Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington D.C. has recommended that the Catholic Church forcefully preach the pro-life message to presidential candidates rather than following Archbishop Burke’s suggestion of denying them Communion.
This comes after Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis stated that he would refuse communion to those in grave sin, especially political leaders, as it is the moral duty of the Eucharistic minister “to respect the holiness of the Sacrament, to safeguard the salvation of the soul of the party presenting himself to receive Holy Communion, and to avoid scandal.”
McCarrick disagreed, telling the AP, that while he “very much respect[s] his position,” he would rather work to persuade politicians to consider a pro-life view.
This isn’t the first time the cardinal and archbishop have disagreed over this issue. In 2004, two years before his retirement, then Archbishop McCarrick stated his opposition to pro-abortion politicians receiving communion, but that he would not be “comfortable” refusing them.
This caused Cardinal Ratzinger to weigh in on the issue, who cited the Catholic Church’s Canon Law number 915 that says, “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”
McCarrick also commented on the leading candidates for the major parties, particularly noting that no candidate falls completely in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Catholics are left to their own consciences to make the right choice, and while abortion, euthanasia and the death penalty are important teachings, they do not encompass all Catholic beliefs.
"You cannot be authentically Catholic if you do not support life, yet it is not enough just to support life, you have to go beyond that," Cardinal McCarrick said. "To really be authentically Catholic, you need it and the family rights, the right to education, the right to take care of the poor, the right of migrants."
McCarrick, 77, stepped down from the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. last year, but he is still active in promoting certain church issues and as a member of the College of Cardinals.