by Steven Ertelt
October 15, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A former Catholic cardinal and a leading pro-abortion "Catholic" group have blasted comments by St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke who said he would deny communion to Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani because of his position favoring abortion.
Earlier this month, Burke said he would deny communion to Giuliani.
"If the question is about a Catholic who is publicly espousing positions contrary to the moral law, and I know that person knows it, yes I would [deny communion]," Burke told the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
He said anyone who administers Catholic communion can’t knowingly give it to Catholic politicians who flout the Church’s teachings on abortion.
"It is a cause of concern for me and for all bishops to find ourselves in this situation," Burke said.
Former Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick restated his opposition to Burke’s position to withhold communion from pro-abortion politicians.
McCarrick said the Catholic Church shouldn’t be denying communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians because no elected official will ever perfectly fall in line with every policy position the Church takes.
In an interview with the Associated Press over the weekend he also said the church’s positions on abortion and other issues such as euthanasia and the death penalty are base teachings, but do not fully encompass all Catholic beliefs.
"You cannot be authentically Catholic if you do not support life, yet it is not enough just to support life, you have to go beyond that," McCarrick said.
"To really be authentically Catholic, you need it and the family rights, the right to education, the right to take care of the poor, the right of migrants," he added.
Meanwhile, Jon O’Brien, the head of the pro-abortion group calling itself "Catholics for a Free Choice" said communion decisions shouldn’t be based on abortion.
"In Catholicism, once you are baptized, you are authentically Catholic. We don’t have a litmus test that people take," he told the Associated Press.
After Burke’s comments, Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, was in New Hampshire campaigning and he avoided answering the comments directly.
"Archbishops have a right to their opinion, you know," Giuliani said. "There’s freedom of religion in this country. There’s no established religion, and archbishops have a right to their opinion. Everybody has a right to their opinion."