Olmsted says this teaching applies to all Catholics – not just public figures who cooperate in the evil of abortion by supporting permissive abortion laws.
“We don’t want to single out any one group,” he said. “Especially as we come out of this time of COVID, we need to rediscover and have a much deeper awe and wonder at the mystery of the Real Presence of Christ with us.”
Last week, the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, sent a letter to Archbishop Jose Gomez on the matter of Communion and Catholic politicians who support permissive legislation on grave evils.
Cardinal Ladaria instructed the U.S. bishops, before issuing any “national policy” on Communion, to first have a “serene” dialogue among themselves and ensure unity on the Church’s teachings against pro-abortion laws.
Then the bishops should dialogue with Catholic politicians who support policies contrary to Church teaching. After that, the Vatican said, bishops could determine the next course of action to teach on the Eucharist – while respecting the rights of local ordinaries, framing the discussion within the larger context of general worthiness to receive Communion, and avoiding the appearance of narrowing the Church’s focus to only one or two issues such as abortion.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a Catholic who is pro-abortion, said on Thursday she was “pleased” at the document which she claimed “basically said ‘don’t be divisive on the subject’.”
Bishop Olmsted refuted notions that the Vatican document instructed the bishops to not speak out on Catholic politicians supporting pro-abortion policies.
“As I read the statement, it doesn’t say that at all,” he said. “It encourages us, as we certainly desire to do, to be listening to one another as bishops and conversing with one another, and also listening and being in conversation with those who are not following the Church’s teaching.”
“That’s part of how fraternal correction, or correction from a bishop to one of the laity, should take place, I think,” he said.
Abortion is of “preeminent” concern to the U.S. bishops’ conference, he said. “And it’s something that’s also stated very clearly by Pope Francis, when we visited him in Rome,” he added.
Public figures are in a position to protect innocent lives, including the unborn, he emphasized.
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“And the least, the most vulnerable, the most innocent, is the unborn child,” he said.