Thursday July 8, 2010

Archbishop Carlson: Abortion Supporters are Excommunicated, Should not Receive Communion

By James Tillman

ST. LOUIS, Missouri, July 8, 2010 ( – In a new column, Archbishop Robert Carlson takes to task those who argue that abortion is simply a political issue, pointing out that it is also a serious moral issue. He also makes clear that one cannot be a good Catholic and be “pro-choice.”

“People who are casual about the sin of abortion and who choose to view it as a political issue rather than the serious moral issue that it is are guilty of violating the Fifth Commandment,” he writes.

Human life is sacred, according to the archbishop, because “from its beginning until its natural end, it involves the creative action of God.”

“God alone is the Lord of life,” he states. “No one has the right to end arbitrarily what God has begun, and sustained, through the gift of His love.”

For this reason, he writes, “since the first century, the Church has addressed the moral evil of abortion and the killing of a defenseless baby in the womb.”

“You cannot be ‘pro-choice’ (pro-abortion) and remain a Catholic in good standing,” he says. “That’s why the Church asks those who maintain this position not to receive holy Communion.”

“We are not being mean or judgmental, we are simply acknowledging the fact that such a stance is objectively and seriously sinful and is radically inconsistent with the Christian way of life.”

Quoting the Second Vatican Council’s document Gaudium et Spes, he says that “abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.”

“That’s why formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life.”

“In addition,” writes Archbishop Carlson, “euthanasia or deliberately taking of the life of someone who is sick, dying, disabled or mentally ill is morally unacceptable.”

He concludes by saying that taking “proper care of our health, respecting others and showing respect for the dead are all matters covered by the Fifth Commandment’s demand that we reverence God’s most precious gift — human life.”

The column is part of a series the archbishop has been writing on the Ten Commandments in his “Before the Cross” column.

Carlson is well known for taking a strong stand on life issues. In 2003 then-Bishop Carlson ordered abortion advocate Tom Daschle to cease calling himself Catholic. He has also told Catholics to vote according to the “special burden on the conscience” posed by the abortion issue.

See related stories on

Michigan Bishop to Voters: Abortion can Only be Outweighed by an Evil Equivalent “in Number and Kind”



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