An Associated Press report reveals that Catholic lawmakers are ignoring the U.S. bishops’ statements that those who support abortion should not receive Communion. The report, based on interviews with 75 Catholic politicians and published yesterday, also reveals that Catholic politicians do not believe voting for abortion jeopardizes their standing in the Church.
At the end of their plenary in June, the U.S. bishops issued a statement that lawmakers, who consistently support abortion, risk "cooperating in evil" and must examine whether they should receive the sacrament.
However, many of the politicians interviewed said they would not change how they worship and resented attempts to link the Communion to politics.
Virginia Lt. Gov Tim Kaine, who supports abortion rights with restrictions requiring parental consent for minors and banning late-term abortions, told the AP that he believes he is in accordance with Church teaching.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio said he would refrain from taking Communion at the request of his bishop, but his bishop has not asked him to do so.
U.S. Rep. James Langevin, a Democrat from Rhode Island, said he believes abortion should be allowed only in cases of rape, incest or if a mother's life is in danger. "I am very comfortable with my status, and quite frankly, my relationship with God is direct and personal and the Church is merely a guest in that relationship," he told the AP.
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said she respects the Church’s view that abortion is wrong, but as a senator, she would “not make criminals of those women who do not agree with the Catholic Church's position."
Republican New York Gov. George Pataki and Democratic U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy from Vermont told the AP that their faith was a personal matter and declined to comment.