In his own apostolic letter from early April, Olmsted wrote that Catholic teaching sees the Eucharist as Christ’s transformative sacrifice on the cross, and that Holy Communion must only be received worthily. The Church teaches that to receive Communion, baptized Catholics must not be conscious of having committed serious sin since their last confession.
This teaching is not “partisan,” Olmsted wrote, adding that it certainly applies to political leaders who back evils such as abortion and euthanasia.
“Holy Communion is reserved for those, who with God’s grace make a sincere effort to live this union with Christ and His Church by adhering to all that the Catholic Church believes and proclaims to be revealed by God,” Bishop Olmsted wrote, explaining that Church teaching on this has “always been clear and based on Scripture.”
This is why the Church “requires Catholic leaders who have publicly supported gravely immoral laws such as abortion and euthanasia to refrain from receiving Holy Communion until they publicly repent and receive the Sacrament of Penance,” he said.
Olmsted recommended that all Catholics read Cordileone’s letter, as well as “all people of good will who desire to know why the Church cannot and will not change her traditional defense of motherhood and the most vulnerable in the womb.”
The bishop also recommended that the faithful read a recent article on the matter penned by Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila.
“When the church minimizes the danger of an unworthy reception of the Eucharist, she fails to properly love those who continue to jeopardize their souls,” Archbishop Aquila wrote in his April 14 article published in America magazine.
“Trading ‘civility’ and ‘engagement’ for eternal life is not a good trade, and it is especially negligent for me, as a bishop, to remain quiet when people I am called to love may be endangering their eternal souls. This is a danger to them and a danger to me,” he wrote.
Individual bishops have spoken and written on the topic of “Eucharistic coherence” in recent months.
In March, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois told a regional conference of the Canon Law Society of America that Catholics who publicly and obstinately advocate for abortion, including politicians, can and should be denied Communion under canon law.
“I'm talking about their external actions. If they're living in a way or holding positions that are contrary to church teaching, then the Minister of Communion has to deny them the sacrament,” Paprocki said.
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During his homily at the Vigil Mass for Life in January, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas taught that Catholics should not receive Communion if they are contradicting “fundamental” Church teaching.
However, both Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C. and Bishop William Malooly of Wilmington, Delaware - Biden’s home diocese - have said in the past that they would not deny Communion to a politician who consistently works toward permissive abortion laws or policies.
Msgr. William Koenig was chosen last month as the new bishop of Wilmington, with his episcopal ordination scheduled for July 13.
Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego also said at a February online dialogue that denying Communion to obstinately pro-abortion Catholic politicians would be interpreted as “a weaponization of the Eucharist.” He said that bishops teaching about “Eucharistic coherence” in the Biden presidency was not a “good idea.”
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