As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is winding up their spring meeting in Denver, a statement on Communion and Catholic public figures is expected today.
At issue is the interpretation and application in the US dioceses of Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law, which reads: “those who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis said on Thursday that despite “a difference of opinion” he expects the statement on Communion and Catholic politicians will come today from the nation's bishops.
Last November, Archbishop Burke, while still bishop of La Crosse, Wis., notified his diocese that Catholic politicians who support abortion “are not to be admitted to Holy Communion . . . until such time as they publicly renounce their support of these most unjust practices.”
He said he could never in good conscience retreat from his position, which is that Catholic politicians who support or vote for abortion rights “persist in a gravely sinful act,” and if they will not refrain from Communion themselves, the church must refuse them.
“I have to do what I know to be right,” Burke said. “If the statement says that it's the responsibility of each bishop (to act) with regard to the legislators in his pastoral care - that's fine. I've said that repeatedly.”
NOTE: Catholic News Agency will immediately deliver the statement as soon as it is made public.