“I would exhort us all to remember the Eucharistic martyrs who died to protect the Most Blessed Sacrament from profanation,” he added.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2271 states, “From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person.”
“Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense,” the catechism states.
Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in his 2004 letter to then-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, referred to a politician’s consistent “campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws” as “formal cooperation” in the “grave sin” of abortion
The 60 members pointed to other “policies contrary to the Church teachings,” including support for the death penalty, separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, denial of asylum, and reducing food assistance to the poor.
“No elected officials have been threatened with being denied the Eucharist” for supporting these policies, they stated.
“We believe the separation of church and state allows for our faith to inform our public duties and best serve our constituents,” they said.
The members issued their statement as the U.S. bishops met virtually this week for their annual spring general assembly. At their meeting, the bishops debated drafting a document on the Eucharist, which would include a sub-section on “Eucharistic coherence,” or worthiness to receive Communion.
In a proposed outline of the document, the bishops’ doctrine committee cited the special need for Catholic public officials to uphold Church teaching in public life.
On Friday, President Joe Biden was asked about a "resolution" of the U.S. bishops to deny him and other pro-abortion politicians Communion – even though their vote this week was on drafting the teaching document, not any national policy of denying Communion.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
“That’s a private matter and I don’t think that is going to happen,” Biden said.
Individual bishops have made statements recently that, according to canon law, Catholic public officials cannot present themselves for Communion when they publicly support permissive laws on grave evils such as abortion and euthanasia.
According to a 2004 instruction by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, pastors and bishops must speak to such public officials in their jurisdictions, informing them that their positions are contrary to Church teaching and instructing them that they are not to receive Communion.
If the officials persist in their positions, then the minister of Communion must not distribute it to them, he said. Cardinal Ratzinger’s memo was an implementation of canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law.
The members, in Friday’s statement, stated that their faith informs their actions, through “helping the poor, disadvantaged, and the oppressed, protecting the least among us, and ensuring that all Americans of every faith are given meaningful opportunities to share in the blessings of this great country.”
“We believe the Church as a community is called to be in the vanguard of creating a more just America and world. And as such, we have a claim on the Church's bearing as it does on ours,” they stated.