Madrid, Spain, Apr 18, 2008 (CNA) - Various lay and religious organizations have organized a Vigil of Prayer for Spain on April 18, to pray for the difficult situation the country faces due to secularism and abortion.
The Vigil will have as a special intention the complete reversal of the country’s law on abortion, which has led to the deaths of millions of unborn babies since it was approved.
Participants will also be invited to pray for the strengthening of the family. Organizers point to the attacks of “rapid divorce” and the state-sponsored course “Education for Citizenship,” which usurps the rights of parents to decide what kind of moral formation their children should receive.
Prayers will also be offered for an end to terrorism and for the right to express one’s faith in the public square.
, Apr 18, 2008 (CNA) - A national pro-life student group denounced the actions of a Yale art student who claims to have artificially inseminated herself and then induced in herself several abortions as part of an art project. The national group, Students for Life America, has also called on abortion-rights organizations to condemn the student’s actions.
According to the April 17 edition of the Yale Daily News, a so-called art project of Yale senior Aliza Shvarts will display physical blood samples and videos of her abortions in the stated goal that the exhibit will "spark conversation and debate on the relationship between art and the human body." In the Yale Daily News article, Shvarts said she was not ashamed of the exhibition and has become “increasingly comfortable” discussing her induced miscarriages in everyday conversation.
"I feel that she is manipulating life for the benefit of her art, and I definitely don't support it. I think it's morally wrong," said Yale junior Jonathon Serrato, according to the Yale Daily News.
Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life America (SFLA), responded to the Yale Daily News report.
"I call on Planned Parenthood, NARAL, NOW and all other so-called pro-choice groups to condemn this. Abortion should never be trivialized as a matter of 'art'," Hawkins said.
"Why did the school officials and advisors not intervene with Shvarts' project?” she asked.
"By letting Shvarts to complete her 'art' project, Yale allowed Shvarts to put herself in serious medical risk. The student even remarked in the article that she did not see the need in consulting a physician prior to self-abortions because everything she used was legal.
Hawkins continued, saying "Shvarts' art project trivializes the pain many women feel when they experience miscarriages. She is recreating a natural tragedy for her own personal gain without regard for her children or herself.”
Hollywood, Calif., Apr 18, 2008 (CNA) - A controversial documentary alleging that scientists skeptical of aspects of Darwinian evolutionary theory have been unjustly suppressed and silenced will open in 1,000 movie theaters on Friday.
“Expelled,” a documentary featuring political and economics commentator Ben Stein, interviews several evolutionary biologists and other scientists, some of whom advocate the “Intelligent Design” theory. The theory posits that the naturalistic approach of Darwinian theory cannot account for all features of biological life, hypothesizing that an intelligent designer may have shaped these unaccountable biological features.
A press release from the filmmakers claims that the movie has been targeted with false accusations and that efforts have been made to encourage movie theaters not to show the film.
The movie has been endorsed by several religious and conservative leaders, including film critic Michael Medved, Chairman of Focus on the Family James Dobson, and Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus Carl Anderson.
, Apr 18, 2008 (CNA) - The Israeli Ambassador to the Netherlands Harry Kney-Tal on Wednesday presented to family members a certificate posthumously honoring two Dutch Christians who saved nearly 800 Jews during the Holocaust.
At a solemn ceremony in Harlem, Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, honored Casper ten Boom and his daughter Elisabeth with the title of “Righteous Among the Nations” for their life saving work. A third family member, Cornelia, also helped rescue those fleeing Nazi persecution.
Devout Christians, the ten Boom family participated in the resistance against the Nazis by sheltering both Jews and non-Jews who sought refuge. At the time of the family’s arrest in 1944, the Gestapo carefully searched the family’s house but did not discover the two Jewish men, the two Jewish women, and the two members of the Dutch underground hidden behind a false wall in Cornelia’s bedroom.
According to witnesses, Casper ten Boom was asked by his captors if he knew he could die for helping Jews. He replied, "It would be an honor to give my life for God's ancient people."
The ten Booms were sent to Scheveningen Prison in Holland, where 84-year-old Casper ten Boom died soon after being captured. Elizabeth and Cornelia were then sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany in September 1944. While Elizabeth died in the camp, Cornelia was released due to a clerical error in December 1944.
After the war, Cornelia ten Bloom, who went by the name “Corrie,” wrote about her and her family’s work in the book “The Hiding Place.” She began a worldwide ministry that took her to more than 60 countries. She was honored by Yad Vashem before her death in 1983 at the age of 91.
The ten Booms, a Christian Zionist family, had prayed weekly for peace in Jerusalem since 1844 until the family members’ arrest in 1944. Dr. Michael D. Evans, founder and chairman of the board of the Corrie ten Bloom House Foundation, has renewed the family’s tradition with the Jerusalem Prayer Team, which reportedly has encouraged millions of Christian Zionists in 200 countries to pray for peace in the Holy City.
, Apr 18, 2008 (CNA) - In a highly articulate speech on Friday, Pope Benedict XVI provided strong philosophical and moral arguments to make the point that human rights are inherent to human persons and not the fruit of an “agreement”. These rights, therefore, cannot be manipulated by ideological and pressure groups.
Human dignity is the foundation of rights, the Pope said, pointing out that the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the UN is celebrating this year, springs from this dignity.
The declaration, he recalled, “was the outcome of a convergence of different religious and cultural traditions, all of them motivated by the common desire to place the human person at the heart of institutions, laws and the workings of society, and to consider the human person essential for the world of culture, religion and science.”
As the international discussion on human rights develops, the Pope noted that these rights “are increasingly being presented as the common language and the ethical substratum of international relations”.
Indeed, Benedict XVI said, “the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights all serve as guarantees safeguarding human dignity. It is evident, though, that the rights recognized and expounded in the Declaration apply to everyone by virtue of the common origin of the person, who remains the high-point of God’s creative design for the world and for history.”
Human rights, the Holy Father said, have their origin in “the natural law inscribed on human hearts and present in different cultures and civilizations.”
These rights cannot be removed from the context of the natural law because that “would mean restricting their range and yielding to a relativistic conception, according to which the meaning and interpretation of rights could vary and their universality would be denied in the name of different cultural, political, social and even religious outlooks. This great variety of viewpoints must not be allowed to obscure the fact that not only rights are universal, but so too is the human person, the subject of those rights,” Pope Benedict XVI stressed.
A survey of “the life of the international community, both domestically and internationally, clearly demonstrates that respect for rights, and the guarantees that follow from them, are measures of the common good that serve to evaluate the relationship between justice and injustice, development and poverty, security and conflict,” he added.
“The promotion of human rights remains the most effective strategy for eliminating inequalities between countries and social groups, and for increasing security. Indeed, the victims of hardship and despair, whose human dignity is violated with impunity, become easy prey to the call to violence, and they can then become violators of peace,” the Pope said.
The Holy Father then told the UN that, “the common good that human rights help to accomplish cannot, however, be attained merely by applying correct procedures, nor even less by achieving a balance between competing rights.”
“The merit of the Universal Declaration is that it has enabled different cultures, juridical expressions and institutional models to converge around a fundamental nucleus of values, and hence of rights.”
However, the Pope noted that today some groups are attempting to reinterpret the Declaration in a way that “compromise[s] its inner unity so as to facilitate a move away from the protection of human dignity towards the satisfaction of simple interests, often particular interests.”
This is not how the Declaration should be interpreted, Benedict said.
Rather, it “was adopted as a ‘common standard of achievement’ (Preamble) and cannot be applied piecemeal, according to trends or selective choices that merely run the risk of contradicting the unity of the human person and thus the indivisibility of human rights,” he maintained.
“Experience shows,” the Pontiff said, “that legality often prevails over justice when the insistence upon rights makes them appear as the exclusive result of legislative enactments or normative decisions taken by the various agencies of those in power.”
Yet if these rights are based just on their authority as laws, “they risk becoming weak propositions divorced from the ethical and rational dimension which is their foundation and their goal.”
“Since rights and the resulting duties follow naturally from human interaction, it is easy to forget that they are the fruit of a commonly held sense of justice built primarily upon solidarity among the members of society, and hence valid at all times and for all peoples.”
Pope Benedict pointed out that this idea was expressed “as early as the fifth century by Augustine of Hippo” when he said: Do not do to others what you would not want done to you ‘cannot in any way vary according to the different understandings that have arisen in the world.’”
“Human rights, then, must be respected as an expression of justice, and not merely because they are enforceable through the will of the legislators,” the Pope told the UN.
He also commented on how discernment is necessary for determining if whether or not something is a right. “As history proceeds, new situations arise, and the attempt is made to link them to new rights. Discernment, that is, the capacity to distinguish good from evil, becomes even more essential in the context of demands that concern the very lives and conduct of persons, communities and peoples,” he noted.
This discernment is made possible by “a vision of life firmly anchored in the religious dimension can help to achieve this, since recognition of the transcendent value of every man and woman favors conversion of heart, which then leads to a commitment to resist violence, terrorism and war, and to promote justice and peace.”
The Pope's full address can be read here.
, Apr 18, 2008 (CNA) - Today Benedict XVI greeted the staff of the United Nations and spoke in an especially reflective manner of the similarities between the Holy See and the United Nations.
The Holy Father compared the Vatican Palace to the United Nations building as a reminder of the vast extent of the known world. At the United Nations, “we see images of the effects of war and poverty, we are reminded of our duty to strive for a better world, and we rejoice in the sheer diversity and exuberance of human culture.”
The people of the United Nations, according to the Holy Father, are frequently described, “As the family of nations.” The officials of the UN “constitute a microcosm of the whole world in which each individual makes an indispensible contribution.”
Pope Benedict concluded his remarks with an emphasis of the duty the staff of the United Nations has to “protect.” They have been given the responsibility to lay “the foundations of world peace.”
To read all of the Holy Father's remarks click here.
, Apr 18, 2008 (CNA) - Pope Benedict exhorted the UN this morning to focus more on promoting religious rights in its fight to promote human rights.
“Human rights, of course, must include the right to religious freedom,” he told the UN.
After pointing to the UN’s work to ensure “that public debate gives space to viewpoints inspired by a religious vision”, the Pope turned to how it should continue to promote religious freedom.
According to Benedict, a true view of religious freedom sees it as “inconceivable” that “believers should have to suppress a part of themselves – their faith – in order to be active citizens. It should never be necessary to deny God in order to enjoy one’s rights.”
When a secular environment becomes hostile to religion, “the rights associated with religion are all the more in need of protection if they are considered to clash with a prevailing secular ideology or with majority religious positions of an exclusive nature,” he said.
Religious freedom cannot be only relegated to allowing people to worship as the wish, Benedict XVI said. Rather, it “has to give due consideration to the public dimension of religion, and hence to the possibility of believers playing their part in building the social order.”
Believers are able to contribute to society by their “generous involvement in a vast network of initiatives which extend from Universities, scientific institutions and schools to health care agencies and charitable organizations in the service of the poorest and most marginalized.”
“Refusal to recognize the contribution to society that is rooted in the religious dimension and in the quest for the Absolute – by its nature, expressing communion between persons – would effectively privilege an individualistic approach, and would fragment the unity of the person.”
“My presence at this Assembly,” the Pope said, “is a sign of esteem for the United Nations, and it is intended to express the hope that the Organization will increasingly serve as a sign of unity between States and an instrument of service to the entire human family. It also demonstrates the willingness of the Catholic Church to offer her proper contribution to building international relations in a way that allows every person and every people to feel they can make a difference.”
Continuing on the papal trip’s theme of hope, Benedict XVI turned to his encyclical “Spe Salvi”.
He explained that in his encyclical, he pointed to the passage where he wrote, ‘every generation has the task of engaging anew in the arduous search for the right way to order human affairs’ (# 25). For Christians, this task is motivated by the hope drawn from the saving work of Jesus Christ.”
, Apr 18, 2008 (CNA) - The UN has the duty to protect life, but this duty should not be seen as permission for the international body to violate a state’s sovereignty, Pope Benedict told the world leaders this morning in New York.
The role that the UN has taken on recently of running peacekeeping missions is one way in which it helps protect the innate dignity of every man and woman, the Holy Father explained.
This, however, does not take away the duty of States to protect their citizens.
In fact, the Pope said that, “Every State has the primary duty to protect its own population from grave and sustained violations of human rights, as well as from the consequences of humanitarian crises, whether natural or man-made.”
Only when “States are unable to guarantee such protection,” should the international community intervene, said the Pope.
While some nations view intervention by the UN as an affront to their sovereignty, Benedict said that as long as the organization obeys the “principles undergirding the international order”, then their actions “should never be interpreted as an unwarranted imposition or a limitation of sovereignty.”
“On the contrary, it is indifference or failure to intervene that do the real damage,” the Pope asserted.
“What is needed is a deeper search for ways of pre-empting and managing conflicts by exploring every possible diplomatic avenue, and giving attention and encouragement to even the faintest sign of dialogue or desire for reconciliation.”
“The principle of ‘responsibility to protect’ … has to invoke the idea of the person as image of the Creator, the desire for the absolute and the essence of freedom, Benedict XVI continued.
“The founding of the United Nations, as we know, coincided with the profound upheavals that humanity experienced when reference to the meaning of transcendence and natural reason was abandoned, and in consequence, freedom and human dignity were grossly violated,” the Pope said recalling the circumstances following the World Wars.
In a critique of past UN performance, Benedict said, “When faced with new and insistent challenges, it is a mistake to fall back on a pragmatic approach, limited to determining "common ground", minimal in content and weak in its effect.”
, Apr 18, 2008 (CNA) - In his much anticipated address to the UN this morning, Pope Benedict XVI described how the current problems faced by the world require a collective response at the international level. Among the issues he cited were, development in Africa, scientific and medical advances and the defense of the family.
“The United Nations embodies the aspiration for a ‘greater degree of international ordering,’” the Holy Father quoted from Pope John Paul II. And yet, he said that while the UN is supposed to act out of a “multilateral consensus”, it often does not because its decisions are “still subordinated to the decisions of a few”.
What the world needs, said Benedict, are “interventions in the form of collective action by the international community.”
“Indeed, questions of security, development goals, reduction of local and global inequalities, protection of the environment, of resources and of the climate, require all international leaders to act jointly and to show a readiness to work in good faith, respecting the law, and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the planet. I am thinking especially of those countries in Africa and other parts of the world which remain on the margins of authentic integral development, and are therefore at risk of experiencing only the negative effects of globalization,” the Holy Father said.
“In the name of freedom,” Benedict XVI told the UN, “there has to be a correlation between rights and duties, by which every person is called to assume responsibility for his or her choices, made as a consequence of entering into relations with others.”
Being responsible for choices led the Pontiff to reflect on the use of scientific and technological advances.
“Notwithstanding the enormous benefits that humanity can gain, some instances of this represent a clear violation of the order of creation, to the point where not only is the sacred character of life contradicted, but the human person and the family are robbed of their natural identity," he said, pointing to attacks on life and the family.
“Likewise,” he reflected, “international action to preserve the environment and to protect various forms of life on earth must not only guarantee a rational use of technology and science, but must also rediscover the authentic image of creation. This never requires a choice to be made between science and ethics: rather it is a question of adopting a scientific method that is truly respectful of ethical imperatives.”
, Apr 18, 2008 (CNA) - On his way to an ecumenical prayer service at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Pope Benedict made a quick stop at Park East Synagogue and greeted the worshippers gathered there.
The Pope was greeted by the synagogue’s chief rabbi, who recalled the progress of Catholic-Jewish relations over the past 45 years and invoked the time of renewal marked by the Passover as a sign of hope for inter-religious dialogue.
“Shalom!” the Pope greeted the Jewish congregation with.
“It is with joy that I come here, just a few hours before the celebration of your Pesah, to express my respect and esteem for the Jewish community in New York City,” he said.
Benedict also reflected on the setting of his brief visit, saying, “I find it moving to recall that Jesus, as a young boy, heard the words of Scripture and prayed in a place such as this.”
He concluded his words with a word of encouragement for the synagogue.
“I know that the Jewish community make a valuable contribution to the life of the city, and I encourage all of you to continue building bridges of friendship with all the many different ethnic and religious groups present in your neighborhood. I assure you most especially of my closeness at this time, as you prepare to celebrate the great deeds of the Almighty, and to sing the praises of Him who has worked such wonders for his people. I would ask those of you who are present to pass on my greetings and good wishes to all the members of the Jewish community. Blessed be the name of the Lord!”
The two leaders also exchanged gifts. Pope Benedict gave Rabbi Schneier a medieval Jewish manuscript from the Vatican and Rabbi Schneier gave the Pope a golden plate used for the Passover celebration.
Before the Pope processed out of the synagogue, a group of children sang for him and presented him with a bouquet of flowers.
New York City, N.Y., Apr 18, 2008 (CNA) - Around 300 people involved in ecumenical dialogue gathered on Friday evening at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church to hear Pope Benedict speak to them about their efforts at strengthening Christian unity. The Pope told the congregation that the world needs to see the witness of a united Christian community and that this can only be achieved by a Christianity founded on a non-relativistic faith, a faith based on the certain teachings of the apostles.
The Holy Father began his address to the 250 Protestant and Orthodox leaders, who were joined by the 50 Catholics, by highlighting the impact of the ecumenical movement in the US saying, “The contribution of Christians in the United States to the ecumenical movement is felt throughout the world.”
Following a reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, the Pope said, “Paul's exhortation resounds with no less vigor today. His words instill in us the confidence that the Lord will never abandon us in our quest for unity. They also call us to live in a way that bears witness to the ‘one heart and mind’”.
This call now resounds in the context of a humanity being impacted by an increasingly globalized society, said Benedict.
“Globalization has humanity poised between two poles. On the one hand, there is a growing sense of interconnectedness and interdependency between peoples even when - geographically and culturally speaking - they are far apart. This new situation offers the potential for enhancing a sense of global solidarity and shared responsibility for the well-being of mankind. On the other hand, we cannot deny that the rapid changes occurring in our world also present some disturbing signs of fragmentation and a retreat into individualism.”
This situation makes “a faithful witness to the Gospel is as urgent as ever,” he stressed. In this context, “Christians are challenged to give a clear account of the hope that they hold,” the Pope said quoting the first letter of Peter.
Pointing to some Christian churches that change their beliefs by so-called ‘prophetic actions,’ he said that often their method of interpretation is inconsistent with Scripture and Tradition.
This lack of fidelity to apostolic teaching scandalizes non-Christians because “they observe the splintering of Christian communities, are understandably confused about the Gospel message itself,” the Pope said. This fracturing causes some communities to “consequently give up the attempt to act as a unified body, choosing instead to function according to the idea of "local options".
Yet, what is really needed, Benedict XVI explained, is a “persuasive common witness to the saving power of the Gospel.”
The early Christian community unwaveringly believed that “its unity was both caused by, and is reflective of, the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This, in turn, suggests that the internal cohesion of believers was based on the sound integrity of their doctrinal confession,” the Pope taught.
In fact, he noted, “the core of their argument was always the historical fact of Jesus' bodily resurrection from the tomb.”
Although some people teach that Christianity’s original message has lost its power in the modern world, the Pope was firm that it has not.
Instead, he said that we must ask whether the Gospel has been diluted by “a relativistic approach to Christian doctrine similar to that found in secular ideologies, which, in alleging that science alone is "objective", relegate religion entirely to the subjective sphere of individual feeling.”
The consequence of Christians accepting “this faulty line of reasoning”, the Pope said, is the “notion that there is little need to emphasize objective truth in the presentation of the Christian faith, for one need but follow his or her own conscience and choose a community that best suits his or her individual tastes. The result is seen in the continual proliferation of communities which often eschew institutional structures and minimize the importance of doctrinal content for Christian living.”
“Some within the ecumenical movement have been reluctant to assert the role of doctrine for fear that it would only exacerbate rather than heal the wounds of division,” Benedict XVI noted.
“Yet a clear, convincing testimony to the salvation wrought for us in Christ Jesus has to be based upon the notion of normative apostolic teaching: a teaching which indeed underlies the inspired word of God and sustains the sacramental life of Christians today.”
“This is the message which the world is waiting to hear from us,” Benedict said.
He closed his address with the words of Father Paul Wattson, a founder of the ecumenical movement, by praying that, with God’s grace “we will achieve the ‘oneness of hope, oneness of faith, and oneness of love’ that alone will convince the world that Jesus Christ is the one sent by the Father for the salvation of all.”
To read the speech in its entirety click here.
New Haven, Conn., Apr 18, 2008 (CNA) - The truth of a Yale art student’s claim that she artificially inseminated herself, induced miscarriages, and filmed the process for exhibition has been called into doubt. A spokesperson for the university characterized story as “performance art,” insisting there had been no self-impregnations and self-induced abortions.
The art student denied the university’s claim the story was an artistic hoax, saying the university was distancing itself from her project because of a “media frenzy.” However, the student admitted she was not sure whether she was ever pregnant when she supposedly attempted to induce the miscarriages.
Thursday news reports about art student Aliza Shvarts caused a storm of news coverage and commentary. Shvarts claimed the exhibit would "spark conversation and debate on the relationship between art and the human body," telling the Yale Daily News that she was not ashamed of the exhibition and had become “increasingly comfortable” discussing her induced miscarriages in everyday conversation.
Helaine Klasky, a Yale University spokesperson, said in a Thursday statement that Shvarts is “engaged in performance art.”
“Her art project includes visual representations, a press release and other narrative materials. She stated to three senior Yale University officials today, including two deans, that she did not impregnate herself and that she did not induce any miscarriages.”
“The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman's body. She is an artist and has the right to express herself through performance art.”
“Had these acts been real, they would have violated basic ethical standards and raised serious mental and physical health concerns."
Kristan Hawkins, director of Students for Life America, responded to Klasky’s statement:
“I am appalled that Yale University would allow a student to use the tragedy of miscarriage and abortion as a practical joke and then call it 'art.' If a male art student would have released that he planned to exhibit condoms he used to rape multiple women in an effort to produce shock, the American people and pro-choice feminist groups across the country would have demanded that the student apologize for his grotesque behavior and be severely reprimanded or expelled from school.”
Hawkins continued, saying, “Falsely announcing that one has taken several lives is unethical, and this girl has inflicted serious harm to the women of this country who have experienced the pain of miscarriage.”
According to the Yale Daily News, in a late Thursday interview Shvarts insisted her exhibit was not a hoax. She shared with reporters video she claimed depicted her self-induced attempts at miscarriage.
“No one can say with 100-percent certainty that anything in the piece did or did not happen.” Shvarts said. She added that she does not know whether she was ever pregnant. “The nature of the piece is that it did not consist of certainties,” she said.
In a statement issued just before midnight on Thursday, Yale spokeswoman Klasky said that Shvarts had promised that if the university revealed her alleged admission that her exhibit was merely a performance, she would deny the claim.
“Her denial is part of her performance,” Klasky wrote in an e-mail. “We are disappointed that she would deliberately lie to the press in the name of art.”
On Friday morning, Shvarts insisted the exhibit was not a hoax and claimed she had proceeded with the backing of university faculty. Shvarts said faculty supportive of her work included the dean of her residential college and at least two faculty members in the School of Art.
“I’m not going to absolve them by saying it was some sort of hoax when it wasn’t,” she said. “I started out with the University on board with what I was doing, and because of the media frenzy they’ve been trying to dissociate with me. Ultimately I want to get back to a point where they renew their support because ultimately this was something they supported.”
According to Shvarts, she planned in her exhibit to suspend from the gallery’s ceiling a large cube wrapped with hundreds of feet with plastic sheeting. The plastic sheeting, she claimed, would be lined with the blood from her self-induced miscarriages.
Shvarts claimed she planned to project on four sides of the cube the recorded video of herself during the miscarriages. She showed to Yale Daily News reporters elements she said were part of her planned exhibit, including footage of the alleged miscarriage attempts.
Washington D.C., Apr 18, 2008 (CNA) - At Thursday’s papal Mass at Nationals Park in Washington, some United States senators supportive of permissive abortion laws declined to present themselves to receive Holy Communion, while other pro-abortion senators went up to receive, LifeSiteNews reports.
According to photos taken by Tom McFadden, Director of Admissions at Christendom College, Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy remained seated as his row left to receive the Sacrament. However, the photos also show pro-abortion Senators John Kerry and Chris Dodd receiving Holy Communion.
Catholic pro-abortion politicians have been frequently advised and warned not to receive Holy Communion. A 2004 letter from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, sent by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, said such politicians “must” be refused communion. Cardinal Francis Arinze last November recently reiterated the prohibition, citing the same letter.
Pope Benedict himself addressed the topic in his March 2007 apostolic exhortation “Sacramentum Caritatis,” warning Catholics in general and Catholic politicians in particular not to receive Holy Communion unworthily. In the letter, he wrote that politicians must adhere to “non-negotiable” values, such as “respect for human life” and “its defense from conception to natural death.” Such politicians “must feel particularly bound” to “introduce and support laws inspired by values grounded in human nature.”
The Pope referenced 1 Corinthians 11:27-29, which discusses worthy reception of Holy Communion.
The American Life League had taken out full-page advertisements warning American politicians not to receive the Holy Eucharist “sacrilegiously.”