Bishop Egan steadfast about denying communion to pro-abort, SSM politicians despite opposition

In his latest interview Bishop Egan told LifeSiteNews:

“My basic point was a simple one: that those who do not believe in and/or do not practice the main doctrines of our Catholic faith should not go forward to receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church. They are not in communion with the Catholic Church. Politicians have many complex decisions to take, but surely, if they are disciples of Christ, they should have the freedom to follow their conscience, despite pressures from party whips and powerful campaign groups?”

“Those who do not accept the Catholic Church’s principle teachings on the value of life – as expressed in her teaching on abortion, on marriage and family life, on euthanasia, on eugenics and on assisted suicide – the main tenets of Christian anthropology – are rejecting Christ’s vision for the human person, whom he redeemed on the Cross. Abortion, euthanasia, eugenics, assisted suicide gravely degrade and undermine respect for the dignity and value of human life.”

Bishop Egan’s re-iteration of the points he made in his original LifeSiteNews interview followed criticism from Catholic MPS and Peers canvassed by The Tablet.

‘Labour and Conservative MPs, some of whom opposed same-sex marriage, reacted angrily, telling The Tablet that the bishop’s intervention was “a tragedy” and that ordinary Catholics would be “appalled”.’

Labour’s Siobhain McDonagh, who also voted for the legislation, said: “There are some old-fashioned diehards in the Church , just as there are in the wider community.  But most Catholics I know would be horrified if anyone was barred from Communion simply for voting to support other Catholics who are gay’. (The Tablet, 22 March 2014, p.28).

Mr Burns, who co-chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Holy See, is expected to raise the issue with Cardinal Vincent Nichols.’

Protect the Pope reported earlier about the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales intervention about this matter as follows:

Bishops’ Conference official publicly rejects Bishop Egan’s teaching about denying communion to pro-abort & SSM politicians

27 comments to Bishop Egan steadfast about denying communion to pro-abort, SSM politicians despite opposition

  • Augustine

    Bishop Philip Egan is a true shepherd of his flock.

  • Bob Hayes

    Thank you Bishop Philip. Though this will be hard to stomach for The Tabletistas and the ‘convenience catholics’ amongst the political class, Bishop Philip is entirely consistent with Pope Francis who last year declared:

    ‘The Church’s pastors, taking into account the contributions of the different sciences, have the right to offer opinions on all that affects people’s lives, since the task of evangelization implies and demands the integral promotion of each human being. It is no longer possible to claim that religion should be restricted to the private sphere and that it exists only to prepare souls for heaven.’ Evangelii Gaudium 102.

  • Paul

    I cannot believe the politicians.

    They say that the Bishop gives the impression that Catholic politicians will just do the pope’s will … yet Burns admits that Egan has not contacted him on any issue.

    The politicians would judge people by the company they keep, and irish parties removed the whip from those who voted against abortion … yet they refuse to let the church expect anything of its members.

    They call us hypocrites for criticising sin whilst we sin … yet claim perfection themselves.

  • Rifleman819

    In the current context of mealy mouthed cowardice…the good bishop deserves a great deal of acclaim.
    The other bishops deserve nothing ajt all.

  • Mark Thorne

    Siobhain McDonagh is oh so sadly my MP. Little else remains to be said.

  • Lionel (Paris)

    I think that Bishop Egan is totally right and I support his position…
    Yes indeed Augustine, “Bishop Philip Egan is a true shepherd of his flock”.
    Thanks to God! LD

  • Kinga Grzeczynska

    Bishop Egan is saying what needs to be said. It is obvious that some people do not respect and follow their Faith as they should.

    I support his statement.
    He is the Bishop of Portsmouth and by Canon Law is responsible to The Holy Father.

    Kinga Grzeczynska

  • Gary

    Cant imagine Cardinals Vincent and Cormac who are running the show now with Bishop appointments, getting another ‘Egan’ for the office of bishop

  • shaun the sheep

    Faithful Catholics will gather round and support faithful bishops through prayer, good wishes, and money. It’s time for actions folks. Give your money to those who are faithful to the Church.

  • Margaret Allain

    ” Remain steadfast in the journey of faith, with firm hope in the Lord. This is the secret of our journey! He gives us the courage to swim against the tide. ” Pope Francis’ address to Confirmation candidates in Rome.

    Thank God for this good Bishop Egan teaching the truth to those who appear unable to swim against the tide.

  • ms Catholic state

    This Bishop should be the next leader of Catholics in England and Wales. God willing.

  • Marguerita

    Can I suggest that we all write letters of thanks to bishops like Bishop Egan when they defend the truth in the public square. I remember reading about an American bishop, I think it was the bishop of Nebraska, who kicked Call to Action out of his diocese amongst other things. He had an overflowing seminary. He often spoke out in defence of truth. He said he was overwhelmed by the letters, cards, gifts and donations he had received from people when he proclaimed the truth. I am sure Bishop Egan doesn’t do it for those reasons, but it would still be very good to let him know that we are grateful for his actions.

  • scary goat

    It seems dreadful to me that Bishop Egan is standing up for Catholic teachings and he is, of course, right….but the Bishops’ Conference is undermining him. What IS the point???? It makes one weep.

  • John Vasc

    Bishop Egan certainly has my prayers, above all for the steadfastness he will need. I suggest we all pray for him (eg a decade of the Rosary daily for the next few days). He’ll need all the help of heaven he can get.
    We might include the erring politicians also in our prayers.

  • Celia

    MPs who voted for SSM were not voting ‘to support other Catholics who are gay’. They were either doing what they know their party leaders wanted or exercising those famous consciences which dissenting Catholics always cite when, well, dissenting from the teaching of the Magisterium. If they want to ‘support’ gay Catholics they should be supporting the undervalued work of EnCourage.

  • Freddie

    Oh that others would follow his example. In the not too distant past all clerics would have been in agreement

  • JabbaPapa [Julian Lord]


    Christus Dominus

    8 b) : The general law of the Church grants the faculty to each diocesan bishop to dispense, in a particular case, the faithful over whom they legally exercise authority as often as they judge that it contributes to their spiritual welfare, except in those cases which have been especially reserved by the supreme authority of the Church.

    13 : The bishops should present Christian doctrine in a manner adapted to the needs of the times, that is to say, in a manner that will respond to the difficulties and questions by which people are especially burdened and troubled. They should also guard that doctrine, teaching the faithful to defend and propagate it. In propounding this doctrine they should manifest the maternal solicitude of the Church toward all men whether they be believers or not. With a special affection they should attend upon the poor and the lower classes [actually : "the poor and the weak"] to whom the Lord sent them to preach the Gospel.

    They should also strive to make use of the various media at hand nowadays for proclaiming Christian doctrine, namely, first of all, preaching and catechetical instruction which always hold the first place, then the presentation of this doctrine in schools, academies, conferences, and meetings of every kind, and finally its dissemination through public statements at times of outstanding events as well as by the press and various other media of communication, which by all means ought to be used in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ.


    The Bishops Conference of England and Wales has absolutely no Authority whatsoever to command Bishop Egan’s silence, nor to overturn excommunications of this sort, nor to force him into any sort of “period of prayer and reflection”.

    God bless Bishop Egan !!!

    • JabbaPapa [Julian Lord]

      With a special affection they should attend upon the poor and the lower classes [actually : "the poor and the weak"] [Christus Dominus]

      I’ll just set this apart, from my quote, as being an exemplar of the deeply embedded translation issues that generally beset English-language translations of Vatican documents since WW2 particularly, and which continue to this very day.

      The “lower classes” indeed !!! This clearly illustrates the sort of supercilious and condescending attitude that pervades a certain type of well-heeled and well-connected “English Catholicism”, whereby the Pastors have no true concern for the needs of their flocks, because they are considered as being inferior in nature.

      This lordly attitude pervades the attitude of the Bishops Conference, whereby lonely Deacons who denounce the failures of their “betters” must be slapped down and shown who’s the Boss in this Land ; cavalier Oxbridge-educated pooh-poohing of the more uncomfortable among the Christian and specifically Catholic teachings and doctrines and spirituality can be simply discarded in favour of the transient wordly concerns of the political sphere ; the rampant sexual immorality of one’s old Oxbridge friends is to be encouraged either openly or, WORSE, secretly, and no matter the spiritual damage to the Faithful, to those outside the Church whose souls can only be in agony for their separation from God, to those within the Church who are fooled by the genteel mannerisms of these wolves in sheep’s clothing and thus encouraged along the easy pathway to damnation, and to the very organisation and reputation of the Earthly Universal Church herself …

      Thank God and our Holy Father Emeritus for the elevation of Philip Egan to the Purple !!!

      Otherwise, of particular note regarding translation problems in the more recent Vatican sources :

      • “Thank God and our Holy Father Emeritus for the elevation of Philip Egan to the Purple !!!” I would, indeed, thank God were Bishop Egan ever “elevated to the purple” but it seems unlikely that it will ever happen. The “sacred Roman purple” refers to the cardinalatial dignity.

  • jacobi

    Pope Francis tells us to evangelise. To a Catholic that means, to preach the Word of God as revealed through the Teaching Magisterium of the One True Church, the Catholic Church.

    A politician should therefore endeavour to oppose legislation which is contrary to Catholic teaching. If necessary he should abstain, or if that is not permitted by his party rules, then he should do the honourable and Catholic thing, resign and find another way of earning a living, which will also allow him to live the Catholic Faith.

  • Amanda Peter

    What moral courage and true love for God Bishop Egan shows.

  • polycarped

    Unless I’m missing something here – I may well be as I have not read everything in detail – +Philip is saying (rightly) that those in particular situations should not be approaching for Holy Communion; he is not going as far as to say that they will be denied Holy Communion. Respectively, it seems that the spokesman for the Bishops Conference are referring to denial of Holy Communion. So, with respect, I think the article title might be a little misleading here (again, unless I’ve missed something).

    I notice that Ed Peters has a very good article on this exact issue – in relation to similar remarks from the San Francisco Archbishop – at the moment: The issues of 1) approaching for Holy Communion and 2) being denied Hoy Communion are purposely dealt with quite separately in Canon law.

    • Hi Polycarped
      Thank you for helping me to look at this more carefully.

      In this case, the quote I am looking at in particular is
      “Bishop Egan told LifeSite News:
      When people are not in communion with the Catholic Church on such a central thing as the value of life of the unborn child and also in terms of the teachings of the church on marriage and family life – they are voting in favour of same-sex marriage – then they shouldn’t be receiving Holy Communion.”.

      If he says that they “shouldn’t be receiving Holy Communion.” then I am taking it that he wouldn’t be giving it to them. Otherwise he would be helping them to do something they shouldn’t do – which would be wrong.

      • Lynda

        Exactly. Again, Fr Fitzpatrick says it well when he says the canons, including 915 simply codify what the moral law necessitates. It would be a mortal sin for a priest to give Our Lord to someone in obstinate and manifest grave sin. Sacrilege – and a scandal – to imperil souls ( including the recipient).

        • polycarped

          M Donnelly and Lynda – many thanks, both, for this important perspective which had not immediately occurred to me and makes complete sense. And apologies for my delay in coming back! God bless.

  • Lynda

    Bishop Egan is standing out – for doing his duty as bishop of the Church. Lord, protect and strengthen him.

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