Pro-abortion politicians who claim Catholicism as their faith may not present themselves to Holy Communion, says Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke.
Speaking with Martha MacCallum on Fox News, Burke said that the overabundance of Catholic politicians in Washington supporting abortion has caused a great scandal in the Catholic Church by leading many to believe it has somehow flipped its position on abortion, which it most certainly never has.
"I've had non-Catholic leaders of government in this nation tell me that they were certain that the Catholic teaching on abortion and so-called same-sex marriage have changed because so many Catholics on Capitol Hill are regularly supporting this kind of legislation. And that's a scandal," Burke told MacCallum.
One of the greatest scandals in the U.S. Catholic Church since the 1960s has been the hierarchy's unwillingness to bar pro-abortion politicians from receiving Holy Communion. This prominent list includes Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin, the entire Kennedy family, and many others. However, the American church hierarchy began correcting course in 2017 by electing Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann to head the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Naumann expressly stated that bishops should bar such politicians from receiving Holy Communion.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, abortion is a grave moral evil that cannot be approved or tolerated in any circumstance.
Cardinal Burke noted that the barring of pro-abortion politicians from Holy Communion is actually for their own benefit since the church teaches that receiving the body and blood of Jesus Christ in a state of mortal sin is greatly damaging to the soul. "It's not a punishment. It's actually a favor to these people to tell them, don't approach," Burke said, "because if they approach, they commit sacrilege," he said.
The cardinal also criticized Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) for questioning federal Judge Brian Buescher over his affiliation with the Knights of Columbus, asking him if he understood that it was an "all-male society" that "opposes a woman's right to choose" and "marriage equality."
"This is completely unacceptable," Burke said. "I mean, I think you're an everyday citizen whether you're a Catholic or not, you need to look at that kind of statement for what it is and say this isn't a person who I want to be the leader of my nation."
As the abortion argument in the United States has escalated during the Trump era, certain Catholic bishops have taken extra steps to warn pro-abortion politicians to refrain from Holy Communion. Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, for instance, expressly forbid all priests under his governance to give Holy Communion to politicians that supported the "Reproductive Health Act" in Illinois.
"In accord with canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law … Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan, who facilitated the passage of the Act Concerning Abortion of 2017 (House Bill 40) as well as the Reproductive Health Act of 2019 (Senate Bill 25), are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois because they have obstinately persisted in promoting the abominable crime and very grave sin of abortion as evidenced by the influence they exerted in their leadership roles and their repeated votes and obdurate public support for abortion rights over an extended period of time," Paprocki wrote in a statement.