St. Louis, Mo., Sep 5, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis is set to release a new pastoral letter, clarifying his stance about denying Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion and Catholics who vote for them.
In June, Archbishop Burke had said Catholics who vote for pro-abortion politicians were committing a grave sin and must confess before receiving Communion.
He had told the Post-Dispatch that "it doesn't make a lot of difference" why a Catholic votes for a pro-abortion politician. "If the voter is aware of that politician's pro-abortion position, they would still be supporting someone, who is cooperating in the promotion of abortion," he said.
But in an interview Thursday, Archbishop Burke told the Post-Dispatch that while he has not changed his position, he said he felt he had to clarify.
The archbishop told a reporter that he believes Catholics could vote for a politician who supports abortion rights as long as that's not the reason they are voting for the candidate, and they believe the politician's stance on other moral issues outweighs the abortion issue.
"That is called remote material cooperation and if the reasons are really proportionate, and the person remains clear about his or her opposition to abortion, that can be done," the archbishop told the Post-Dispatch.
"The sticking point is this - and this is the hard part," Archbishop Burke was quoted as saying. "What is a proportionate reason to justify favoring the taking of an innocent, defenseless human life? And I just leave that to you as a question. That's the question that has to be answered in your conscience. What is the proportionate reason?
One of the reasons the bishop did not discuss this point in June is because "it is difficult to imagine what that proportionate reason would be," he said.