Bishops of three Roman Catholic dioceses banded together in early August to announce they would deny communion to politicians who support reproductive rights.
The announcement of the bishops of the Atlanta, Charleston, S.C. and Charlotte, N.C., dioceses comes months after a smattering of Catholic bishops nationwide suggested they would deny Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry communion because of his support for legal abortion.
“A manifest lack of proper disposition for Holy Communion is found to be present in those who consistently support pro-abortion legislation,” reads the bishops’ decree, as reported by the Religion News Service. “Because support for pro-abortion legislation is gravely sinful, such persons should not be admitted to Holy Communion.”
Bishop Robert Baker of the South Carolina diocese told The Post and Courier that his diocese would not compromise on the issue.
“Catholic public officials who consistently support abortion on demand are cooperating with evil in a public manner,” Baker told the Charleston newspaper. “A manifest lack of proper disposition for Holy Communion is found to be present in those who consistently support pro-abortion legislation.”
In other developments, a top Vatican official has said that Catholic voters may cast ballots for pro-choice candidates if they are doing so for other valid reasons.
According to The Washington Post, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger issued a confidential memo in June dealing with the role of Catholics in public life. In the message to Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Ratzinger said, “When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion/euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.”