The archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, said Wednesday that although the bishops have not excommunicated lawmakers who voted to legalize abortion in Mexico City, they “are impeded from receiving Communion.”
While fielding questions from reporters, the Mexican cardinal explained that while “nobody has sent a declaration to any politician or lawmaker,” it must be stated that “we also have to repeat what the traditional doctrine of the Church is: Voting for those kinds of laws is not compatible with the reception of Communion, which is not the same as excommunication.”
“We are saying that this way of thinking is not compatible with Eucharistic Communion, we are not going to deny them the Eucharist. Every human being can have the forgiveness of the Church and of God when there is repentance,” the cardinal explained.
Commenting on the statements by Pope Benedict XVI during his flight to Brazil, Cardinal Rivera underscored, “We feel very supported in our ministry because it is our duty to defend fundamental rights, as a integral part of the Gospel, and to proclaim the right to life.”
Cardinal Rivera denounced the legalization of abortion in Mexico City as “a decision made only by a select group of lawmakers who never once consulted with the people. This was the agenda of a group of lawmakers: first pass laws on homosexual unions, second pass laws on human life both on abortion and euthanasia, and this only by the representatives of the Federal District Assembly.”
The Church’s role is not to pass laws, he went on, but rather “to evangelize, to form consciences. Our task continues to be same. At no time do we see ourselves as victors nor we do we feel defeated. We are urged on by what is our right, which is to defend human rights,” the cardinal said.
Addressing the issue of freedom of expression, Cardinal Rivera stated, “I defend the right of all citizens to express themselves, the right to freedom of thought, freedom of expression. It’s not only a right of the press, it’s a right of every human being. Those who come together to defend life cannot be stripped of this right,” he said.
Asked about a final document of the 5th General Conference of the Latin American Bishops’ Council, the cardinal said, “As part of the Gospel, of the good news, of evangelization, we should include a call to defend the family structure, human life as a fundamental right. Why do I want the right to have food and to have housing if I don’t have the right to life?” he asked.
In commenting on conscientious objection, Cardinal Rivera underscored that the Church has always supported it “because nobody can act against his principles and convictions. Therefore the Church will continue to encourage those who have recourse to it. The very law passed in the Federal District allows for such action.”