COLORADO SPRINGS, Oct. 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Bishop of Colorado Springs is making headlines after he insisted that Vice President Joe Biden, a pro-abortion Catholic, “should know” he shouldn’t receive Communion if a campaign stop brings him to his diocese.
“He should know, and I would do everything I could do to make sure that he knows, he ought not to be receiving Communion,” Bishop Michael Sheridan told the Colorado Springs Gazette earlier this month.
“It’s clear to me that the Code of Canon Law, Canon 915, says that a Catholic politician who publicly espouses positions that are contrary, not just to any teachings of the Church, but to serious moral teachings, should not receive Holy Communion until they recant those positions publicly,” he said.
In the Oct. 4th interview with the Gazette’s Daniel Cole, the bishop also affirmed his previous position that even Catholic voters imperil their soul and remove themselves from communion should they support a candidate who endorses intrinsic evil on non-negotiable issues such as abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, same-sex “marriage”, and religious liberty.
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“Voters need a little bit more nuance, because there the question is, are we voting for those politicians precisely because of their positions on those non-negotiable issues?” he said. “Here is what I would say: It would be very difficult for me to understand how, if there are two candidates quite far apart in their positions on these matters, I could vote for the one who consistently opposes these Church teachings, simply because he might be in favor of a few good things.”
The bishop said voters have a “pretty clear choice” in the upcoming presidential election given the radically opposed views of Romney and Obama on these non-negotiable issues. He also said the fact that the two vice presidential candidates, Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan, are Catholic “sets up an interesting contrast.”
“You have two Catholics, two men who claim to be good, practicing Catholics, and they’re just diametrically opposed in so many areas,” said the bishop. “I’d say it gives us a pretty clear choice, that’s what I’d say. It gives me a pretty clear choice.”
In the vice presidential debate on Oct. 11th, Biden defended his pro-abortion stance while at the same time claiming, “My religion defines who I am.”
“I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life, and it has particularly informed my social doctrine,” he said. “With regard to abortion, I accept my Church’s position on abortion as a de fide doctrine. Life begins at conception. I accept that position in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians, and Muslims and and Jews.”
The vice president also defended the HHS birth control mandate by claiming that it does not require religious institutions to refer or pay for contraception in any way, earning a quick rebuke from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Congressman Ryan, on the other hand, insisted that one cannot “separate their private life from their public life or their faith” and said that his pro-life stance is both shaped by his Catholic faith and based on “reason and science.”
Though he affirmed that “life begins at conception,” he also noted that a Romney administration will “oppose abortion with the exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.”
In affirming that a pro-abortion Catholic politician like Biden will be denied Communion, Bishop Sheridan was simply reiterating his long-held position, one which echoes the stance of Pope Benedict XVI.
In 2004, the bishop warned that Catholic politicians who support abortion and other intrinsic evils “place themselves outside full communion” with the Catholic Church and thus “jeopardize their salvation.”
The bishop then defended his stance days later on CNN in a grilling by Anderson Cooper. In response to Cooper’s charge that his position was driving “Catholics away from the Church,” Sheridan noted that “the truth is sometimes divisive.”
“It’s an unfortunate consequence, not one intended, but the alternative is to say nothing and, if I do that, then I jeopardize my own salvation, I believe, because as a bishop I have a mandate to speak the truth,” he added.