Bishop Michael J. Sheridan of Colorado Springs issued a pastoral letter yesterday admonishing Catholics to refrain from receiving communion if they vote for politicians who support abortion rights, same-sex marriage, euthanasia or stem-cell research.
"Anyone who professes the Catholic faith with his lips while at the same time publicly supporting legislation or candidates that defy God's law makes a mockery of that faith and belies his identity as a Catholic," Bishop Sheridan wrote in the Archdiocesan Catholic newspaper.
Bishop Sheridan also wrote that the November elections were "critical" because for the first time since the Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court legalizing abortion in 1973, the number of abortions was declining. "We cannot allow the progress that has been made to be reversed by a pro-abortion president, Senate or House of Representatives," he added.
In the letter, the Bishop explains that Catholics who vote contrary to church teaching "jeopardize their salvation;” and they should refrain from receiving communion "until they have recanted their positions and been reconciled with God and the church in the sacrament of penance."
In a telephone interview with Laurie Goodstein from the New York Times, Bishop Sheridan clarified that, "I'm not making a political statement. I'm making a statement about church teaching."
In the interview with the New York Times, the bishop also said that his aim was to clarify the standards for Catholic voters and that he hoped they applied them in their choice of candidates. He said that on the "basic moral teachings of the church,'' there is no "wiggle room."
He also said he hoped to reform "cafeteria Catholics" who believe it is acceptable to pick and choose the doctrines with which they agree.
"I pray for them, but it could very well mean they're going to go their own way,'' he said.” “You never like to see it, but it happens."
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