New pope intervened against Kerry in US 2004 election campaign
German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican theologian who was elected Pope Benedict XVI, intervened in the 2004 US election campaign ordering bishops to deny communion to abortion rights supporters including presidential candidate John Kerry.
In a June 2004 letter to US bishops enunciating principles of worthiness for communion recipients, Ratzinger specified that strong and open supporters of abortion should be denied the Catholic sacrament, for being guilty of a "grave sin."
He specifically mentioned "the case of a Catholic politician consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws," a reference widely understood to mean Democratic candidate Kerry, a Catholic who has defended abortion rights.
The letter said a priest confronted with such a person seeking communion "must refuse to distribute it."
A footnote to the letter also condemned any Catholic who votes specifically for a candidate because the candidate holds a pro-abortion position. Such a voter "would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for holy communion," the letter read.
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Article VI of the Constitution:
[...] The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
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"I would not look with favor upon a President working to subvert the First Amendment's guarantees of religious liberty ... Neither do I look with favor upon those who would work to subvert Article VI of the Constitution by requiring a religious test -- even by indirection."
-- John F. Kennedy
Address to the Ministerial Association of Greater Houston, September 12, 1960
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