by Steven Ertelt
October 18, 2006
Cornwall, Canada (LifeNews.com) — The issue of whether pro-abortion politicians should be denied communion is back in the public debate as it has been during the last two election cycles. A former Catholic archbishop recently said communion should be denied if politicians are repeatedly disobedient about church teachings.
Former Washington archbishop Theodore Cardinal McCarrick told a group of Catholic leaders at the Conference of Canadian Catholic Bishops meeting this week that there shouldn’t be a confrontation with pro-abortion politician at the altar.
But he indicated that abortion advocates who continually flout the church’s pro-life teachings should be denied communion.
”You have no choice in the matter," he said, according to a CanWest news report.
"That person should not partake of communion. Sometimes you just have to do it," he added.
In an interview with the Canadian news service after his speech McCarrick said a report Catholic bishops previously adopted brings the church to a middle ground position between those who say communion should be denied and those who say it shouldn’t be subjected to politics.
”I feel we have brought people closer to the center … In the middle is virtue," he said.
In June, a special committee McCarrick headed for the American bishops referred back to the 2004 policy statement the conference adopted saying local bishops will make the decisions in their own diocese about how to handle each case.
McCarrick told the bishops that they had they best ability to make any decision to prohibit a pro-abortion elected official from receiving communion because they know local officials better.
During the CanWest interview, McCarrick said pro-abortion politicians should put their views about abortion aside, even if they felt they represented the majority of their constituents. He compared abortion to slavery and said that all elected officials should work to end abortion regardless of their views or those of their community.
The issue of abortion and communion became a controversial one during the 2004 elections when a St. Louis bishop said he would not offer pro-abortion Democratic candidate John Kerry communion because of his pro-abortion position.
Kerry was the first Catholic to run for president on a major party ticket in 44 years.
After that, other bishops stepped forward asking pro-abortion lawmakers to refrain on their own form taking communion.
During the summer of 2004, the Catholic bishops adopted a statement that called on pro-abortion Catholics to refrain on their own from taking communion. It was adopted by a vote of 183-6.
In July 2005, the Vatican produced a new document saying Catholics who support legalized abortion should refrain from taking communion because they are out of step with church teachings.
The Vatican said pro-abortion Catholics are not taking their faith seriously and those who take communion and support abortion are behaving in a scandalous manner.
"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 says.
Related web sites:
Catholic Bishop’s statement on withholding communion and pro-abortion speakers – https://www.usccb.org/bishops/catholicsinpoliticallife.htm
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops – https://www.usccb.org