Catholic Bishop: I Prohibited a Pro-Abortion Lawmaker From Communion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 29, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Bishop: I Prohibited a Pro-Abortion Lawmaker From Communion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 29, 2004

Corpus Christi, TX ( — A Texas Catholic bishop says other Catholic bishops across the country have a responsibility to bar pro-abotion politicians from receiving communion. Retired Bishop Rene Henry Gracida of southeast Texas also says he has prohibited at least one pro-abortion lawmaker from receiving the Christian sacrament.

In an essay that will appear in the October 2004 issue of Catholic World Report, Bishop Gracida argues that Catholic leaders have an obligation to revoke communion from those who violate the church’s teachings on key pro-life issues.

"The controversy over denying Holy Communion to pro abortion politicians has generated a lot of heat and very little light," Bishop Gracida writes. "Sacred Scripture and the magisterium of the Church have spoken clearly on the subject, but some either do not understand what has been said, or worse, have chosen to ignore it."

Gracida says that those politicians who favor "abortion-on-demand, euthanasia, cloning, or fetal experimentation," should be refused communion "because they have a direct impact on the moral or immoral structure of a government."

Bishop Gracida also wrote he imposed the penalty of interdiction in 1994 on an unnamed politician who continued to back abortion.

The elected official was a state Representative from the Corpus Christ area. Bishop Gracida wrote to him, hoping a recent article he read, saying the state Rep. was a pro-abortion Catholic, was incorrect. Gracida never received a reply.

A second letter warning that the politician would face a revocation of his ability to receive communion was also met with silence.

Afterwards, Bishop Gracida wrote to the politician a third time saying he could never receive communion until he recanted from his pro-abortion position.

"It was a matter between me, the individual, and God," Bishop Gracida writes. "Whether or not the individual ever received Holy Communion after having been Interdicted, I do not know."

The admission adds to the fiery debate about how to treat elected officials who flagrantly disregard the teachings of the Catholic church on pro-life issues — considered by the Vatican and U.S. Catholic bishops to be the most important political issue.

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Bishop Gracida’s letter –