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.