Skip to comments.For the Vatican it's Clear - Pro-Abortion Politicians 'Must' be Denied Communion
Posted on 11/27/2009 3:32:19 PM PST by NYer
November 27, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - With the Patrick Kennedy Communion flap and the recent action of the Bishops of Spain having opened up the issue of denying communion to pro-abortion politicians, it is worthwhile to review the position of the Vatican on the matter.
Since the controversy came to a head in 2004, the stance from the Vatican on the matter has been clear and consistent. For the Pope and top Curial Cardinals in charge of the matter there is no question about the responsibility to deny Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who obstinately support abortion. In fact, the issue was closed as early as 2004 with a letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.
The then-head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith intervened into a debate among the US Bishops on the issue. Simply put, Cardinal Ratzinger said in his letter titled "Worthiness to receive Holy Communion," that a Catholic politician who would vote for "permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion.
Ratzinger's letter explained that if such a politician "with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it."
The letter even answered common objections such as how to deal with politicians that supported war or the death penalty in light of denial of Communion to pro-abortion politicians.
The man who is now Pope, explained: "Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
Since then, Pope Benedict XVI has confirmed this position speaking as Pope. Answering a reporter on an in-flight press conference in 2007, Pope Benedict addressed a question on the Mexican bishops excommunicating politicians who support legalizing abortion. "Yes, this excommunication was not an arbitrary one but is allowed by Canon law which says that the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving communion, which is receiving the body of Christ," said the Pope.
In the comment, the Pope was referring to the Church's Canon law 915, which states: "Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."
The highest authority on the subject in the Vatican, next to the Pope, is the head (or Prefect) of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Canizares. The head of that Congregation, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI a year ago, quoted the Ratzinger document on the question in a LifeSiteNews interview earlier this year.
In addition, Cardinal Antonio Canizares stated: "The strongest words are found in St. Paul: one who goes to the Eucharist and is not properly prepared, duly prepared, 'he eats his own condemnation.' This is the strongest thing that we can say and what is the most truthful statement."
This line is not only coming from Pope Benedict and his appointees, however. The Cardinal who preceded Cardinal Canizares in heading the Congregation was Nigerian-born Cardinal Francis Arinze.
Already in 2004, Cardinal Arinze said a pro-abortion politician "is not fit" to receive Communion. "If they should not receive, then they should not be given," he added. Cardinal Arinze was asked the question so frequently he began to joke about the matter. One such question and answer session even made it to youtube.
Arinze is seen on the video as saying that he is regularly asked if a person who votes for abortion can receive Holy Communion. He replies, "Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that? Get the children for first Communion and say to them, 'Somebody votes for the killing of unborn babies, and says, I voted for that, I will vote for that every time.' And these babies are killed not one or two, but in millions, and that person says, 'I'm a practicing Catholic', should that person receive Communion next Sunday? The children will answer that at the drop of a hat. You don't need a cardinal to answer that."
Former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke who has been appointed to head up the highest court in the Vatican remarked on the need for bishops to uphold this canon since without doing so they undermine belief in the truth of the evil of abortion.
"No matter how often a bishop or priest repeats the teaching of the Church regarding procured abortion, if he stands by and does nothing to discipline a Catholic who publicly supports legislation permitting the gravest of injustices and, at the same time, presents himself to receive Holy Communion, then his teaching rings hollow," wrote Burke. "To remain silent is to permit serious confusion regarding a fundamental truth of the moral law."
given the infestation of the administration with “pro choice” Catholics, I daresay the US just might be Ground Zero (no pun intended) for a face off between church and state.
Then the Vatican should make sure priests follow the ruling.
Just say NO to abortion.
It’s about time.
What makes you think they do not?
Because they’re still giving Communion.
I peeked at the end of the Book, the Church wins.
Now lets see the USCCB grow a steel set and follow through, along with a published list.
Nacy Pelousy, still recieves, John Kerry Still recieves, Ted Kennedy recieved a Catholic Funeral.
Yeah I am pretty sure some are a bit more "lax" than others.
Now someone needs to talk with that git who had on a Roman Collar and was argueing with Fr Mitch that it is permissable for priest to give communion to pro abortion politicians.
The instruction has been handed down by the Holy Father to the bishops. They are the teachers in each diocese and it is up to them to teach the true faith. If they don’t, then their soul is in peril since they are responsible for every soul whether Catholic, Jewish, Moslem or whatever.
It is also up to each individual Catholic to learn the true teachings of the Church.
Here is a great article about the Knights of Columbus in Massachusetts. Sixteen members of the Knights of Columbus voted to stop the gay marriage question from being put on the ballot. They stopped the people of Massachusetts from voting on the gay marriage issue.
The leadership of the Knights are very liberal and pro-abortion. They are sabotaging those members of the organization who are faithful to the church’s teachings. This is not just about the Kennedy’s thumbing their noses at the church. The Democrat politicians have been using the Knights of Columbus for their selfish political gain for many years. It didn’t present a problem because at one time there was no coflict between the Democratic Party and the Catholic Church, but now the Democrats are in total defiance of the Catholic Church’s teaching but they are still using the church and the Catholic organizations to promote their political fortunes. The Catholic Church and the Democratic Party has had a strong alliance for many years because so many Catholics were Democrats but now the Democrats are showing their total arrogance and contempt for the church. They are shamlessly using the church and they are trying to tell the church what to do.
In reading about abortion, I do wonder why more teaching is not directed to women and those in abortion clinics in addition to the politicians. All this makes it look like politicians are the cause and if they would vote in a certain way, abortions would disappear. Wondering.
Thank the great Lord for Pope Benedict XVI, the Magisterium and the Traditions of the Roman Catholic Church.
I’d have wished this to occur long ago . . . years ago. Better now than never.
God Bless and Protect “everything Vatican.”
Down with the CINOs. Don’t re-elect these guys and gals.
Communion is expression (and not the means) of unity of belief. Logically, those who support abortion cannot claim (comm)union of belief with the teaching of the Catholic Church and therefore cannot receive the Catholic Eucharist. The issue couldn’t be clearer.
“The issue couldn’t be clearer.”
Exept if the bishops acted like abortion is what they say it is, so badly taught Catholics would know it is truly a serious matter.
Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:
Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.
Obama Says A Baby Is A Punishment
Should the denial of the Eucharist be applied to those that support greed? What about all the other sins? Can and should I be denied the Eucharist if I still haven't forgiven my neighbor for killing that tree in my yard? Where is the line drawn and who determines when the Eucharist can be received and when it cannot?
It wasn't until abortion was legalized that the Catholic Church had to take a vociferous stand on this issue. Up until then, it was clearly understood that murdering a child in the womb was a mortal sin.
That's why confession is absolutely required (in the Orthodox Church at least, and technically in the Catholic as well) before one receives communion (every time!), although I know for a fact that even the Orthodox have become lax on that issue. By confessing and repenting of your sins, the priest knows that you can receive the Eucharist because your sins have now been forgiven.
Remember, repentance does not mean you say you are sorry and then go back to doing what you did before...it means change of mind (metanoia). You basically reject your wicked ways and promise to God and yourself never to do it again! Obviously, someone who continues to publicly support abortion publicly states that he or she doe snot repent of that sin, and that he or she is not on the same sheet of music as the Church is. As such he or she has no business asking for a Catholic Eucharist!
As for private sins you mention, that is on your conscience! If you line up to receive the Eucharist and you have not confessed and repented of your sins you do so at your own risk. Please, don't let me stop you! The priest cannot assume that you have not confessed or repented and in some cases the priest has no clue who you are or if you are even a member of the Church! So, he offers you the Eucharist in ignorance and in good faith...but the burden is on you.
And even if you do confess before communion, but do not confess all your sins, then all your sins are presumably not forgiven because God would know the truth and while you are fooling the priest and yourself, you cannot possibly hope to fool God, if you believe in him. So you are really digging your own hole.
And if you think that you have not sinned since your last confession, and that you don't need to confess, then you don't need the Eucharist any more than Jesus needs one! You are perfect, so why bother.
If you publicly support or profess any particular sin, the Church should deny you communion. A Catholic cannot be a Catholic in good standing and publicly support abortion any more than publicly support contraception or advocate divorce or premarital or extramarital sex. Yet, we know that Catholics engage in premarital and extramarital sex, support same-sex "marriage," are practicing homosexuals and lesbians, use contraceptives, support abortion and believe in divorce privately.
They may very well never go for a confession but regularly receive the Eucharist, and there is nothing an individual priest can do about it if he doesn't know what they believe, do or say in private. Once their beliefs and practices become a public domain, the priest has a duty to deny communion lest it count against his conscience.
The Church determines when it can be received and when not, and the Church, speaking through the bishops, has said it cannot be received by these people.
There’s no such thing as the “sin of supporting greed,” by which I assume you mean capitalism. Many other sins - for example, feeling angry at a neighbor who cut down a tree in your yard - are probably venial sins, or if they are mortal sins, can be forgiven with repentance and in confession.
Abortion is murder and is not in the same league as the other two things at all. Publicly supporting this mortal sin is encouraging others to commit a mortal sin, and making it a part of public policy is doing so to the nth degree. These people should not go to Communion but many of them have persisted in doing so anyway. Obviously, now it’s time for a stronger, more public approach to what is - on the part of a public official - a public sin and one that is much more serious because of his public responsibilities.
You sound like you’ve read too many “personally opposed” Catholic pols and maybe a touch too much of the anti-capitalist - er, excuse me - anti-greed screed of the Catholic left.
We don’t know that Ted Kennedy didn’t go to CONFESSION and made a good confession before he died......I’m guessing he might just have done that.
You really don’t KNOW if Peolsi goes to Mass and receives Holy Communion. ...ditto John Kerry.
My husband commented to our Pastor on Thanksgiving that he was glad that Bp Tobin had “taken on P. Kennedy” over the abortion issue and had written him a letter of support. Our Pastor merely commented that he “didn’t agree” and dropped the subject. Now my husband is furious. He said to me that the priests had no problem taking on parishioners over money — why not take on the politicians over abortion?
Actually I do KNOW about Kerry, there was an article w/ pictures on Free Republic about Kerry recieving at Kennedy's funeral, and I am fairly certain about Pelousy becasue in an interview I saw with her about the "Not being certain about when life begins debaucle", and Augustine, she said she does recieve.
My wife and I have stopped supporting out local parish over a similar issue, instead we donate to the Diocese of the Armed services, and several other 100% authentic Catholic Charities. One of the Precepts of the Church is that we must support the Church, nothing is said about a particular parish or Diocese.
You need to remind your husband that the Catholic Church is not a political organization. It is made up of ordinary individuals, like himself, with different views and opinions. The Church, itself, is Christ's bride (Ephesians 5:29) and has "no spot, wrinkle or blemish" (Ephesians 5:27). In its 2000 year history, there have been good popes and bad yet not one has ever erred in matters of faith or morals! However, individual clergy may commit sins, even popes commit sins because in the Church there are both "weeds and wheat" (Matthew 13:30).
Apparently, your pastor does not share Bishop Tobin's view of withholding communion from public figures who proclaim to be Catholic. That's fine. There are many other priests who feel the same way. It is not doctrine. However, as Bishop Tobin pointed out to Bill O'Reilly, when public officials present themselves for communion, they cause scandal to pew Catholics. There is no mandate in the Catholic Church to prevent these individuals from receiving communion, nor is there one that prevents priests from administering it to them. And, your husband is not alone. Here are some comments made by others who agree with him:
Which simply means that Catholic leaders need to better educate themselves and their congregations.
i have a photo of Pelosi at Mass ... they had a special celebration for her in DC when she became speaker in Jan ‘07.
Did she receive Holy Communion??