ST. LOUIS, June 24, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Archbishop Raymond L. Burke has spoken out in defense of Catholic priests and bishops refusing communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians in a column titled Catholic Politicians and Bishops. He states that, although the refusal by a pastor or bishop to distribute holy Communion to anyone is a “source of great sorrow . . . What would be profoundly more sorrowful would be the failure of a bishop to call a soul to conversion, the failure to protect the flock from scandal and the failure to safeguard the worthy reception of Communion.”“Some have accused me and other bishops of introducing division within the church and between the church and the political order of our country by our public declaration regarding the moral duty of Catholic politicians and their exclusion from Communion, in the case of their serious failure in carrying out their moral duty,” he continues. “Others have questioned the prudence of such declarations because of the attack they bring upon the church or their adverse political effect. I have often reflected upon these accusations, in examining my conscience regarding my action in the matter.”“Having considered the matter carefully, I respond that the division is already present, both in the conscience of Catholics who dissent from a most fundamental church teaching and in the ‘intolerant secularism’ prevalent in our nation, which would exclude Catholics from political life unless they be willing to violate their conscience. In our habit of ‘political correctness,’ we do not like to acknowledge these divisions, but they must be recognized for the sake of our consciences and for the good of the nation.”“No public official, especially one claiming to be a faithful and serious Catholic, can responsibly advocate for or actively support direct attacks on innocent human life,” Archbishop Burke asserts.  “The failure to protect the life of the unborn, a violation of the moral law, violates the common good and betrays the trust given to elected officials,” he says. “The bishop’s pastoral concern is for the spiritual good of the Catholic politician and of the many Catholics who are influenced by his or her exercise of political leadership. More fundamentally, the bishop’s concern is for the good of the innocent human lives threatened and taken by procured abortion.”  Read Archbishop Burke’s letter at: http://catholiceducation.org/articles/politics/pg0116.html