By Patrick B. Craine
VATICAN, July 9, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pope Benedict XVI has named Archbishop Raymond Burke as a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
The appointment of Archbishop Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (the Vatican’s highest court), is significant due to the fact that it is this congregation that oversees the distribution of Holy Communion; Archbishop Burke is perhaps the most vocal figure in the Vatican on the need to deny Communion to obstinately pro-abortion politicians.
The Code of Canon Law, in canon 915, states that “those who have been ... obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”
While still a cardinal, the pope himself wrote to the United States bishops saying that a Catholic politician who votes for "permissive abortion and euthanasia laws," after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion.
The current prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Antonio Canizares, has also attested that canon 915 must be applied to pro-abortion politicians. Prefect emeritus, Cardinal Francis Arinze, balked at the notion that a cardinal was needed to answer the question, saying that even children at First Communion would insist that Communion should be denied to such individuals.
Many bishops ignore or even oppose this directive, affirmed repeatedly by numerous Vatican officials; but Archbishop Burke maintains that bishops have no choice in the matter.
"The Church's law is very clear," he told LifeSiteNews in January 2009. "The person who persists publicly in grave sin is to be denied Holy Communion, and it [Canon Law] doesn't say that the bishop shall decide this. It's an absolute."
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
For the Vatican it's Clear - Pro-Abortion Politicians 'Must' be Denied Communion
Vatican Official: Bishops Have no Choice But to Refuse Communion to Pro-Abort Politicians