THE talk may be about abortion, holy communion and Roman Catholic politicians (read: John Kerry and New Jersey's governor, James E. McGreevey) but in one sense the argument is really about how you define being faithful - to religious authority, to the Constitution or to both.
With Senator Kerry's religion becoming an issue, Americans are back on a subject that emerges any time a Catholic stands in reach of the White House, whether Al Smith in 1928, John F. Kennedy in 1960 or Geraldine Ferraro in 1984.
In 1960, the question was framed as whether an American Catholic leader could be independent of Rome. Now, the issue is how obedient he or she is to doctrine.
In recent months, a handful of conservative American bishops have said that Catholic politicians who support the right to abortion violate fundamental church teaching and should be denied the sacrament of holy communion. One leader, ...