More Catholic Bishops Speak Out on Communion, Abortion and Voting

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 21, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

More Catholic Bishops Speak Out on Communion, Abortion and Voting Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 21, 2004

Atlanta, GA ( — With the presidential election just weeks away, more Catholics bishops are speaking out about political issues, including communion abortion and voting.

Last week, Archbishop John Donoghue of Atlanta reminded Catholic voters that those who vote for pro-abortion politicians are guilty of "cooperating with the evil" of abortion.

"You have an erroneous conscience if you think there is some case in which you can vote for a pro-abortion candidate," Archbishop John Donoghue said in an interview. "You’re wrong as far as church teaching is concerned."

"The Church holds her members to acceptance, complete acceptance of her teaching on matters of faith and morals," Archbishop Donoghue said.

Meanwhile, Archbishop John Myers of Newark, New Jersey, writing in the Wall Street Journal last Friday, said that the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also spoke to voting for pro-abortion candidates.

It discussed whether "Catholics could, in good conscience, vote for candidates who supported the taking of nascent human life in the womb or lab," the archbishop wrote.

The document, authored by leading Vatican theologian Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, noted, that a "Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of a candidate’s permissive stand on abortion."

Archbishop Myers also said that abortion takes prominence over issues such as the war in Iraq.

"Catholics may, in good conscience, support the use of force in Iraq or oppose it," he said. "Abortion and embryo-destructive research are different. They are intrinsic and grave evils; no Catholic may legitimately support them."

Other Catholics leaders agree and said that abortion is so important that Catholics should make it their first consideration when voting.

In a news conference last week, Richard J. Neuhaus, editor of First Things magazine, asked, "Is it possible to vote for any politician who persistently — publicly, defiantly and in the face of repeated pastoral efforts at reproach — continues to support Roe v. Wade?"

"Rome has made it clear that abortion is not one issue among others," Neuhaus said, "it is intrinsically evil. That cannot be said of any other issue in mainstream U.S. politics today."

In Amarillo, Texas, Bishop John W. Yanta wrote a column in the West Texas Catholic newspaper saying Catholic politicians who continue to support abortion after discussing the issue with clergy should be denied communion.