“While there are many serious sins that diminish our worthiness to receive the Eucharist, only the gravest sins extinguish that worthiness entirely,” he noted.
“As a body of bishops we have read ‘the signs of the times’, recognized that abortion is the great evil of our culture, and called it out as such for decades….Pro-abortion political leaders have not heeded these calls, and now we seek to apply the last remaining and most severe medicinal option we have: eucharistic sanctions.”
Bishop Wall concluded by highlighting the importance of bishops calling the people they shepherd back into a state of grace if they have committed mortal sin.
“Bishop McElroy examines the arguments for denying communion to pro-abortion politicians and asks, How many Catholic political leaders of either party could pass that test?’ I would suggest that this is the wrong question,” Bishop Wall concluded.
“Jesus was not interested in numbers, but in the salvation of souls. A better question might be, ‘Have I done absolutely everything I can as a bishop to try to bring all pro-abortion Catholic politicians in my flock back into a state of grace?’”
Father Thomas Weinandy, OFM Cap., a prominent theologian and a member of the International Theological Commission, said in an essay earlier this month that dissenting Catholic politicians abuse and politicize the Eucharist when they receive the sacrament while promoting policies and actions contrary to the faith, such as legal abortion.
Catholic politicians who reject Church teaching but then present themselves for Holy Communion “are using – and so abusing – the Eucharist for seemingly political purposes – to present themselves as ‘devout’ Catholics,” Fr. Weinandy wrote in a May 1 essay for The Catholic Thing.
Biden has publicly advocated for protection of legal abortion, including the codification of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion nationwide. Biden has also supported taxpayer funding of elective abortions, and has taken action as president to allow for taxpayer funding of pro-abortion groups in the United States and abroad.
The bishops of the United States may address the topic of “Eucharistic coherence” at their spring meeting next month.
Earlier in May, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote to the head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding admission to Communion, advising that bishops should affirm as a conference that ‘those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life.’”
The prefect, Luis Cardinal Ladaria, added that “any statement of the Conference regarding Catholic political leaders would best be framed within the broad context of worthiness for the reception of Holy Communion on the part of all the faithful, rather than only one category of Catholic, reflecting their obligation to conform their lives to the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ as they prepare to receive the sacrament.”
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Numerous U.S. bishops have spoken out in recent months on the topic of whether public figures who persist in manifest grave sin should be admitted to Holy Communion.
Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, writing in America Magazine last month, said that those who receive Holy Communion, including politicians, must adhere to Catholic doctrinal and moral teaching. Otherwise, they would go against St. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians, which say that whoever eats and drinks unworthily will be “guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord'' and bring “judgment upon himself.”
Blase Cardinal Cupich of Chicago responded to Archbishop Aquila’s essay by suggesting that it violated Catholic sacramental principles, like the idea that the sacraments are based on the power of God, and cannot be diminished by either the celebrant or recipient.
Archbishop Aquila responded that the benefit of the sacrament of the Eucharist depends on the subjective disposition of the person receiving it.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco wrote in a May 1 pastoral letter that any Catholic cooperating with the evil of abortion should refrain from receiving the Eucharist. He included a section on Catholic public officials who advocate for abortion.
“Please stop pretending that advocating for or practicing a grave moral evil – one that snuffs out an innocent human life, one that denies a fundamental human right – is somehow compatible with the Catholic faith. It is not. Please return home to the fullness of your Catholic faith,” he wrote.