Skip to comments.Vatican Official: Bishops Have no Choice But to Refuse Communion to Pro-Abort Politicians
Posted on 02/04/2009 11:59:01 AM PST by wagglebee
ROME, January 30, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Archbishop Raymond Burke, in an exclusive interview last week, told LifeSiteNews.com that the issue of pro-abortion politicians continuing to receive Holy Communion is still one of major concern and that it is the duty of bishops to ensure that they are refused.
He told LifeSiteNews.com, "I don't understand the continual debate that goes on about it. There's not a question that a Catholic who publicly, and after admonition, supports pro-abortion legislation is not to receive Holy Communion and is not to be given Holy Communion."
"The Church's law is very clear," said Archbishop Burke, who was appointed last year by Pope Benedict XVI as the head of the Church's highest court, the Apostolic Signatura. "The person who persists publicly in grave sin is to be denied Holy Communion, and it [Canon Law] doesn't say that the bishop shall decide this. It's an absolute."
Among the US bishops directly to address the issue, Archbishop Burke was one of around a dozen who vigorously supported a directive of the Vatican that said pro-abortion Catholic politicians "must be refused" Holy Communion if they attempt to receive at Mass. Others have refused to abide by the Vatican instruction and the Church's own Code of Canon Law, saying they would rather focus on "education" of such politicians.
Archbishop Burke called "nonsense" the accusation, regularly made by some bishops, that refusing Holy Communion "makes the Communion rail a [political] battle ground". In fact, he said, the precise opposite is true. The politician who insists on being seen receiving Holy Communion, despite his opposition to the Church's central teachings, is using that reception for political leverage.
In 2004, when self-proclaimed Catholic and candidate for the Democrat party, Sen. John Kerry, was frequently photographed receiving Holy Communion despite his vigorous support of abortion, the US Bishops Conference issued a document which said only that it is up to individual bishops whether to implement the Church's code of Canon Law and refuse Communion. The issue has remained prominent with the appointment of Joe Biden, another pro-abortion Catholic politician, as Vice President of the United States of America.
Archbishop Burke recalled previous experiences with Kerry, pointing to the several occasions when the senator was pictured in Time magazine receiving Communion from Papal representatives at various public events. Burke said that it is clear that Kerry was using his reception of Holy Communion to send a message.
"He wants to not only receive Holy Communion from a bishop but from the papal representative. I think that's what his point was. Get it in Time magazine, so people read it and say to themselves, 'He must be in good standing'."
"What are they doing? They're using the Eucharist as a political tool."
In refusing, far from politicising the Eucharist, the Church is returning the matter to its religious reality. The most important reasons to refuse, he said, are pastoral and religious in nature.
"The Holy Eucharist, the most sacred reality of our life in the Church, has to be protected against sacrilege. At the same time, individuals have to be protected for the sake of their own salvation from committing one of the gravest sins, namely to receive Holy Communion unworthily."
Archbishop Burke also dismissed the commonly proffered excuse that such politicians need more "education". Speaking from his own direct experience, he said that Catholic politicians who are informed by their pastors or bishops that their positions in support of pro-abortion legislation makes it impossible for them to receive Holy Communion, "I've always found that they don't come forward."
"When you talk to these people, they know," he said. "They know what they're doing is very wrong. They have to answer to God for that, but why through our pastoral negligence add on to that, that they have to answer to God for who knows how many unworthy receptions of Holy Communion?"
Archbishop Burke said that the issue had been debated enough. He rejected the idea that the matter should be left to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, saying the Conference has no authority in the matter. "This is a law of the universal Church and it should be applied."
"I think this argument too is being used by people who don't want to confront the issue, this whole 'wait 'til the Conference decides'...well the Conference has been discussing this since at least 2004. And nothing happens."
When asked what the solution was, he responded, "Individual bishops and priests simply have to do their duty. They have to confront politicians, Catholic politicians, who are sinning gravely and publicly in this regard. And that's their duty.
"And if they carry it out, not only can they not be reproached for that, but they should be praised for confronting this situation."
Then this needs to start IMMEDIATELY!
Pro-Life/Catholic ping for you lists
I’d like to hear the pope say this.
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Excellent! I hope this does begin, starting with Biden, Pelosi, and De Lauro (the woman who was behind that offensive letter just sent to the Pope by a bunch of our congress creeps).
If you thought they were upset about the SSPX, wait till this happens.
And if they don’t, they are actively encouraging others to sin, thus risking their own chance at salvation. Nobody said it was supposed to be easy to beethe bishop.
You just did. You just didn't see his lips move.
Exactly, Archbishop Burke would not be saying this without the full support of the Pope.
>>Archbishop Burke called “nonsense” the accusation, regularly made by some bishops, that refusing Holy Communion “makes the Communion rail a [political] battle ground”. In fact, he said, the precise opposite is true. The politician who insists on being seen receiving Holy Communion, despite his opposition to the Church’s central teachings, is using that reception for political leverage. <<
Please forward to Bishop of Wilmington, DE. He refuses to use the Eucharist as a political tool. So Biden is welcome, abortion and all.
What about all the non-politician Catholics who voted for Obama? What about them?
They need to have a very public press conference, read all the names of the scum-bag politicians that believe in killing unborns and newly born babies, and EXCOMMUNICATE THEM in the most vocal way possible.
And THEN deny them the sacraments . . . PUBLICLY AND WITH FANFARE!
I think that’s more of a gray area because the voters are not voting on abortion per se.
Quite right. I know.
However, it would carry much more weight if the Holy Father said it himself.
That would be a stunner.
It wouldn't surprise me if he did in the near future.
Yeah, all the voting democrats who are Catholic and approach for communion, what about them? They put all these pro-death politicians in power. Since the dem voting Catholics obviously separate politics from religion, they will continue to take communion and continue to vote in pro-death candidates. Of course they see nothing wrong with voting for abortionists while parading around as Catholics. Not to pick on Catholics though, plenty of other denominations that are supposedly Christian have lots of dem voters taking communion too. sigh. They don’t get it. They won’t until they meet their Maker.
Excatly, Dennis. Amen.
Well, I hear what you’re saying but how could you realisticly deny communion to BHO voters and pro-abortion Catholics who are private citizens? During communion have the priest say, “Those of you who voted for John McCain please come foward and receive holy communion. Those of you who voted for BHO please remain seated.”
I have nothing but contempt for practicing Catholics who vote Democrat and are pro-abortion. But I don’t see how you could deny private citizens communion. It would mean they would have to publicly declare what they did in the privacy of a voting booth and it would violate the concept of a secret ballot.
So what about all the pro-abortion non-politicians? How they going to smoke them out so they can’t take Communion?
I think the difference is that people who vote for pro-abortion politicians do not actually vote for abortion.
Catholic politicians are public sinners and must be publicly rebuked and punished because they are leading others astray (the voters). That’s why they could be publicly denied Communion.
Individual voters who knowingly vote for a pro-abortion politician when there is some other option will be sinning and have automatically excommunicated themselves. That is, they should repent, confess it and should not go to Communion until reconciled. They will need a lot more teaching, however. Publicly excommunicating pro-abortion politicians would go a long ways to helping Catholic voters understand the seriousness of this.
Someone needs to tell Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Doug Kmiec stat.
I would much rather them not know and be publicly denied the Eucharist.
See my reply #23. It’s because of the difference between being a public figure publicly doing something sinful and encouraging others to do the same, and a private individual who shouldn’t go to Communion until he repents. He is self-excommunicated, but does not at present need public excommunication as a disciplinary matter, whereas the politician does because he is publicly flouting the law of the Church and encouraging others to do the same.
Very well stated.
Then it is political, because the Church is singling out politicians and not ordinary people or other celebrities. And it wouldn't surprise me at all if the Democrats retaliated by threatening the Church's tax exempt status.
Rank and file Catholics who vote for pro-abortion politicians are not public in their defense of abortion. So they can’t be said to be causing scandal or confusion the way a public figure does.
They can't be. Until they are taken aside and given the opportunity to repent. You can't just excommunicate someone without giving them a private teaching and call to obey.
Thanks for the clarification.
I have no problem with the Church denying Holy Communion to abortion-promoting public elected officials. Abortion is a mortal sin which violates every moral precept of the Catholic Church. Obviously I would prefer pro-abortion private citizens to abstain from Holy Communion as well. In fact, one wonders why they come to Mass at all. But the problem is that many if not most people separate their religious practice from their political practice.
Let me give you an example. Our daughter use to attend our local Catholic school. Last Christmas we went to watch her sing Christmas carols at school. During the annoucements, the school principal proudly announced that BHO won the student mock election last Fall. We were so appalled, a CATHOLIC school of all places. We promptly removed our daughter from this school. If she is to be taught socialism, what better place than a public school?
The Church can retaliate by closing all of the Catholic hospitals in the US and put the final nails into the complete collapse of this nation’s economy.
No, it’s not political. It’s based on their blatant opposition to Church teaching, their promotion of policies that contradict Church teaching, and the fact that as persons in power and with leadership duties, they are misleading others (aside from the damage done by their votes for abortion).
Kings in the past were excommunicated over disputes with Church authorities for this same reason. It only affects things that relate to Church teaching, not to, say, policies on economics or something that falls into the secular political area.
Other public persons in unrepentant error, such as theologians, are publicly excommunicated for the same reason.
Please send this to the Bishop in San Francisco. ;-)
The Church needs to reinforce this doctrine at the parish level by an aggressive education campaign and let people know that they cannot reconcile the Church's teaching with their voting pattern. Catholics have an obligation to cleanse themselves of sin before accepting the Eucharist. Those that do not so so will have an issue between themselves and their God.
If they lose their tax status they may have to. Not to mention dumping all those parochial school students into the public school system. But if the church sanctions politicians then don't expect them to sit back and take it quietly.
That’s very true. I didn’t have my kids in Catholic school for the same reason - it was during the really, really heretical years, and I felt I’d rather have them misled in public school than in Catholic school!
I think if the Church does excommunicate some of these politicians, you’ll actually see it having a
trickle down effect. I hope, at least.
The Roman Catholics are absolutely correct on this point. Abortion is murder. It should not be sanctioned nor should anyone who supports it be given communion (without prior repentance). There are dark forces at work in this world that must be opposed.
Should have been in place 30 years ago.
IF they know their candidate’s position on abortion and refuse to pay heed to the teachings of the church they are certainly at least an accessory to the legislation their candidate supports and votes for i.e. unfettered abortion, coerced taxpayer support, and promoting abortion over seas through International Planned Parenthood.
Anyone of the liberal ideology is working against God and for Satan (by default). Here’s a list of items where they encourage others to sin, and therefore have shown who their “father” is, the father of lies.
Honor your Father and Mother (see the Algore thread and libs’ general disdain for traditional values)
No murder (abortion)
No adultry (with liberals? please... this is their reason for living)
No theft (yes, even when the majority vote for it)
No lying (no, people with money DIDN’T steal if from you, and they DO pay their share of taxes)
Do not covet (coveting is the basis of socialism and class warfare)
Good. I want to see news about this happening, let them be refused! Maybe some of them will find they have a conscience.
I agree. And it seems to me that there are times when these forces come together in a perfect storm and try to overwhelm us, and this is what is happening right now.
Should have been practice years ago.
How much ya want to bet it isn’t still when it comes to the hoi faloi like Kennedy and Kerry.
Are there any Democrat politicians who are not pro-abortion at least those in the Nations Capital?
We're all skating on very, very, thin ice if our tax dollars go towards paying for abortions (a.k.a. modern day child sacrifice)...
Here's an update from 1994 for you.
139. The inviolability of the human person from conception prohibits as the suppression of prenatal life. This is "a direct violation of the fundamental right to life of the human being" and is "an abominable crime."
There is need to make explicit reference to suppression of life by abortion and its moral gravity because of the ease of recourse to this homicidal practice today and the ethical indifference towards it induced by a hedonistic and utilitarian cultureoffspring of theoretical and practical materialismwhich has spawned a truly abortionist mentality.
The elimination of the unwanted pregnancy has become a wide-spread phenomenon, financed by taxpayer's money and facilitated by permissive and guaranteed legislation. All of this is the fatal cause for many people to avoid taking responsibility for the expected child and so to banalize a serious sin.
"Unfortunately, this disturbing state of affairs, far from decreasing, is expanding.... At the same time a new cultural climate is developing and taking hold, which gives crimes against life a , giving rise to further grave concern: broad sectors of public opinion justify certain crimes against life in the name of the rights of individual freedom, and on this basis they claim not only exemption from punishment but even authorization by the state, so that these things can be done with total freedom and indeed with the free assistance of health care systems."
140. The Church, like every person who holds life dear, cannot become accustomed to this mentality, and she raises her voice in defense of life, especially that of the defenseless and unknown, which embryonic and fetal life is.
She calls health care workers to , which does not tolerate any action which suppresses life, despite "the Ask of incomprehension, misunderstanding, and serious discrimination" which this consistency might cause. Fidelity to de-legitimizes every intervention, surgical or pharmaceutical, intended to interrupt the pregnancy at any stage.
141. It is also true that in certain cases, by refusing an abortion, other important goodswhich it is only normal that one would want to safeguardare put in jeopardy. These could be: danger to the mother's health, the burden of another child, a serious malformation of the fetus, a pregnancy caused by rape.
These problems cannot be ignored or minimized, nor the reasons supporting them. But it must also be affirmed that none of them can objectively give the right to dispose of another's life, even in the initial phase. "Life, in fact, is too fundamental a good for it to be compared with certain disadvantages, even if they be very great."
142. Ethical delegitimization applies to all forms of direct abortion, since it is an intrinsically blameworthy act. The use of substances or means which impede the implantation of the fertilized embryo or which cause its premature detachment is also an act of abortion. A doctor who would knowingly prescribe or apply such substances or means would cooperate in the abortion.
If the abortion follows as a foreseen but not intended or willed but merely tolerated consequence of a therapeutic act essential for the mother's health, this is morally legitimate. The abortion in this case is the indirect result of an act which is not in itself abortive.
143. If the health care worker is faced with legislation favorable to abortion he "must refuse politely but firmly." "One can never obey a law that is intrinsically immoral, and this is so in the case of a law which admits, in principle, the lawfulness of abortion."
As a result, doctors and nurses are obliged to be . The great, fundamental value of life makes this obligation a grave moral duty for medical personnel who are encouraged by the law to carry out abortions or to cooperate proximately in direct abortion.
Awareness of the inviolable value of life and of God's law protecting it, is antecedent to all positive human law. When the latter is contrary to God's law, conscience affirms its primary right and the primacy of God's law: "One must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).
"It is not always easy to follow one's conscience in obedience to God's law. It may entail sacrifice and disadvantages, and one can in no way discount this cost; sometimes heroism is called for if one is to be faithful to these demands. Nevertheless, it must be clearly stated that the road of genuine progress for the human person passes through this constant fidelity to a conscience upholding rectitude and truth."
144. As well as being a mark of professional loyalty, conscientious objection on the part of the health care worker, for the right reasons, is highly meaningful as a against innocent and defenseless life.
145. The gravity of the sin of abortion and the ease with which it is carried out, supported by law and the modern mentality, prompts the Church to threaten the penalty of for the Christian who procures it: "One who procures an effective abortion incurs excommunication."
The excommunication has an essentially preventative and pedagogical significance. It is a forceful call from the Church, meant to arouse insensitive consciences, to dissuade people from an act which is absolutely incompatible with Gospel demands, and to awaken unreserved fidelity to life. One cannot be in ecclesial communion and at the same time disregard the Gospel of life through the practice of abortion.
The protection and acceptance of the expected child, its preference to all other values, is a decisive and credible witness which the Christian must give no matter what.
146. Health care workers have special obligations with regard to aborted fetuses.
An aborted fetus, if it is still alive, should be baptized if at all possible.
A dead aborted fetus must be given the same respect as a human corpse. This means that it cannot be disposed of as just another item of rubbish. If at all possible it should be appropriately interred.
Likewise, the fetus cannot be used for experimentation or transplant if the abortion was caused voluntarily. To do so would be an unworthy instrumentalization of a human life.
Thanks.. were there any relevant differences you wanted to point?