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Thursday, June 3, 2021

Catholics and other Christians seek mercy for prisoners through abolition

Editorial: Why we support the bishops' plan to deny Communion to Biden

Barring a last-minute intervention by Pope Francis himself, and maybe not even then, the U.S. bishops will consider and vote on a proposal June 16-18 for a teaching document about Communion that includes denying the sacrament to politicians who support pro-choice policies, including our nation's second Catholic president, Joe Biden.

In NCR's latest editorial, we tell the bishops to just go ahead and do it.

"Just do it, so that if there happens to be a Catholic remaining who is not convinced that the bishops' conference, as it stands today, has become completely irrelevant and ineffectual, they will be crystal clear about that reality after the conference leaders move forward with this patently bad idea," we write.

The decision of the bishops' conference to adopt an adversarial stance toward Biden is not only pastorally wrong, it is "politically stupid," given the number of areas of agreement between this administration and the bishops' own priorities, we say.

"So, go ahead: Use this virtual meeting — in which the bishops won't really have the chance to talk frankly and freely with one another, whether in the meeting hall, at coffee breaks, or during dinners and other get-togethers — and ram through a document that will forever brand the church in the U.S. for the out-of-touch, cultural warrior-obsessed organization it has become," we write.

You can read more of our editorial here.

More background:

  • The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith urged the U.S. bishops to proceed with caution in their discussions about formulating a national policy "to address the situation of Catholics in public office who support legislation allowing abortion, euthanasia or other moral evils."


Catholics and other Christians seek mercy for prisoners through abolition

The third installment of our Justice Reimagined series focuses on a not so new term — prison abolition. In the year since the police killing of George Floyd, uprisings for racial justice and against police brutality have galvanized people across the United States to ask: Are police and prisons really necessary?

For some of these abolition activists, the desire to abolish police and prisons comes from their Christian faith and a belief that no one is disposable. Some Catholic advocates who spoke with NCR said their inspiration for working toward prison abolition comes from the Catholic social teaching concept of preferential option for the poor and marginalized. And of course one of the seven corporal works of mercy is to visit prisoners.

Policing and prisons have long been used against Black people and other marginalized groups, said Dwayne David Paul, a Catholic educator and writer who works for the Collaborative Center for Justice but spoke to NCR in his capacity as a private individual.

"Social teaching ... says we shouldn't have things that harm the most vulnerable," Paul said. "And empirically and historically, [prisons and police] are institutions that do just that. Then we shouldn't have those institutions."

You can read more of the story here.

More background:


More headlines

  • At Global Sisters Report, read about an international campaign bringing to the fore the plight of seafarers by educating the public on the link between products and who delivers them, and encouraging corporations to examine suppliers' human rights practices.

  • ICYMI: Bishops in Baltimore and Washington announced they would lift the dispensation of the Sunday and holy day Mass obligation that was granted at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.

  • ICYMI: Services that offered blessings to same-sex couples at over 100 parishes across Germany were the latest chapter in ongoing tensions between the German Catholic Church and Rome. 

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