A Catholic bishop in Washington state took a firm stance Friday against giving communion to pro-abortion politicians.
In a letter to the Diocese of Spokane, Bishop Thomas Daly said it is “scandalous” that supposedly Catholic politicians like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are supporting abortion on demand, KXLY News reports.
“Efforts to expand access to abortion, allowing murder of children up to the moment of birth is evil,” Daly said. “Children are a gift from God, no matter the circumstances of their conception. They not only have a right to life, but we as a society have a moral obligation to protect them from harm.”
In January, Cuomo signed a law allowing unborn babies to be aborted for almost any reason up to birth in New York state. His actions were met with wide-spread condemnation and calls for his excommunication.
Though Daly did not mention excommunication in his letter, he said politicians who support aborting unborn babies should not receive communion.
“Politicians who reside in the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, and who obstinately persevere in their public support for abortion, should not receive Communion without first being reconciled to Christ and the Church,” he wrote.
“The Church’s commitment to the life of every human person from conception until death is firm. God alone is the author of life and for the civil government to sanction the willful murder of children is unacceptable. For a Catholic political leader to do so is scandalous,” the bishop continued.
Other bishops in California, Tennessee and Texas have made similar calls in the past few weeks. However, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan said he will not discipline Cuomo because the governor would not care if he did.
Excommunication or other disciplinary measures “would be completely counterproductive, right?” Dolan said on his radio show Jan. 29.
“Especially if you have a governor who enjoys this and wants to represent himself as a kind of martyr to the cause, doing what is right. He is proud to dissent from the essentials of the faith. He’s proud with these positions.”
“For me to punish him for it? He would just say, ‘Look at the suffering this prophet has to undergo,’ the cardinal added.
Daly’s letter cited canon 915 of the Church’s Code of Canon Law, which says that Catholics “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”
Daly concluded his letter by urging Catholics to pray for politicians like Cuomo who do not see the value of every human life. He asked people to pray for pregnant mothers and unborn babies as well.
This winter, pro-abortion politicians have been pushing bills to expand late-term abortions in a number of states, including New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico and Virginia. Some already have passed, others have failed, and others still are being debated in the state legislatures.
The New York law sparked wide-spread outrage, not just from Catholics, but from pro-lifers of all faiths and no faith. Evangelical Protestant leaders including Franklin Graham have condemned abortion as well.
It also prompted U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, of Nebraska, to introduced a bill to ensure babies born alive after failed abortions receive basic medical care. Sasse said he wants lawmakers’ positions on infanticide on record for the American public to see. The vote is slated for Monday.