by Steven Ertelt
November 22, 2006
Baltimore, MD (LifeNews.com) — A new report adopted by the nation’s Catholic bishops calls on all people who support abortion to personally refrain from taking communion — not just politicians. The report says everyone who is out of line with the important church teaching on abortion needs to examine their heart before taking the sacrament.
The bishops adopted the new document on communion on a 201-24 vote with two bishops abstaining from voting.
The document specifically makes reference to its application to all Catholics, not just candidates or elected officials.
The bishops specifically defeated on a voice vote to only prevent pro-abortion politicians from taking communion.
According to a Catholic News Service report, the document says a Catholic who "knowingly and obstinately" rejects "the defined doctrines of the Church" or repudiates "definitive teaching on moral issues" should not take communion.
Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, New Jersey, the head of the doctrinal committee for the bishops, told CNS, "All kinds of people don’t understand their responsibilities when going to the Eucharist."
"To be a Catholic is a challenge and to be a Catholic is to adhere to the Church’s teachings as handed down by Christ," he said.
The issue of whether pro-abortion politicians should be denied 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:
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops – https://www.usccb.org