicious effects of sin are evident,” and urged financiers in particular
to “rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity.”


I hope for consistency that the American Catholic Bishops who have gone after  sinners
such as pro-choice politicians will also seek out and
withhold communion unrepentant capitalists.  Unlike the Catholic nuns who are now under inquisition for heterodoxy of thought , actions that do not cause actual harm to people, these Catholic politicians’ and business people’s sins caused misery and deprivation for millions of Americans facing home foreclosures and job losses.  


Catholic business leaders disregarded basic Roman Catholic teachings on economic justice and caused real harm.  Yet I have yet to see public repentance.  I look forward to seeing any spiritual repercussions that the Catholic church might have in store for them including the church’s weapon of choice – no communion. 

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posted July 7, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Amen to that. For too long the RC Church in America has been a one note wonder. It was all about being against abortion. You could be a warmonger, a plundering capitalist or divorced 10 times and as long as you were for overturning Roe vs Wade you were A-OK in their book. Let’s hope and pray that the Bishops here in the US wake up and start taking on other issues that Jesus definitely would have been concerned about–poverty, the war, oppression, etc. Let’s see them start denying communion to those who advocate for war!

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Charles Cosimano

posted July 7, 2009 at 9:33 pm

The Bishops tried in the 80s and were laughed out of the argument. I would imagine a Papal encyclical will just have all those good Baptist businessmen (and other non-Catholics) just shaking in their shoes fearing eternal damnation.

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posted July 8, 2009 at 11:14 am

Fear of eternal damnation as a result of withholding Communion might change behavior at a very basic level, but that is what laws are for, not the Church. Withholding Communion does nothing to improve the holiness of people’s *thoughts* which is what Jesus was concerned about. Jesus told us to forgive not just seven times, but seven times seven. We are also told “Vengeance is mind, saith the Lord” meaning we are not given free rein to decide how to take vengeance on anyone; the Lord will determine how to handle it with His infinite wisdom.
Lastly, Jesus told us to give to God what is God’s and give to Caesar what is Caesar’s — why would the Church become involved in financial matters if Jesus was completely unconcerned about them? Shouldn’t the role of the Church be to focus on our souls and not our wallets?

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posted July 8, 2009 at 8:44 pm

The withholding of communion is based on canon law. A papal encyclical doesn’t establish new canon law, only a formal change in the code does. I’d suggest you become familiar with the process before commenting on it,
Your rhetorical cheap shot about the nuns doesn’t make sense. And if the issue is degree of harm, I suggest abortion easily trumps financial shenanigans

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posted July 9, 2009 at 10:57 am

“heterodoxy of thought, actions that do not cause actual harm to people”
If what they differ on is what type of habit to wear, you’re right, no harm done.
If, for example, an order was preaching against an established doctrine of the faith, by denying it or twisting it around, then that’s what we call “impugning the truth”, and that’s one of the 6 sins against the Holy Spirit. Intentionally misleading someone regarding the truth does, in fact, do people much harm.
But getting back to “economic sins”, if Madoff was Catholic and refused — quite publicly — to acknowledge that what he did was evil, then yes, he would be denied Holy Communion until he reconciled himself with the truth.
But Madoff isn’t Catholic; he’s Jewish. So let’s ask what the Jewish community is going to do about “economic sinning” instead of picking another senseless fight with the RCC simply because it makes for lots of extra blog traffic.

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posted July 9, 2009 at 1:35 pm

what about all those greedy folks out there who bit off more than they can chew. deny them communion also?

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posted July 9, 2009 at 1:42 pm

What about the Vatican. They are one of the biggest capitalist entities around. Deny all those connected to it. I think not. That where it would end.

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