Catholic politicians who support intrinsic evils should be denied Holy Communion – Cardinal Burke

His Eminence, Raymond Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura has categorically stated that Irish politicians, and elsewhere, should be denied Holy Communion if they support the legalisation of abortion and other intrinsically evil acts

The Catholic Voices magazine asked Cardinal Burke the following question:

It is clear from Canon 915 that abortion is a mortal sin and a collaboration with evil, can those who claim to be Catholic vote for it and remain full members of the Church? Also what is the role of the local bishop with regard to this matter?

With regard to Canon 915, it states that those who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin should not be admitted to receive Holy Communion. There can be no question that the practice of abortion is among the gravest of manifest sins and therefore once a Catholic politician has been admonished that he should not come forward to receive Holy Communion, as long as he continues to support legislation which fosters abortion or other intrinsic evils, then he should be refused Holy Communion. In my own experience, when I have informed Catholic politicians who were supporting anti-life or anti-family legislation not to approach to receive Holy Communion, they have understood and have followed the discipline of the Church as it is set forth in Canon 915.

Depending on the situation, the Diocesan Bishop may be involved directly in admonishing the politician, but it is also within the pastoral care of the parish priest to admonish anyone in his congregation who is persisting obstinately in manifest grave sin not to approach to receive Holy Communion. The local Bishop should teach clearly in the matter and also encourage his priests to make sure that the Church’s discipline is observed, in order to avoid the grave sin of sacrilege on the part of the Catholic politician who approaches to receive Holy Communion when he is persisting obstinately in grave moral evil, and to prevent the scandal which is caused when such individuals receive Holy Communion, because their reception of Holy Communion gives the impression that the Church’s teaching on the intrinsic evil of abortion is not firm.

In your book, Divine Love Made Flesh, you explain that Catholics who support abortion legislation should refrain from receiving Holy Communion not only because of the public scandal but also out of love for Our Lord. Could you explain?

In response to the last question, surely the consideration of public scandal must be in the mind of those who approach to receive Holy Communion unworthily. However, at a much deeper level of faith and of personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ, a person obstinately persisting in manifest grave sin will refrain from approaching to receive Holy Communion because of his love of our Lord and his sorrow for the grave sin which he is commiting against our Lord and His Holy Church. In fact, it is the recognition of the grave offense against the Lord which will most inspire a conversion of heart in the Catholic politician who publicly supports anti-life or anti-family legislation.

One recalls here the words of Saint Paul in chapter 11 of the First Letter to the Corinthians, in which he addressed a situation of the sacrilegious receiving of Holy Communion among the faithful at Corinth, Saint Paul wrote that the person who receives Holy Communion unworthily sins against the Lord and therefore brings about his own condemnation. The passage from the First Letter to the Corinthians reads: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment upon himself” (1 Cor. 11:27-29).

Protect the Pope comment: Cardinal Burke, the highest canon law authority in the Church, makes it clear that politicians who continue to support legislation which fosters intrinsic evils, such as anti-life and anti-family policies, should be refused Holy Communion. The CDF stated in 1986: ‘Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.’

In the light of the fact that the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual genital acts are ‘intrinsically disordered’ and ‘intrinsically immoral’ it follows that those Catholic politicians who voted for same-sex marriage should not present themselves for Holy Communion or should be denied Holy Communion by their priests and bishops.

It is now the duty of the bishops in our country to make it clear that those Catholic politicians who continue to support same-sex marriage must not present themselves for Holy Communion or else their priests and bishops must deny them Holy Communion because they are no longer in communion with the Church due to their actions as politicians. Iain Duncan Smith and Daniel Kawczynski,among other Catholic politicians, should abandon their support for same-sex marriage or else heed Cardinal Burke’s words.

23 comments to Catholic politicians who support intrinsic evils should be denied Holy Communion – Cardinal Burke

  • fintan michael

    lets say that this action is somewhat mild. those who support the killing of children in the womb and the blessing of sodomy and other unnatural acts as marriage need to have the truth laid out before them and be ex-communicated full stop. had similar action been taken in a militant manner long ago in the church amongst some of our own priesthood we could have saved many children a lot of suffering.

  • Mel

    I do hope and pray that we have more priests of ‘Burke’s’ ilk becoming Bishops, this man is a real shepherd.

  • Joseph Matthew

    Thank you Deacon Nick. In charity, they should have been told by their bishops BEFORE the vote that voting for intrinsic evil would bar them from Holy Communion.But given that the process has not reached completion,there is surely still time.

  • Robert

    I hope that the Bishops of England and Wales take note of what Cardinal Burke has said. Too many Catholic MPs voted for the same-sex marriage legislation in total contravention of the teachings of the Church. This Sunday those MPs who present themselves for Holy Communion need to be sent away until they have confessed their sin and received absolution. The gloves now need to come off if we are to stop this country sinking further into the abyss.

  • “It is now the duty of the bishops in our country to make it clear that those Catholic politicians who continue to support same-sex marriage must not present themselves for Holy Communion or else their priests and bishops must deny them Holy Communion because they are no longer in communion with the Church due to their actions as politicians. Iain Duncan Smith and Daniel Kawczynski,among other Catholic politicians, should abandon their support for same-sex marriage or else heed Cardinal Burke’s words.”

    Absolutely…until such time as they make a clear and public renunciation of the evil they have done,

  • williamweber

    Er…………does that mean that American bishop who publicly says abortion pills are OK should be refused Holy Communion? Are there two conflicting hymn sheets from which our fathers in God are singing? One of them must be wrong. Very wrong. william weber

  • Karla

    Now lets hope Priests follow this

  • Karla

    Isn’t denying politicians Communion standard already?

  • Bain Wellington

    Which US bishops, William? Reported where and when, as saying what? Vague and indeterminate assertions such as you are disseminating are of no assistance whatever. So far as I am aware, the US bishops hold to their “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” issued by the Bishops’ Conference in 1971 and now in their 5th edition (USCCB, 2009). Directive 36 reads:-

    “A female who has been raped should be able to defend herself against a potential conception from the sexual assault. If after appropriate testing, there is no evidence that conception has occurred already, she may be treated with medications that would prevent ovulation, sperm capacitation, or fertilization. It is not permissible, however, to initiate or to recommend treatments that have as their purpose or direct effect the removal, destruction, or interference with the implantation of a fertilized ovum”.

    Possibly you are thinking not of US bishops but of a recent headline in the German press:- “German Bishops Change Tune on Morning-After Pill”. If you get deeper into that story than the headline, you will see that all that is proposed is the formulation of a policy no different from the USCCB Directive 36 quoted above. In other words, “morning after pills” are not necessarily abortifacient.

  • Pravin Thevathasan

    William, there are indeed complex areas in medical ethics which are developing all the time. If there is a clinical plan following rape to prevent fertilization, this is acceptable practice.

  • Christopher

    Deacon Nick,

    One thought you may be interested in the increasing aggrevation against the opponents of Homosexual marriage in the U.S.A:

    Thanks to Father Zuhlsdorf for this, including his commentary:

    This was actually dated 5th February, but the relevance is still important.

    God Bless.

  • Brendan Bradley

    Every single Catholic politician in the Social, Democratic and Labour (SDLP) Party voted in favour of SSM in the recent Assembly debate on gay marriage. One MLA abstained. Traditionally, the SDLP were the voice of moderate nationalism. Most if not all the SDLP are Catholics. Yet,like the Tories, they did not mention their pro gay marriage position in recent manifestos or newsletters. I emailed the party three times asking who among them spoke for the traditional family and marriage in this party, but have not even received the courtesy of a reply. The SDLP is pro gay marriage through and through. Sinn Fein likewise but I never expect anything else from this Marxist crowd. But for Protestant/Unionist MLAs the motion for gay marriage would have passed.

  • Robin Leslie

    Minister for Work and Pensions Ian Duncan-Smith voted for the ‘gay marriage’ legislation. It
    will be interesting to see whether his parish priest refuses this ‘devout’ communicant
    the sacrament> His bishop is Vincent Nichols so what more obvious test of fidelity could there
    be? Watch this space!!

  • Robin Leslie

    Furthermore what would Minister Duncan-Smith do if Catholics are subject to future persecution
    by the motley assortment of homosexuals/lesbians feminists and secularists that litter the
    institutions of the UK Plc One Party neo-liberal State? These are interesting questions for the further into this secularist trap Catholic politicians go the harder it will be for them to extricate themselves, and there will be more anti-religious anti-Catholic persecution from
    these secular fundamentalists!

  • Joseph Matthew

    Not only Duncan-Smith but others make a point of claiming Christian belief to be the reason they voted for gay marriage. Daniel Kawczynski MP said in his article ” Why I voted in support of gay marriage” that “My faith is essential to everything I do and think.” He goes on to say that he could not support the traditional definition bcause he felt he was at risk of ” not fulfilling my Christian duties.”

  • ForFaithForever

    No Catholic Christian can Support the Murder of Babies ( Abortion ) or the
    Mutiliation of the Institution of Holy Matrimony which by the Law of God
    must be a Union between a Man and a Woman

    Anybody who Supports Abortion or the Wrecking of the Institution of Holy
    Matrimony Must be Denied Holy Communion until and unless they show Genuine

  • John Dare

    Whats the penalty for beating a laundress?

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      John, I’d say that could come into the possibility of being a mortal sin, the penalty being the most serious possible. Anyone who receives Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin compounds the seriousness of the offense. Deacon Nick.

  • John Dare

    Good to know Nick. What happened to the Irish nuns in that repsect?

  • My MP was brought up a Catholic. I doubt he would be seen dead at mass these days.

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