In a letter to the Arizona Republic, Bishop of Phoenix Thomas J. Olmsted said yesterday that an article printed by the newspaper on May 21 under the title “Bishops won’t link politics, Communion” misrepresents his position on the issue.
The Arizona Republic's article authored by Michael Clancy reported that "Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix said that instead of refusing to offer Communion, he will attempt to use persuasion to educate politicians about church teachings."
Clancy also said that "Olmsted's position puts him at odds with several conservative bishops, including Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis and Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs, who in a letter earlier this week said any Catholic who votes for a politician who backs abortion rights cannot receive Communion."
In his response to the article, Bishop Olmsted wrote that "abortion is the killing of a completely innocent life and thus bad news for both unborn children and their mothers. It is a horrible wrong. It is intrinsically evil. We have a serious obligation to protect human life, and especially the most innocent and vulnerable."
"Whoever fails to do this, especially when they are able to do so, commits serious sins of omission. They jeopardize their own spiritual well being and they are a source of scandal for others. Should they be Catholics, they should not receive Holy Communion," the Bishop adds.
The Bishop's statement also says that "no one who is conscious of having committed a serious sin should receive Holy Communion. For the Eucharist is the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, our most precious gift in the Church."
Bishop Olmsted calls upon all Catholics, "especially those in public life, to examine their consciences, and to refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they are unambiguously pro-abortion. As a bishop, I shall continue to pray for an end to abortion and other sins against life; I shall stand up for the life and dignity of every human person and I urge all people of good will to do the same."
"Should some Catholic politicians who are presently pro-abortion obstinately persist in this contradiction to our faith, this becomes a source of scandal and measures beyond those of moral persuasion would be needed," the Bishop's letter concludes.