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Politicians, Voters and Withholding Communion
by Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan


The Church teaches that abortion is morally wrong as it takes innocent human life. The most basic human right is the right to life. Abortion is never allowed. The 2002 Roman Document on the participation of Roman Catholics in political life says that Catholic politicians have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life.

The Document, however, is silent on sanctions such as the denial of Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians or those who would vote for them. It is left to their consciences to decide whether or not to approach Holy Communion. Catholics must examine their conscience on a variety of moral issues before receiving Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The Church must be careful to keep the reception of Holy Communion separate from politics.

The Church will continue to teach about the immorality of abortion. But there are other issues of public policy that must also be considered in the political process. The United States Bishops’ statement, Faithful Citizenship calls Catholics to political responsibility. We speak to the issues but do not endorse particular candidates or parties.



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