Catholic Leader Wants Bishops to Debate Politicians and Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 4, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Leader Wants Bishops to Debate Politicians and Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 4, 2005

Vatican City ( — The top American at the Vatican wants the world’s bishops to discuss weather Catholic politicians who back abortion should receive communion. Archbishop William Levada, who heads the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, discussed his request at a Monday meeting of bishops discussing issues facing the church.

Levada also wanted input from other bishops dealing with similar issues in other nations.

Rev. John Bartunek, who discussed the meeting with reporters, said "This issue has caused some divisions among the people in the church," according to an AP report.

During the 2004 presidential elections, some bishops said they would refrain from giving communion to pro-abortion elected officials or candidates and others said such people should voluntarily refrain from taking part in the Christian sacrament because of their conflicts with Catholic teachings.

St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke went so far as to say he would deny communion to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

A working document bishops are discussing at their meetings acknowledges the problems.

"Some receive Communion while denying the teachings of the church or publicly supporting immoral choices in life, such as abortion, without thinking that they are committing an act of grave personal dishonesty and causing scandal," the document said.

"Some Catholics do not understand why it might be a sin to support a political candidate who is openly in favor of abortion or other serious acts against life, justice and peace."

American bishops adopted a statement last summer by a vote of 183-6 that calls on pro-abortion Catholics to refrain on their own from taking communion.

In July, the Vatican produced a new document for bishops across the world to examine that says Catholics who support legalized abortion should refrain from taking communion because they are out of step with church teachings.

Related web sites:
Catholic Bishop’s statement on abortion and communion –