Demonstrators confronted Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry last night to warn he cannot be a Catholic in good standing and support abortion.

At a campaign event at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., near Washington, the pro-life American Life League rallied sign-waving protesters in an attempt to convince Kerry to “mend his ways,” said the group’s spokesman, Joseph R. Giganti.

Sen. John Kerry

The ALL’s Crusade for the Defense of our Catholic Church was responding to recent comments by the Massachusetts senator, whose primary victories last night in Virginia and Tennessee bolstered his commanding lead over Democratic rivals.

Prior to the Missouri primary, the new archbishop of St. Louis, Raymond L. Burke, said if Kerry stood in line for Communion, he would give a blessing but not serve the sacrament. Also, the archbishop of Kerry’s Boston diocese, Sean O’Malley, has urged Catholic elected officials to voluntarily not receive Communion, though he has not banned priests from giving it.

Kim Molstre, a Kerry campaign spokeswoman, told the St. Louis Dispatch Jan. 30 Burke “has the right to deny Communion to whoever he wants, but Senator Kerry respectfully disagrees with him on the issue of choice.”

In an interview last month in St. Louis, Kerry said “what I believe personally as a Catholic as an article of faith is an article of faith.” But as a public official, he said, it was not “appropriate in the United States for a legislator to legislate personal religious beliefs for the rest of the country.”

Joseph M. Starrs, director of ALL’s Crusade, said Kerry’s comments to the Dispatch and other media outlets “show that he knows it is wrong for Catholics to support abortion.”

Catholic Church teaching on this point is non-negotiable,” Starrs said. “Supporting abortion can place a Catholic in a state of mortal sin. For Kerry to openly support abortion causes grave scandal among the faithful.”

Starrs asserted, “No matter how he tries to spin it, with the tired old mantra that he is ‘personally pro-life, but publicly for choice,’ it does not change the simple fact that you cannot be a Catholic in good standing and pro-abortion.”

At the very least, he said, Kerry should heed Bishop O’Malley and not present himself for Holy Communion until he recants his position.

“Kerry also made public statements recently to the effect that surviving the Vietnam War taught him that he should always do the right thing, no matter how unpopular that might be,” Starrs said. “Protecting and preserving the civil rights of all Americans, born and preborn, is always the right thing to do. We hope Sen. Kerry will recognize that.”

As the demonstrators waited for Kerry to appear last night, Giganti told WND his group had handed out well over 100 signs.

“We’ve had quite a positive response,” he said.

He said his group is a non-partisan, non-profit group and cannot get involved in political debate. Its focus is civil rights.

“The most fundamental is the right to life,” he said. “We want to see that civil right protected for all Americans, all human beings, no matter who they are.”

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