Feb 28, 2009

Encouraging Bishops to Deny Holy Communion to Pro-abortion Lawmakers

Yesterday Bishop Joseph Martino issued an order that in his Scranton, Pennsylvania diocese, "Those whose unworthiness to receive Holy Communion is known publicly to the Church must be refused Holy Communion in order to prevent sacrilege and to prevent the Catholic in question from committing further grave sin through unworthy reception."  Though no names were identified, it is impossible to overlook the fact that  the Scranton diocese also posted on the same day an open letter from Bishop Martino of Pennsylvania Senator Robert Casey, in which the bishop reminded the Catholic lawmaker of his moral obligation "to oppose abortion and other clear evils."

Catholics in government service are ordered to oppose any law that attacks human life. Otherwise they are “obstinately” persevering “in manifest grave sin” and “are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” - Per Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law.

Other bishops like those in Colorado Springs, Camden, N.J., LaCrosse, Wis., Lincoln, Neb. and St. Louis, Mo., will enforce this. Eighteen other dioceses have bishops who have suggested the same.  The Most Rev. Raymond L. Burke pointed out that while he has the duty to care for your soul, he has a more fundamental obligation to protect the unborn from being murdered.

But others tolerate pro-choice lawmakers following the Gospel principle of the wheat and the tares where certain evils are allowed because a greater evil will ensue from efforts to stop it. For example, when the bishops criticized Hitler, he started closing churches and that prevented the Church from saving the Jews, so the bishops toned down their rhetoric.

In the case of the pro-abortion lawmakers, I wonder what the greater evil is.  Perhaps the IRS might remove the exemption of the Church because the Church is meddling with the affairs of the State.  If the Church is poor, then there is nothing to tax.  If there is something, then the Church should not mind – after all it is only money.  I think the bishops fear turning the others away if they struck a hard line.  I wonder if they will lose more by being timid instead of speaking the truth clearly and consistently.

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