...The Church teaches that the right to life is fundamental. Without life, there are no other rights. To support abortion is a grave moral evil. Why would a Catholic be surprised when the Pope says that anyone who freely and knowingly commits a serious wrong, that is, a mortal sin, should not approach the Eucharist until going to Confession? The Eucharist is the summit and source of the Church’s life. The Church guides the faithful in the correct formation of their conscience. She offers both the objective norms of morality and the norms for worthy reception of the Eucharist.
In his response to the reporter’s question, the Pope was not placing religious sanctions in the political arena, as these politicians stated. He was teaching religious doctrine in a religious context, that is, the worthiness to receive the Eucharist, the Body of Christ, who is the Lord of life. He is right when he insists that supporting abortion is incompatible with the reception of Holy Communion.
In recent guidelines provided by the bishops of the United States to help Catholics to prepare for the worthy reception of Holy Communion, the bishops said, “If a Catholic in his or her personal or professional life were knowingly and obstinately to reject the defined doctrines of the Church, or knowingly and obstinately to repudiate her definitive teaching on moral issues, however, he or she would seriously diminish his or her Communion with the Church. Reception of Holy Communion in such a situation would not accord with the nature of the Eucharistic celebration, so that he or she should refrain” (Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper, 4). By steadfastly choosing to be pro-choice, a Catholic -- politician or not -- excludes himself or herself from communion.
Today not only is the taking of so many innocent lives alarming, but no less unsettling is the darkening of conscience among so many who find “it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life” (Evangelium Vitae, 4).
Why should the Church not have a right to voice her teaching on this important issue in the public square? She must speak and speak often. Abortion may be for some just a political issue. But, for the innocent child, it is a matter of life or death.
Ultimately, the statement of the 18 politicians who publicly blasted the Holy Father is simply a refusal to allow the Pope freedom of speech and the Church freedom of religion. Now how American is that?
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
When I read this one I knew I had to post it. Here are some excerpts, but please do read the whole thing: