Vatican City, Jun 16, 2004 / 22:00 pm
U.S. press has revealed today that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sent a letter to U.S. Bishops providing “guidance” to their deliberations in Denver concerning the question of denying Communion to pro-abortion public figures.
The “letter of guidance,” whose existence was first revealed by the New York Times on June 16, and then by the Italian media, would reaffirm the usual doctrine of the Catholic Church as expressed in Canon 915, according to which a person who publicly holds views which are discrepant with Catholic teaching may not receive Communion.
The Catholic doctrine also says that ministers of Communion must warn the persons in question that they may not go up to receive Communion unless they change their stand, and if, in spite of the warning, the person insists on receiving Communion, the minister of Communion has the duty to deny them.
According to the sources, letter would also say that denial of Communion is not a “punishment,” but in fact an act of charity in accordance to the doctrine that “whoever eats indignantly of this bread eats his own condemnation.”
Neither is it a judgment on the person’s conscience, but rather an action based on the objective sin and scandal involved.
It is likely that the bishops gathered in Denver until June 19 will release a statement on the issue of Communion.