By John-Henry Westen

Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga  TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, May 18, 2007 ( – Hours after contacted pro-life leaders in Latin America to alert them to troubling remarks made by Honduran Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, the Cardinal corrected his statements.  Carlos Polo, Population Research Institute director for Latin America approached the Cardinal about his remarks to time magazine which conflicted with Pope Benedict over the issue of communion for pro-abortion politicians.

  As reported yesterday, in a recent interview with Time magazine, Cardinal Rodriguez was asked if he agreed with bishops who deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians.  The Cardinal responded, “”Who am I to deny Holy Communion to a person? I cannot. It’s in the tradition of moral theology that even if I know a person is living in grave sin, I cannot take a public action against him. It would be giving scandal to the person. Yes, he should not seek [communion], but I cannot deny it from him.”

  In statements to Carlos Polo, which were reported late yesterday by the Catholic News Agency, Cardinal Rodriguez said his comments to Time magazine should be reformulated “in light of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith teaches in its document, ‘Worthiness to Receive Communion’.”

  That document was written in 2004 by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was at the time the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  It was sent to the US Bishops to use as a guide in their deliberations over dealing with Catholic pro-abortion politicians. The letter pointed out that obstinately pro-abortion Catholic politicians, after being duly instructed and warned, “must” be denied Communion. 

“A politician who publicly supports abortion, he excommunicates himself.  It’s not question of receiving Communion or not; he has already done serious harm to the communion of faith of the Church, to the communion of moral life, and therefore that person himself is doing an act that is inconsistent with what he says he believes,” the Cardinal Rodriguez told Polo.

“That is, we’re talking about a person who has become a broken-off branch of the tree of life of the Church, a dry branch that has lost its vital sap and is doing something that is a lie.  One who is against life and who is clearly opposed to the message of the Lord Jesus, as is an abortion supporter, cannot be in Communion with Holy Mother Church,” he stated.

“Therefore, if one uses the desire to receive Communion as a justification, it is the worst manner of doing so, because one is doing an act that contradicts what one says he believes,” the cardinal said.

“In addition,” he continued, “a recent declaration of the Holy See clearly states that when all precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible, and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.”  

“This is the current law of the Church and it would be best if these people who know it do not try to receive Holy Communion because they are committing an act that is completely immoral and inconsistent with truth,” he said in conclusion.

  See related coverage which includes links to the Time interview and the document by Cardinal Ratzinger:
  Honduran Cardinal Contradicts Pope on Communion for Pro-Abortion Politicians