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No Communion For You!

Catholics in Nigeria have been warned that they must have a voter registration card in order to take communion. The announcement came in church bulletins:

You are advised after collecting your voters’ cards to register your names in your zone/ward in the book of record made available by your parish priests. Whoever has not collected the voters’ cards after February 7, has automatically alienated himself or herself from the community, the Church, the nation and will not be allowed to receive the Holy Communion and other sacraments.
This is crazy! Voting is important and we should encourage people to be involved, but it cannot be nearly as important as communion and the other sacraments. What is next? Not letting people have communion if they vote for a certain candidate (oh wait, Archbishop Raymond Burke in St. Louis already made that announcement). It is scary when holy acts of worship are made dependent on political choices. It is a tragedy when churches care more about people’s voter cards than souls.


  1. at least Archbishop Burke's attempt to refuse Communion to Catholics who voted for candidates who supported abortion rights could be justified. the Catholic Church does, after all, teach that abortion is murder. I strongly disagree, but Burke's actions do make sense from that worldview. Burke, by the way, later retracted his stance somewhat (it's a long story).

    the church in Nsukka seems to be trying to fight against the belief among voters that the votes are rigged, so there's no point voting. I'm not sure that this is about the church caring more about people's voter cards than souls. It sounds like they're trying to get people to care about justice. that in itself is admirable, but their methods are reprehensible and in fact spectacularly stupid.

  2. Weiwen: Thanks for the comment! You offer some important details about these issues that do moderate the situations. However, they still do not justify the actions. You are right that there are probably good motives in the Nigerian case and you are right that they still acted wrongly.

    As for the Burke example, you are right that the Catholic Church holds that position. However, he acted in a completely partisan manner for saying he would not give communion to John Kerry because of abortion but did not say anything about George W. Bush despite the Catholic Church’s opposition to the death penalty and the Iraq war. Communion should never be used to sway political elections!


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