Skip to comments.For the Vatican it's Clear - Pro-Abortion Politicians 'Must' be Denied Communion
Posted on 11/28/2009 10:24:30 AM PST by marshmallow
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."
It’s clear to me, it should be the stance of the protestant churches as well.
Yet, the Vatican is silent on this topic as well, at least for American politicans. This can’t be optional from country to country; it is either a central teaching of the Church, or it isn’t. The Church should be at least as compassionate to the unborn as it is to the homosexual.
Did you actually read the entire article?
How about this one?
When the Pope makes an offical statement that American Bishops have to enforce or disobey, then I will agree that the Vatican is no longer silent on this. Until then ...
Romney should also be excommunicated from the Mormon church for his stance on abortion.
Yes. McCarrick hid the letter’s existence from the U.S. bishops, even though it was addressed to them as a body. Then he stood up and lied to the bishops about what Ratzinger had said.
But the bishops are hardly without blame. Any one of them, with their education in moral theology and canon law, was capable of discerning that the line McCarrick was feeding them was nonsense.
McCarrick is a notorious sodomite—perhaps the most notorious in the hierarchy, next to Weakland. This is highly relevant. It means that no one in the American hierarchy ever found the courage to “out” otr confront McCarrick and induce him to retire. (He is now retired because of his age.)
Some bishops, like Donald Wuerl and McCarrick, have chosen to frame the issue as the abortionists would like it framed: “Should a bishop use the Eucharist as a political weapon?”
Those who, instead, frame the issue honestly (Should a Catholic who is persisting in public, grave sin be given Communion?”) will answer with Canon 915: No.
Check out these two documents. Taken together, they make it crystal clear: It is a MORTAL SIN for a priest or bishop to give Communion to a pro-abortion politician. I said that right: If your bishop or pastor gives Communion to pro-abortion politicians, the BISHOP and/or the PRIEST is committing a mortal sin.
At some point we all have to live up to our ideals.
It's strange that they don't criticize Islam, isn't it? They fear Islam and I think they've just decided to surrender and convert.
I suspect that many "leaders" don't care who or what they lead as long as they're on top!
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There seems to be at least two “Catholic” churches in the USA. One where something like this will be enforced, and one where Pelosi is viewed as a “good Catholic”.
Eventually, the schism is going to be recognized. Or the Vatican will stop saying these things. As things stand right now, it has very little force.
I still don’t understand how he got away with that. It’s jaw-dropping.