The Irish Independent Feb 6th published a report on the Cardinal Burke story we reported on Feb 4th. The report under the title ‘Priests told: deny communion to TDs who support abortion’, quotes His Eminence as saying that in accordance with Canon Law, (1) priests should exclude politicians who support abortion from receiving communion, and (2) that the local bishop should "teach clearly in the matter" and (3) should encourage his priests to make sure that the church's discipline is observed.Catholic Church teaching on issues, such as the right to life of the unborn, is not an 'a la carte' menu from which Catholics may pick and choose, it is an expression of truth that must be accepted by all Catholics in good standing, it is not an optional extra. Catholics who support abortion publicly or those who claim to be personally opposed to abortion, but nevertheless vote for it act contrary, not just to Catholic teaching, but also contrary to natural law. When Catholic legislators publicly support abortion they give grave scandal to others but also place their own souls in danger. Cardinal Burke in recommending the public sanction of denial of Holy Communion in these circumstances is acting in a pastoral capacity and urges the Irish Bishops to act in a similar manner.
The Independent article reads:
NOTE: The statement by Cardinal Burke is being misquoted he did not say that priests should not give Communion to politicians who support abortion, rather he addressed his remarks to politicians saying that they should not present themselves any more to receive Holy Communion if they support anti life policies. The following is an extract from the Cardinal's statementA SENIOR Vatican cardinal has told priests not to give communion to politicians who support abortion.Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke warned that legalising abortion creates a "culture of death" and that he fears for the future in Ireland.The American, who is based in the Vatican, weighed in to the Irish abortion debate and said a diocesan bishop could directly reprimand a politician in certain circumstances.And in accordance with canon law, he said priests should exclude politicians who support abortion from receiving communion."Those who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin should not be admitted to receive holy communion. There can be no question that the practise of abortion is among the gravest of manifest sins," he said."As long as (a Catholic politican) continues to support legislation which fosters abortion or other intrinsic evils, then he should be refused holy communion."The local bishop should "teach clearly in the matter" and should encourage his priests to make sure that the church's discipline is observed, he added.Cardinal Burke is prefect of the Apostolic Signatura – the supreme authority on justice in the church apart from the Pope. He made the comments in an interview with the Irish 'Catholic Voice' newspaper.He discussed Catholic teaching in light of the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar and abortion in the US. Ms Halappanavar died after allegedly being refused a termination for an unviable pregnancy."Her request would not have made it right for the law to permit such an act, which is always and everywhere wrong," said Cardinal Burke.Meanwhile, Health Minister Dr James Reilly promised his Cabinet colleagues to come back with draft abortion laws – but can't give a date.Government tensions mean the heads of the bill are not yet finalised.Dr Reilly only gave a verbal briefing to the Cabinet today on the proposed laws as a result.And there was no detailed discussion among ministers on the issue.The minister said the next time he comes back, he will have a draft in writing.A Government spokesman did not have a timeline.
The Cardinal said "[...] those Catholic politicians who obstinately promote anti-life and anti-family legislation, for instance, who support and vote for legislation, who make procured abortion more readily available, … and other such violations of the Moral Law, this is a very grave sin and once they’re warned, they should not present themselves any more to receive Holy Communion until they have amended their ways.”