FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
COMMUNION FOR PRO-ABORTS
December 2, 2014
I would say that Abp Cupich may be well-meaning but naive. Pastorally naive. Give communion to pro-abortion politicians in order “that grace would be instrumental in bringing people to the truth”? If communion has not made many Catholics (who are not in favor of that heinous and diabolical crime of abortion) move on in greater holiness of life (I am not being judgmental, but we can see what they continue to do), why do we expect communion to radically change a great non-repentant sinner (one who favors abortion)?
Of course, “where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more” (Rom 5:20b). But people misunderstand this. Paul makes it clear. “What then shall we say? Shall we persist in sin that grace may abound? Of course not!” (Rom 6:1). Repent of sin, then no matter how grave that sin is, the grace of God will suffice.
Aside from having no upside to communion for the great sinner, there are plenty of downsides. There is the scandal. There is the implicit acceptance of persisting in sin, without being called to repent. There is discouragement on those fervent Catholics who understand that their personal situation merits withholding communion and have accepted that. There is a demeaning of the Eucharist. There is the incurrence of further judgment and condemnation on self (see 1 Corinthians 11:27-29). There is the lack of true mercy, which is an invitation to repentance and conversion. There is the lack of pastoral wisdom in how a great and persistent sinner might be brought back to the faith, that is, by exclusion or excommunication (see 1 Corinthians 5:2c,5,13b).
The Code of Canon Law is perfectly clear. Canon 915 states: “Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.” Shall we now violate Church law? Shall we now overturn age-old teachings?
Why have I included this in this Synodos series? Because the same principles apply in considering communion for separated and divorced Catholics, who are living in a state of objective wrongdoing. I must say though that I have much more sympathy for such couples, as against pro-aborts. Further, the whole aspect of human sexuality which the anti-life, anti-family, homosexualist forces have distorted is for them one package that includes contraception, abortion, same-sex unions/marriage and euthanasia. Any retreat or weakness in one area will quickly open the doors to more diabolical moves by these forces.
Chicago’s Archbishop Cupich: Communion for pro-abortion politicians is a good thing
It was only in September when New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan said that debates over denying pro-abortion politicians Holy Communion were “in the past.” Those debates just got kick-started again over the weekend by the new archbishop of Chicago.
In a radical departure from the position of Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Blase Cupich — said to have been handpicked by Pope Francis for Chicago — has presented giving Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians as a positive move. Asked Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation if he would give Communion to pro-abortion politicians, the archbishop said he hoped the grace that comes to people from the Eucharist would bring them to the truth.
“So, when you say we cannot politicize the communion rail, you would give communion to politicians, for instance, who support abortion rights?” asked CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell.
“I would not use the Eucharist, or as they call it ‘the communion rail,’ as a place to have those discussions or way in which people would be either excluded from the life of the church,” replied the archbishop. “The Eucharist is an opportunity of grace and conversion; it’s also a time of forgiveness of sins, so my hope would be that that grace would be instrumental in bringing people to the truth.”
Despite the fact that the Vatican has repeatedly pointed to the need to deny Holy Communion in such circumstances, citing Scripture and canon law, the issue received hot debate in America in 2004 when former Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick headed up a panel of US Bishops looking into the matter. The bishops came out undecided because McCarrick concealed the Vatican position on the matter till after the conclusion of the debate.
It was none other than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, who submitted the Vatican position to the US Bishops in the later-leaked document “Worthiness to receive Holy Communion.” In the letter, Ratzinger noted a Catholic politician who would vote for “permissive abortion and euthanasia laws,” after being duly instructed and warned, “must” be denied Communion.
For the mainstream media, the decision to permit pro-abortion politicians to receive Holy Communion may be pastoral, loving, and merciful. However several bishops have explained that the denial of Holy Communion is instead the pastoral, loving approach since it calls the wayward politician back to the truth and helps them avoid sacrilege.
In his 2007 document on Holy Communion called The Sacrament of Love, Pope Benedict called Catholic politicians to “Eucharistic consistency” in adhering to non-negotiable values such as the sanctity of life and warned them by referencing the Biblical teaching that “he who eats and drinks (Holy Communion) unworthily, eat and drink judgment against himself.”
And while the mainstream media is pointing to Cupich’s stance as a reflection of Pope Francis on the matter, the Pope has not spoken on it. In fact, as cardinal in Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio promoted the Aparecida document that states in paragraph 436: “We should commit ourselves to ‘Eucharistic coherence,’ that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive Holy Communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortion, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals.”
Pro-life organizations around the world have said they share that pastoral concern for pro-abortion politicians. Fifty-two pro-life leaders from 16 nations at the recent Rome Life Forum called on the bishops of the Catholic Church to honour Canon 915 and withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians as an act of love and mercy.
The Archdiocese of Chicago did not return a call from LifeSiteNews for comment on this story.
* * *