Author: Bishop Raymond Burke


Raymond Burke
Bishop of La Crosse

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. 383 §1). 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 §1). A 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.

Raymond Burke
Bishop of La Crosse

Benedict T. Nguyen

Used with permission.

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