Bishop: Catholics Who Vote Pro-Abortion Shouldn’t Get Communion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 14, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bishop: Catholics Who Vote Pro-Abortion Shouldn’t Get Communion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 14, 2004

Colorado Springs, CO ( — A Catholic bishop in Colorado says that any person who votes for politicians who back abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or embryonic stem cell research should not receive communion until they have a change of heart and confess their voting.

With other Catholic bishops differing on whether Catholic politicians should be denied communion, the announcement from Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan is the strongest yet on the subject.

Sheridan’s remarks appear in a pastoral letter written earlier this month and published in the diocesan newspaper. He said the anti-life practices and those Catholics voting for candidates who favor gay marriage because the activities are "intrinsically evil."

"Any Catholic politicians who advocate for abortion, for illicit stem cell research or for any form of euthanasia ipso facto place themselves outside full communion with the Church and so jeopardize their salvation," Sheridan wrote.

"Any Catholics who vote for candidates who stand for abortion, illicit stem cell research or euthanasia suffer the same fateful consequences," Sheridan added.

Another Catholic pro-life leader said he appreciated Bishop Sheridan’s remarks.

"I am grateful for the clarity of Bishop Sheridan’s statement, which highlights what a grave obligation and a tremendous power are placed in our hands by the opportunity to vote," Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life told

"In Sacred Scripture, rulers are always warned of how serious their obligations are before the Lord. In America, the rulers are the voters. We should not be surprised, therefore, that equally serious obligations fall upon us," Pavone explained.

Last month, Cardinal Francis Arinze, a Vatican spokesman considered a top candidate to become the next Pope, said Catholic politicians who back abortion should not take communion.

When asked about "unambiguously pro-abortion" Catholic politicians, Arinze said such officials are "not fit" to receive communion.

Observers have taken the comments to mean likely Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry should not receive communion.

But, Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles told the National Catholic Reporter in Rome on Thursday that Kerry would be welcome to receive Communion in the Los Angeles archdiocese. Mahony had a private meeting with Kerry on May 5.