ATLANTA, August 4, 2004 ( – The Archdiocese of Atlanta, the diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, and the diocese of Charleston, South Carolina have enacted a joint policy forbidding Catholic politicians who support abortion from being given Communion.  Atlanta Archbishop John F. Donoghue, together with Charleston Bishop Robert J. Baker and Charlotte Bishop Peter J. Jugis issued a statement giving the reasons for the action.  The statement, available on the Spirit Daily website, notes that “Catholic public officials who consistently support abortion on demand are cooperating with evil in a public manner.  By supporting pro-abortion legislation they participate in manifest grave sin, a condition which excludes them from admission to Holy Communion as long as they persist in the pro-abortion stance.”

The letter also directs the priests of the dioceses not to administer Communion to the politicians in question.  “Because of the influence that Catholics in public life have on the conduct of our daily lives and on the formation of our nation’s future, we declare that Catholics serving in public life espousing positions contrary to the teaching of the Church on the sanctity and inviolability of human life, especially those running for or elected to public office are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in any Catholic church within our jurisdictions: the Archdiocese of Atlanta, the Dioceses of Charleston and Charlotte.”  The statement calls for a public refutation of the pro-abortion stand of such politicians before reconciliation with the Church and admittance to communion is possible. “Only after reconciliation with the Church has occurred, with the knowledge and consent of the local bishop, and public disavowal of former support for procured abortion, will the individual be permitted to approach the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.”  The statement concludes, “We undertake this action to safeguard the sacred dignity of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, to reassure the faithful, and to save sinners.”  See the full statement on Spirit Daily at:   jhw