New Mexico Catholic Bishop James Wall warned politicians who promote the killing of unborn babies in abortions that they are risking their salvation.
Catholic News Agency reports Wall, who leads the Diocese of Gallup, urged his fellow bishops to keep the salvation of souls at the forefront of their minds as they consider whether pro-abortion Catholic politicians like President Joe Biden should be denied Communion.
“There is no doubt that a politician who actively protects abortion and strives to make it more accessible also risks his or her salvation,” he wrote in an essay published at First Things on May 18.
His column addressed recent statements by Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego warning bishops about “politicizing” the Eucharist. Wall responded that the matter is pastoral, not political.
“While I don’t presume to know what’s in the mind and heart of my brother bishops, I am not motivated by political ends, nor are those with whom I have discussed the subject,” he wrote. “Our concern is not political but pastoral; it is for the salvation of souls. This issue has political ramifications, but that is not an excuse to shy away at this crucial moment.”
Wall said Catholic bishops have been speaking out for decades about the evil of abortion, but some politicians persist in supporting it while professing to be Catholic.
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“As a body of bishops we have read ‘the signs of the times,’ recognized that abortion is the great evil of our culture, and called it out as such for decades,” he continued. “Pro-abortion political leaders have not heeded these calls, and now we seek to apply the last remaining and most severe medicinal option we have: eucharistic sanctions.”
He said cannon law states that “a person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord” unless they confess, and abortion is a grave sin.
“Speaking the truth at times appears to create division, but often it simply exposes the division that already exists. If Catholics cannot agree on protecting the helpless unborn, then our unity is superficial at best and illusory at worst,” Wall added.
He encouraged McElroy and other bishops to consider the matter from the perspective of sin and salvation, rather than politics.
“Bishop McElroy examines the arguments for denying communion to pro-abortion politicians and asks, ‘How many Catholic political leaders of either party could pass that test?’ I would suggest that this is the wrong question,” Wall wrote.
“Jesus was not interested in numbers but in the salvation of souls. A better question might be, ‘Have I done absolutely everything I can as a bishop to try to bring all pro-abortion Catholic politicians in my flock back into a state of grace?’” he concluded.
Catholic bishops in America are debating whether to deny Communion to pro-abortion public officials like Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Many say pro-abortion politicians who profess to be Catholic are misleading people and openly supporting evil.
In June, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops plans to consider action on a document from their Committee on Doctrine “with the aim of clarifying the church’s stance” on pro-abortion politicians and Communion, the Associated Press reports.
Earlier this month, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone drew attention to the matter when he published a strong pro-life pastoral letter making the case for denying Communion to pro-abortion public officials.
Cordileone said denying Communion may be “the only recourse a pastor has left” if pro-abortion politicians refuse to repent and obstinately persist in their sin.
“When other avenues are exhausted, the only recourse a pastor has left is the public medicine of temporary exclusion from the Lord’s Table,” he wrote. “This is a bitter medicine, but the gravity of the evil of abortion can sometimes warrant it.”
Though some bishops criticized Cordileone’s letter, others praised him, including Bishop Robert F. Vasa of Santa Rosa and Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Naumann said Catholic politicians who advocate for abortions are “creating scandal by encouraging others to do evil.”
Biden professes to be a devout Catholic and frequently attends Mass. However, he openly defies church teachings about the sanctity of human life and family. After just 100 days in office, he surpassed President Barack Obama as the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history by ending safety regulations that protect mothers and unborn babies from abortion and forcing taxpayers to fund the billion-dollar abortion industry.
Since 1973, more than 62 million unborn babies have been aborted in the United States, according to the National Right to Life Committee.