EDITOR’S NOTE: The three letters that follow discuss Catholics in public life who support the legal right to abortion. In a June 18 statement, the U.S. Catholic bishops said politicians who act “consistently to support abortion on demand” risk “cooperating in evil and sinning against the common good.
“Those who formulate the law” are obliged in conscience “to work toward correcting morally defective laws,” said the 1,000-word statement “Catholics in Political Life.”
“The killing of an unborn child is always intrinsically evil. … To make such intrinsically evil actions legal is itself wrong,” they said.
Regarding the denial of Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion on demand, the bishops said that “all must examine their consciences” about their worthiness to receive Communion, including with regard to “fidelity to the moral teaching of the church in personal and public life.”
“(G)iven the wide range of circumstances involved in arriving at a prudential judgment” in that matter, the bishops said they “recognize that such decisions rest with the individual bishop in accord with established canonical and pastoral principles.”
They urged Catholics in public life to protect the unborn and oppose legal abortion, and said they would counsel Catholic politicians who consistently work against restrictions on abortion that their support for abortion on demand “risks making them cooperators in evil in a public manner.”
On a related theme, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Administrative Committee quadrennial election-year statement “Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility” describes the USCCB positions on a range of public issues. The full texts of both documents are available on the Internet at www.usccb.org.
Where does the burden rest on worthiness for Communion?
To the editor:
I have been pondering for weeks whether I should, as a Catholic, voice my opinion concerning whether bishops of the Catholic Church should refuse Communion to a person who aborts a child or who votes to allow abortion to occur.
The question is not the right or wrong of bringing Communion to someone. The question should be reflected upon by each communicant, “Am I in the state of grace as I receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ?” If a person condones aborting a child, he/she is not in the state of grace they need to be to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the burden should not be placed on the minister as to whether the recipient is or is not in the state of grace to receive Communion.
However, is it not the responsibility of the Catholic bishops of the Universal Church to lead their flock according to the teachings of Jesus Christ? When a segment of the church leadership does not actively condemn the actions of abortion, by allowing each bishop to selectively decide whether to give Communion to a person who publicly condones abortion, is not the leadership relinquishing their responsibility and sending the wrong message to their flock?
Politican says ‘Don’t use Communion as political tool’
To the editor:
I am a product of 17 years of Catholic education; a lector and Trustee of my parish; a regular monetary contributor to church activities and enterprises; and a member of the Board of Trustees of a Catholic educational facility. I believe, with Catholic bishops and the Pope, that abortion is wrong and immoral as are capital punishment, the war in Iraq, and the failure to adequately feed, house and provide health care to the poorest members of our community.
However, just as my parents raised me in the Catholic Church, they also raised me in the Democratic Party and I am equally proud to call myself a politician.
I can no longer remain silent as elements in the Church seek to turn the Body and Blood of Christ into a political pawn for the benefit of certain Republican politicians.
I support the right of a woman to choose abortion. On this highly emotional and divisive issue, I believe, while personally having strong anti-abortion beliefs, that a woman should have the right to choose what is morally and physically right for her. I do not feel divinely empowered to make that choice for her!
What really appalls me is that while some want to deny the Eucharist to me — or even excommunicate me — there is no similar cry to deny the Eucharist to those who support the death penalty; to those who supported the war in Iraq; or to those who want to cut welfare and reduce Medicaid. The Pope and the bishops have properly spoken as fervently on these subjects as on the subject of abortion. The utter hypocrisy of this double standard is totally outrageous!
I will absent myself from the Eucharist when the supporters of the death penalty and the war in Iraq absent themselves from the Eucharist
Paul E. Haney
Let us choose candidates who can be trusted to protect life
To the editor:
For many Catholics, to abort or not to abort is part of a “woman’s right to choose.” As voters we can and do choose. We choose candidates as to whether they are strong on defense, or will grant the poor affordable housing, or are better for the environment. Whether they support abortion or not, however, trumps all of these choices.
Abortion outweighs everything else because it is a primordial evil, a mortal sin. When you choose it, you choose spiritual death, until you repent in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Furthermore, every future law chosen by your candidate which results in abortions will be with your formal compliance. Think about cloning, fetal experimentation, not to forget partial-birth abortion. Being pro-life, by contrast, is a non-negotiable trust.
Nor is this solely a Party matter. The Democrat Party platform totally supports abortion, but there are members of the Republican Party who are as virulently pro-abortion.
So let us choose by all means, but let us choose for that which we were created, namely, to increase life, not to be executioners. The future of this country hinges on your choice.
Jan E. Fredericks