A newly released video of a 2007 appearance of Francis Cardinal Arinze shows the cardinal addressing the issue of Catholic politicians who support permissive abortion laws but also present themselves for Holy Communion.
Speaking in a “Question and Answer” session at gathering for Familyland USA in 2007, the cardinal said the answer to the question was so obvious that even children preparing for First Communion could answer it correctly.
In a satirical manner, Cardinal Arinze criticized a standard pro-abortion political argument.
“To the person who says, ‘Personally, I am against abortion, but then if people really want to do it I leave them free’ you can say ‘You are a member of the senate or the congress.
“‘Personally I am not in favor of shooting the whole lot of you, but if somebody else wants to shoot all of you in the senate or all of you in the congress, it’s just pro-choice for that.
“’But personally I’m not in favor.’
“That is what they are saying,” the cardinal argued.
“They are saying that personally, he is not in favor of killing these millions of children in the womb, but if others want to do it, he is pro-choice.”
Cardinal Arinze made a joking aside, saying, “And then you ask me ‘What does the Holy See do, why doesn’t the Pope send a dozen Swiss Guards to arrest them all’.”
The cardinal continued, “You may have heard about the letter that the present Holy Father, as prefect of the Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith, sent to American bishops on that issue.
The letter, which was issued in 2002, addresses the “cultural relativism that exists today” and condemns “the opinion expressed in the public sphere that such ethical pluralism is the very condition for democracy”. It also goes on to elaborate the obligations of Catholics in this cultural situation, focusing on life issues.
“So the matter is very clear,” Cardinal Arinze said.
The cardinal noted that he is often asked if a politician who votes for abortion should receive Holy Communion.
He said his reply was, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”
“Get the children for first communion and say to them, somebody votes for the killing of unborn babies, and says, I voted for that, I will vote for that every time and these babies are killed, not one or two, but in millions, and that person says I am a practicing Catholic, should that person receive communion next Sunday?
“The children for first communion will answer that at the drop of a hat. You don’t need a cardinal to answer that.”