Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin

Foreign Influence in US elections (besides Saudi Arabia)

New Pope Intervened against Kerry in US 2004 Election Campaign
Agence France-Presse
Tuesday 19 April 2005

\Washington – 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.

The letter, which was revealed in the Italian magazine L’Espresso last year, was reportedly only sent to US Catholic bishops, who discussed it in their convocation in Denver, Colorado, in mid-June.

Sharply divided on the issue, the bishops decided to leave the decision on granting or denying communion to the individual priest. Kerry later received communion several times from sympathetic priests.

Nevertheless, in the November election, a majority of Catholic voters, who traditionally supported Democratic Party candidates, shifted their votes to Republican and eventual winner George W. Bush.\

This presents an interesting problem, regardless of your stand on the abortion issue.

The Vatican is a foreign state, with the Pope as it’s head of state. It functions as, and is in all ways, a separate country. Countries have foreign-policy concerns, and it is reasonable that one of these concerns for the vatican would be the issue of abortion. What is not reasonable is that a foreign state use it’s very considerable influence to sway a US election. I believe, in fact, that there are laws against such things. If the members of the catholic church are coerced in their voting decisions by the withholding of a sacrament considered essential, how does this relate to illegal interference in US politics by a foreign nation?

Interesting thoughts, which need some rumination.

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