Cardinal Sean Brady (head of the Irish Catholic bishops’ conference) stated that the Irish bishops have not considered barring pro-abortion politicians from receiving Communion.
Image above: Cardinal Sean Brady.
Pastor's Corner for Pentecost Sunday, May 19, 2013
Irish bishops will not refuse Communion to pro-abortionists
Cardinal Sean Brady, the head of the Irish Catholic bishops’ conference, has said that the Irish bishops have not considered barring politicians from receiving Communion who vote to legalize abortion.
On April 30th, the Irish coalition government introduced the "Protection of Life during Pregnancy" bill that proposes to allow direct abortion in Ireland for the first time in the country’s history. The bill will allow doctors to act directly to end the life of the child in cases where the mother's life is threatened, including if she threatens suicide.
The bishops issued a statement saying that "the bill as outlined represents a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law and is unnecessary to ensure that women receive the life-saving treatment they need during pregnancy." The bishops also expressed a concern that the bill will attempt to force Catholic hospitals to participate in abortion.
The statement urged Catholics to oppose the bill, "I say that they have an obligation to oppose the laws that are attacking something so fundamental as the right to life and they would have to follow their own conscience." Yet, Cardinal Brady assured politicians that there would likely be no consequences for them as Catholics if they support it with their votes, saying that among the bishops, "there would be a great reluctance to politicize the Eucharist."
This is a repeat of what happened in the US during the presidential campaign of 2004. Senator John Kerry, running for the Democrat party, was offered speaking engagements at Catholic venues while strongly supporting abortion and the goals of Planned Parenthood. So prominent has the problem become of openly pro-abortion politicians and the inaction of their pastors that in 2004 then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote a letter to the US bishops, through the intermediary of Washington’s Cardinal McCarrick, clarifying that they "must" refuse Communion to such "manifest grave sinners." In his letter, on the ‘Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion’, Cardinal Ratzinger said in no uncertain terms:
Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his 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.
When… 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.' This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. 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."
As Archbishop Raymond L. Burke put it on the same occasion:
Right reason …tells us that a bishop, if he truly cares for the flock, must admonish Catholic politicians 'who choose to depart from church teaching on the inviolability of human life in their public life' regarding 'the consequences for their own spiritual well being, as well as the scandal they risk by leading others into serious sin.' For a bishop or any pastor to exclude someone from Communion is always a source of great sorrow…. What would be profoundly more sorrowful would be the failure of a bishop to call a soul to conversion, the failure to protect the flock from scandal and the failure to safeguard the worthy reception of Communion.
With a hierarchy unwilling to robustly defend their faith, Fr. Blake, a popular UK clerical blogger, wrote it is no wonder that people have turned away from the Church and naturally are starting to look to other sources for moral guidance. Fr. Blake expressed his frustration with this commonly held opinion of Catholic bishops against "politicizing the Eucharist," saying, "Instead [Cardinal Brady] wishes to strip the Eucharist of any meaning of Communion, or morality and render it a meaningless ‘symbol’. What Brady seems to be suggesting is that there should be no connection with morality and belief," Fr. Blake added.
The strength of the evil people consists in the weakness of the good. When the good have no backbone to oppose the flood of sin and evil, it is a sure sign of decay and corruption. This refusal to hold the Catholic principles to the end could very well sign the beginning of the end for the ‘brave’ Irishmen.
1 Main source: "Irish bishops have not considered refusing Communion to pro-abortion politicians: cardinal" published at LifeSiteNews, May 9, 2013.