The following comes from a Mar. 21 story in the Tablet (U.K.).
The bishop of Portsmouth (U.K.) has provoked criticism from Catholic MPs after saying that politicians who voted for same-sex marriage should be denied Communion.
Bishop Philip Egan said that instead of being punitive, the denial of communion is “always an act of mercy” with the hope that individuals can be brought “back into full communion with the Church”.
Labour and Conservative MPs, some of whom opposed same-sex marriage, reacted angrily, telling The Tablet that the bishop’s intervention was “a tragedy” and that ordinary Catholics would be “appalled”.
In an interview with the pro-life website LifeSiteNews, Bishop Egan said: “When people are not in communion with the Catholic Church … in terms of the teachings of the Church on marriage and family life – they are voting in favour of same-sex marriage – then they shouldn’t be receiving Holy Communion.”
Of politicians in his own diocese who backed same-sex marriage, he said: “I personally would be in favour of saying that somebody should not be receiving communion.”
However, he added that he would “have to act really with the other members of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales” and he called for his confreres to debate the issue. A spokesman for the Bishops’ Conference said there were “no plans” for the bishops to discuss the proposal at their next meeting.
Forty-seven out of at least 82 Catholic MPs last year voted in favour of allowing same-sex marriage when the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was passed in the House of Commons. The legislation was passed by 400 votes to 175.
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