Vatican guidelines on Holy Communion for politicians

Vatican guidelines on Holy Communion for politicians

Vincent Bemowski

The American Catholic bishops have been misled regarding Vatican guidelines on the reception of Holy Communion by Catholic politicians. Consider the following:

'It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the Magisterium is totally compatible with being a 'good Catholic' and poses no obstacle to the reception of the sacraments. This is a grave error' (Pope John Paul II, Los Angeles speech to US bishops, 16 September 1987).

In June 2004 Cardinal Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) sent a memorandum to Cardinal McCarrick that offered guidelines to bishops for discussing the Communion/abortion issue at their meeting near Denver. However, Cardinal McCarrick did not reveal critical contents of the covering letter to the bishops, but instead suggested each bishop decide for himself the action to be taken.

Here are some of the key points in that covering letter:

1. In the case of abortion or euthanasia, a Catholic politician manifests 'formal cooperation' in grave sins by 'consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws.'

2. The politician's pastor should 'meet with him, instructing him about the Church's teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.'

3. When these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible, and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.'

4. 'Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person's subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person's public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.'

Unfortunately, a number of two-faced 'Catholic' politicians (especially in the Democratic Party) are taking advantage of this confusion.

Menasha, Wisconsin, US

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