Catholic Bishop Says He Would Refuse Communion to John Kerry

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 2, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Bishop Says He Would Refuse Communion to John Kerry

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 2, 2004

St. Louis, MO ( — A Missouri Catholic bishop says leading Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, a Massachusetts senator, would be refused communion because of his views in support of abortion. Archbishop Raymond Burke said, over the weekend, that he would offer the politician a blessing rather than giving him full communion.

Kerry, who is Catholic, has a long record of supporting abortion and has said he would never submit a judicial nominee to the U.S. Senate for approval who has a pro-life view on abortion.

"I would have to admonish him not to present himself for Communion," said Burke. "I might give him a blessing or something. If his archbishop has told him he should not present himself for Communion, he shouldn’t. I agree with Archbishop O’Malley."

Archbishop Sean O’Malley of Boston, where Kerry attends church, has told Catholic elected officials who are pro-abortion that they should not be receiving communion and that they should refrain from taking part in the Christian sacrament on their own.

A spokesman for Kerry’s campaign told the St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper that Kerry disagreed with Burke’s decision.

"The archbishop has the right to deny Communion to whoever he wants, but Senator Kerry
respectfully disagrees with him on the issue of choice," Kim Molstre, a Kerry campaign spokeswoman, said.

In an interview last week, Kerry said that, as an elected official, he must separate his personal religious views from his actions as a legislator and that it is not "appropriate in the United States for a legislator to legislate personal religious beliefs for the rest of the country."

"Whatever I may believe — a Catholic may believe as an article of faith — is not to be legislated," Kerry said.

Burke is the former bishop of the diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin. While there, he sent an official note to diocesan priests to specifically prohibit three pro-abortion politicians from receiving communion.

"On life issues, this is a serious issue for bishops, a grave problem for the church, which has to be addressed," Burke said.

Though O’Malley said Catholic elected officials who support abortion shouldn’t receive communion, he did not ban priests in the diocese from administering it.