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Canadian bishop: A pro-abortion Catholic politician ‘could’ be denied Communion

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OTTAWA, Ontario, May 23, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As Federal Liberal leader and professed Catholic Justin Trudeau continues to resolutely defend his pro-abortion position, one Canadian bishop has come out saying that a “pro-abortion Catholic politician” could be denied reception of Holy Communion if “fraternal correction” proves unsuccessful.

Referring to the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law, Ottawa’s Auxiliary Bishop Christian Riesbeck told LifeSiteNews, “Out of concern for safeguarding the reverence that is due Our Lord in the Eucharist, and to avoid scandal, one could possibly apply this norm even in the case of a pro-abortion Catholic politician who is extremely vocal about his position.”

Canon 915 states that those who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Following the teaching of Jesus in chapter six of the Gospel of John, Catholics believe Holy Communion to be the very body of Jesus himself. A Catholic must be in communion with Catholic teaching and belief to present oneself to receive Holy Communion at Mass.

Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast told the Catholic Register on Tuesday that he would not refuse Trudeau Holy Communion without first having met with him.

“I don’t think you can make a judgment about someone’s faith position simply by what is said in the public,” he said. “There needs to be a meeting with myself, or with his parish priest, a priest who is in harmony with the Church’s teachings.”

Riesbeck said that Canon 915 would only be applied to Trudeau after “fraternal correction has been attempted and deemed unsuccessful.”

Prendergast’s comment follows closely the norms for worthiness to receive Holy Communion as set forth by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2004 while he was prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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“Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist,” states the memorandum.

Riesbeck’s comment about a pro-abortion Catholic politician’s worthiness to receive Holy Communion comes in the wake of Trudeau’s abortion edict issued earlier this month in which he stated that candidates for the Liberal party “will be expected to vote pro-choice on any bills.”

Trudeau appears resolute in his pro-abortion position. When asked earlier this week whether he would sit down with Archbishop Prendergast to discuss his views on abortion, Trudeau responded: “I have a lot of respect for his eminence and for any leaders within the church, but I do want to highlight that he has a very different role than I do. My role is to stand up and defend all Canadians and my role in terms of that is separate from any personal religious views.”

So entrenched is he in his pro-abortion position that on Thursday Trudeau said would not even advise a woman against aborting her unborn baby simply because she’s a girl.

“I don't think the government should be in the business of legislating away people's rights. And that's why the Liberal Party is steadfast in this position,” he said to Sun News reporter Marissa Semkiw when she asked him his position on sex-selection abortion.

Earlier this month, 52 pro-life leaders from 16 nations signed a declaration in Rome calling on the bishops of the Catholic Church to deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians in a spirit of love and mercy.

“Catholic politicians who support abortion are already in grave sin, and in receiving Holy Communion their sin is compounded by sacrilege,” states the declaration.

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