Arizona Bishop Thomas Olmsted urged Catholics, no matter what their political affiliation, to refrain from Holy Communion if they support the killing of innocent human beings in abortion or euthanasia.
In an apostolic exhortation published April 1, the Phoenix bishop said the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is supposed to be for people who make a sincere effort to follow Christ and his Church, the Catholic News Agency reports.
Though Olmsted did not mention any politicians or political parties, he recognized that his statement could be misconstrued as political. Right now, many American Catholics are divided about President Joe Biden, who professes to be a devout Catholic but is advocating for policies to expand abortion and weaken religious freedom.
Olmsted said the Catholic Church requires leaders “who have publicly supported gravely immoral laws such as abortion and euthanasia to refrain from receiving Holy Communion until they publicly repent and receive the Sacrament of Penance.”
“Not all moral issues have the same weight as abortion and euthanasia. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is an intrinsically grave sin and that there is a grave and clear obligation for all Catholics to oppose them by conscientious objection,” he added.
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Abortion often is described as the greatest human rights abuse of the modern age. Since 1973, more than 62 million unborn babies have been unnecessarily aborted in the United States alone.
The report continues:
Bishop Olmsted said that the current political climate means the Church can be “easily accused of favoring one party and singling out politicians of a certain party with such a teaching.”
“However, the Church is only faithfully reaffirming its perennial teaching on the Eucharist and the worthy reception of Holy Communion which applies to every single person,” said the bishop. Elsewhere in the letter, he explained that in an unworthy reception of Holy Communion, the sacrament “becomes a sacrilege.”
Olmsted urged Catholics to consider if they are willing to confess their sins and “join Jesus in His total surrender to the Father’s will.” A failure to do so leads to even greater sin and betrayal, he said.
“We either say with Jesus, ‘Into Your hands, Father, I commend my spirit, too!’ or we choose to remain enslaved to our sin,” he continued.
He lamented that the Gospel message has been watered down in modern society, and many Christians have abandoned the truth by conforming to secular culture.
“In such troubled waters, our greatest anchor in these storms is Christ Himself, found in the Holy Eucharist,” the bishop said.
Recently, several bishops have publicly said Biden and other pro-abortion politicians who identify as Catholic should not receive communion unless they repent.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann, who leads the U.S. Catholic bishops’ pro-life committee, said Biden is creating “a real problem for the church” by advocating aggressively for the killing of unborn babies while calling himself a devout Catholic. Naumann said Biden’s pro-abortion actions are a “great evil” that go “very much against fundamental Catholic moral teaching.”
Currently, Biden is pressuring Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would strip away conscience protections for pro-life medical workers and create a “right” to demand an abortion.
He also got rid of the Mexico City Policy and restored tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which kills babies in abortions around the world and lobbies to legalize abortions in pro-life countries. Pro-life leaders warned that the money will be used to pressure countries in Africa and South America to legalize the killing of unborn babies in abortions.