Regarding your May 28 story "No communion for contrary Catholics: a good idea?": Putting aside the seemingly political motivations of the Roman Catholic Church to deny communion to politicians who support women's reproductive rights, there are deeper problems at the heart of this decision. If it's the opinion that is the sin, then the church would have to know the opinions of all who are about to receive communion, and not just the opinions of elected officials. What about other sins? What separates the sin of supporting abortion from thoughts of violence or the desire to bring death upon others? If an elected official casts a vote in support of women's rights, and then confesses this grave sin, then has not the forgiveness of Jesus Christ made this person worthy to receive communion again? If elected officials are to be denied communion for not being worthy, then we should all be denied communion.
The Catholic Church is not telling anyone how to vote. It's telling those who disagree with fundamental church doctrines that if they choose to vote in a certain way, they should not consider themselves Catholics - that this evidence of their rejection of definitive church teaching is something that sets them apart from the church.
This is an issue of Christian identity. Had bishops done this 30 years ago, at the beginning of the "culture of dissent" that has flowered in the church, this would not be an issue and no one would be surprised. It is only because open dissent has become the norm, as evidenced by groups such as the "Voice of the Faithful," that people are surprised to be reminded that following Christ involves certain faith norms. If you do not believe what Christ taught, you cannot claim to be a follower of Christ. It's that simple.