Greensburg, Pa., Sep 6, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Catholic politicians who support abortion rights should not receive Communion, but that decision should be left to the politician to make, not to the bishop or priest, said Bishop Lawrence Brandt of Greensburg in a pastoral letter this week.
The recently appointed bishop of this small Pennsylvania diocese wrote the letter, he said, “in an effort to clarify the Catholic Church's teaching as it relates to certain issues which have emerged as a result of this year's election campaigns.”
In the letter, titled “Integrity and the Political Arena,” the bishop wrote that a Catholic politician who has “an established pattern of voting in favor of abortion legislation and an established pattern of public rejection of a core teaching of the Church” is “engaged in public cooperation with a grave moral evil.”
“A pattern of public cooperation in grave evil inevitably calls into extreme question one's worthiness to receive Holy Communion,” he said. “A pattern of public rejection of a core doctrinal holding of the Catholic Church separates one in a fundamental way from the communion of faith, which is the Catholic Church.