vatican says it was duped over kerry heretic claim - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
October 22, 2004

Vatican says it was duped over Kerry heretic claim

-22/10/04

A conservative US lawyer's attempt to enlist the Vatican in his drive to declare Senator John F. Kerry a heretic over his abortion views backfired yesterday when the Holy See said it had been hoodwinked, reports the Reuters news service.

The news came as both presidential candidates, one a Roman Catholic and the other an evangelical Protestant, made increasing religious pitches for votes.

This Sunday in Florida, John Kerry will speak on the values that "shape his decision-making as president," according to Mike McCurry, the candidate's spokesman on religious affairs.

President Bush has also continued with his God references on the campaign stump at a rally in Pennsylvania before a private meeting with Roman Catholic Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia.

Religion has however been troublesome for both candidates. Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson claimed this week that he warned President Bush before U.S. troops invaded Iraq that the United States would sustain casualties but that Bush responded, "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."

Earlier in the campaign George Bush attempted to corner the conservative Christian vote using the last of three TV debates with Democrat rival John Kerry to co-opt God to his campaign.

But Evangelicals criticised Bush's 'theology of war', whilst others launched a campaign to make it clear that God was "neither a Republican nor a Democrat".

The issue of abortion has also been problematic for Kerry.

Marc Balestrieri, head of a conservative Catholic group called De Fide, has been pushing for the church to rule that the Democratic presidential candidate has inflicted excommunication on himself because he supports a woman's right to an abortion.

Balestrieri caused a stir in the United States this week when he asserted in interviews and on his website that he had won an unofficial and indirect green light from the Vatican.

But the Vatican has now denied his assertions, which received widespread coverage in major US media.

Kerry, a Roman Catholic, says he is "prochoice but not proabortion" and that he cannot impose his views on those who do not share his faith.

Balestrieri said he wanted to point out ''the growing misunderstanding by Catholics that they can publicly call themselves Catholics and support the right to choose abortion."

He said US Catholic leaders were afraid of strictly applying doctrine for "fear of reprisals from politicians, loss of donations from prochoice Catholics, and lack of backbone."

Father Augustine Di Noia, third-ranking official in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's doctrinal office, said that Balestrieri had hoodwinked the church by misrepresenting himself, reports Reuters.

Vatican says it was duped over Kerry heretic claim

-22/10/04

A conservative US lawyer's attempt to enlist the Vatican in his drive to declare Senator John F. Kerry a heretic over his abortion views backfired yesterday when the Holy See said it had been hoodwinked, reports the Reuters news service.

The news came as both presidential candidates, one a Roman Catholic and the other an evangelical Protestant, made increasing religious pitches for votes.

This Sunday in Florida, John Kerry will speak on the values that "shape his decision-making as president," according to Mike McCurry, the candidate's spokesman on religious affairs.

President Bush has also continued with his God references on the campaign stump at a rally in Pennsylvania before a private meeting with Roman Catholic Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia.

Religion has however been troublesome for both candidates. Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson claimed this week that he warned President Bush before U.S. troops invaded Iraq that the United States would sustain casualties but that Bush responded, "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."

Earlier in the campaign George Bush attempted to corner the conservative Christian vote using the last of three TV debates with Democrat rival John Kerry to co-opt God to his campaign.

But Evangelicals criticised Bush's 'theology of war', whilst others launched a campaign to make it clear that God was "neither a Republican nor a Democrat".

The issue of abortion has also been problematic for Kerry.

Marc Balestrieri, head of a conservative Catholic group called De Fide, has been pushing for the church to rule that the Democratic presidential candidate has inflicted excommunication on himself because he supports a woman's right to an abortion.

Balestrieri caused a stir in the United States this week when he asserted in interviews and on his website that he had won an unofficial and indirect green light from the Vatican.

But the Vatican has now denied his assertions, which received widespread coverage in major US media.

Kerry, a Roman Catholic, says he is "prochoice but not proabortion" and that he cannot impose his views on those who do not share his faith.

Balestrieri said he wanted to point out ''the growing misunderstanding by Catholics that they can publicly call themselves Catholics and support the right to choose abortion."

He said US Catholic leaders were afraid of strictly applying doctrine for "fear of reprisals from politicians, loss of donations from prochoice Catholics, and lack of backbone."

Father Augustine Di Noia, third-ranking official in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's doctrinal office, said that Balestrieri had hoodwinked the church by misrepresenting himself, reports Reuters.

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