See also Bishop Burke's
On the Dignity of Human Life
and Civic Responsibility
As Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse, I am bound to be "solicitous for
all the faithful entrusted to [my] care" (Code of Canon Law, can.
With respect to the fundamental responsibility of safeguarding and
promoting the respect for human life, it is my duty
to explain, persuade, correct and admonish those in leadership positions
who contradict the Gospel of life through their action and policies"
(United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Living the Gospel of
Life: A Challenge to American Catholics [November 1998], n. 29).
His Holiness Pope John Paul
II, upholding the constant teaching of the Church, has frequently reminded
us that "those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a grave
and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life. For them,
as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote
for them" (Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation
of Catholics in political life [November 24, 2002], n. 4
Catholic legislator who supports procured abortion or euthanasia, after
knowing the teaching of the Church, commits a manifestly grave sin which
is a cause of most serious scandal to others. Therefore, universal Church
law provides that such persons "are not to be admitted to Holy Communion"
(Code of Canon Law, can. 915).
I hereby call upon Catholic
legislators, who are members of the faithful of the Diocese of La Crosse,
to uphold the natural and divine law regarding the inviolable dignity of
all human life. To fail to do so is a grave public sin and gives scandal
to all the faithful. Therefore, in accord with the norm of can. 915,
Catholic legislators, who are members of the faithful of the Diocese of La
Crosse and who continue to support procured abortion or euthanasia may not
present themselves to receive holy Communion. They are not to be admitted
to Holy Communion, should they present themselves, until such time as they
publically renounce their support of these most unjust practices.
I ask for the prayers of all
the faithful of the Diocese of La Crosse and of all people of good will
within the Diocese of La Crosse, that Catholic legislators who have
promoted procured abortion or euthanasia, with the help and under the
guidance of the Holy Spirit, may undergo a conversion of heart in this
most grave matter, so that human life may be protected and fostered in the
greatest way possible and these legislators may be admitted once more to
receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
Given at La Crosse, on the
twenty-third day of November, the Solemnity of Christ the King, in the
Year of the Lord 2003.
Bishop of La Crosse
Benedict T. Nguyen