The secretary general of the Bishops’ Conference of Spain, Auxiliary Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino of Madrid, said last week that Catholic politicians who vote in favor of abortion “must go to confession and publicly recant if they wish to receive Communion.”
“The objective state of sin is resolved by going to confession and publicly repairing the damage caused,” Bishop Martinez Camino said during a press conference at the close of the Spanish bishops’ 94th Plenary Assembly.
Bishop Camino’s comments came after the bishops passed a statement reiterating that “Catholics must recall,” if they vote for pro-choice measures, they are putting “themselves publicly in an objective state of sin, and as long as it endures, they cannot receive Holy Communion.”
Bishop Camino said the response of Catholics is one of “'yes' to the life of the innocent and defenseless, 'yes' to appropriate sexual education, 'yes' to pregnant women, who should be supported in their maternity, and 'yes' to just laws that support the common good and do not confuse injustice with rights.”
He stressed that the new abortion law proposed by the government would be “even more unjust” than the current law, and noted that the bishops have always addressed this issue from a non-political perspective.
The Spanish bishops also referred to a 2004 note from then-prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (today Benedict XVI), which stated that a Catholic who supports abortion or euthanasia cannot be admitted to Holy Communion. Cardinal Ratzinger wrote that “not all moral issues have the same weight as abortion and euthanasia,” which are quite different from the death penalty or war.
“All sins are detestable,” Bishop Camino pointed out, but “taking the life of an innocent being is a very grave sin.” “Some sins are of greater seriousness, other of less,” he added.