In a statement sent to Catholic News Agency, Bishop Rene Gracida, emeritus of Corpus Christi (Texas), explained why there is no excuse to not deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians, and describes in detail a case he dealt with during his tenure as Bishop of Corpus Christi.
Bishop Gracida, with reference to the Code of Canon Law, the Scriptures, and the teaching of the Magisterium, clearly and unequivocally presents the Catholic Church’s prohibition against the reception of Holy Communion by pro-abortion Catholics.
Since this prohibition is based on divine revelation, writes Bishop Gracida, the Church, and therefore bishops and priests at the Communion rail, have no right to oppose it and have a duty to protect the Sacrament of the Eucharist – Christ Himself – from objective and grave sacrilege.
He staunchly affirms, in a paragraph clearly aimed at certain U.S. bishops and priests, that those “who maintain that they cannot support the refusing of Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians because the time of the distribution of Holy Communion is a time of unity in the Body of Christ are indeed relativizers of the objectively established precepts.”
The bishop charges that they are “guilty of relativizing the objectively based precepts” and thus they “directly relativize Truth Himself!”
The bishop states that “there can be no doubting that most of the major political figures who are on record publicly as favoring abortion-on-demand, euthanasia, cloning or fetal experimentation …qualify for being denied Holy Communion.”
However, he also states that “there is no need for public denial of Holy Communion…it can be carried out in complete privacy and confidentiality,” without requiring the “worst case scenario” of a loud public confrontation between a pro-abortion politician and the priest distributing communion.
Included in the bishop’s statement is a 1993 case history of his implementation of the Church’s prohibition against a self declared “very good Catholic” politician, a member of the House of Representatives of the Texas Legislature, who’s public support of abortion in an interview with the Corpus-Christi Caller Times – a strongly pro-abortion newspaper - constituted a public scandal.
Bishop Gracida wrote to the politician as his pastor, since he was domiciled in Corpus Christi, explaining Catholic teaching on the issue, and that no Catholic in good standing may hold views contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church. He invited him to meet with him with an aim to elicit a public retraction.
The politician never responded, nor did he respond to a letter sent six months later by Bishop Gracida after the same politician publicly re-affirmed his pro-abortion stance. In this letter the bishop warned him that if he did not repent, that he would have no choice but to impose an interdiction forbidding the man to receive the sacraments of the Eucharist or the Annointing of the Sick.
Therefore the interdiction was imposed, and, the bishop states, had not been lifted at the time of the man’s death in 2001. If the man had received Communion in the years before his death it would have been a further sacrilege.
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