U.S. Bishops Address Catholic Politicians and Voters

Bishops, Various

1. Bishop Raymond L. Burke - On the Dignity of Human Life and Civic Responsibility
On 8 Jan 2004 Bishop Raymond L. Burke of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, published a pastoral letter to Catholics in his Diocese on their political responsibility in upholding the value of human life. The Bishop also issued a canonical notification that Catholic lawmakers who continue to support procured abortion or euthanasia may not receive Holy Communion. See also Bishop Burke's Notification.

2. Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. - How to Tell a Duck From a Fox
In his weekly column (14 April 2004) for the Denver Catholic Register, Archbishop Chaput warns Catholic voters that not all politicians claiming to be Catholic, act like Catholics in office, particularly in legislating against human life.

3. Bishop Samuel J. Aquila - 3rd Sunday of Easter, April 25, 2004
In view of Catholic politicians claiming to believe one thing while publicly supporting another, Bishop Aquila, of Fargo, North Dakota, presents the Church's teaching on the proper relationship between our faith and professional life.

4. Most Reverend Michael J. Sheridan - On the Duties of Catholic Politicians and Voters
In a Pastoral Letter to his Diocese (1 May 2004), Bishop Sheridan of Colorado Springs clearly states that not only Catholic politicians who advocate abortion, illicit stem cell research, euthanasia, and/or homosexual marriage, but those who vote for them, "jeopardize their salvation" and may not receive Holy Communion until they have repented of their sin and confessed it in the Sacrament of Penance.

5. Bishop Thomas Wenski - Politicians and Communion
Bishop Wenski, the coadjutor bishop of Orlando Florida, has published a pastoral statement (3 May 2004) in which he compares the position of some Catholic politicians, (personally opposed to abortion, but don't want to impose their views on others,) to the stance of Pontius Pilate, who was personally opposed to Christ's crucifixion.

6. The Most Reverend John J. Myers - A Time for Honesty
In a Pastoral Statement, printed in The Catholic Advocate (5 May 2004), the archdiocesan newspaper, Archbishop John Myers of Newark, wrote, "That some Catholics, who claim to believe what the Church believes, are willing to allow others to continue directly to kill the innocent is a grave scandal." Covered in his Statement were the personal and communal aspects of faith, the correct development of conscience and the nature of dissent, the meaning and purpose of the Eucharist, the dignity of human life from conception to natural death, and the grave injustice of abortion.

7. Most Reverend John Vlasny - Public Dissenters Should Themselves Refrain From Communion
In the 6 May 2004 issue of the Catholic Sentinel, Archbishop Vlasny, of the Portland, Oregon, addressed the problem of "reception of Holy Communion by those who stand in public opposition to church teaching" on abortion and other moral issues. They should themselves refrain from receiving Communion, rather than approaching the altar, since they are not living in communion with the Church.

8. Most Reverend Elden F. Curtiss - The Candidacy of John Kerry: A Dilemma for Catholics
In a pastoral letter of 7 May 2004, Archbishop Curtiss refuted the specious argument that a Catholic politician may have personal moral beliefs based on Church teaching, and yet support legislation directly to the contrary, as if that were required by the "separation of Church and State."

9. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick - If the World Loves You
In a statement dated 13 May 2004, Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington DC, demonstrates the impropriety of "pro-choice" Catholic politicians receiving Holy Communion, while placing the responsibility on them not to approach the Sacrament.

10. Cardinal Dulles on Communion and Pro-Abortion Politicians
Cardinal Dulles, Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham University, shared with ZENIT what important steps need to be taken to defend human life, protect the sacraments, uphold the teachings of the Church and respond to pro-abortion politicians.

11. Archbishop John F. Donoghue, Bishop Robert J. Baker, Bishop Peter J. Jugis -
Worthy to Receive the Lamb: Catholics in Political Life and the Reception of Holy Communion

On 4 August 2004, the Archbishop of Atlanta and the Bishops of Charleston and Charlotte declared that
"Catholics serving in public life espousing positions contrary to the teaching of the Church on the sanctity and inviolability of human life, especially those running for or elected to public office, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in any Catholic church within our jurisdictions."

12. The Responsibility To Have a Well Informed Faith Life - Bishop Robert J. Carlson
In a recent bulletin to his diocese, the Bishop of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, declared that "o
pposition to abortion binds every Catholic under pain of mortal sin and admits of no exceptions." Catholics need to have their consciences formed not by popular opinion or an article in a newsmagazine, but by Scripture and the teaching of the Church.


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