GALLUP, New Mexico, May 21, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop James Wall of Gallup, New Mexico, has joined American prelates calling for pro-abortion “Catholics” to be denied Holy Communion. In an essay published in First Things earlier this week, the bishop discussed the “preeminent threat” of abortion, describing “eucharistic sanctions” as a “medicinal option.”
Wall was responding to a recent article in America by Bishop Robert McElroy, a vocal supporter of the pro-abortion, pro-LGBT Biden administration, titled “The Eucharist is being weaponized for political ends. This must not happen.”
“His title suggests that political motives are driving the bishops’ current discussion of pro-abortion politicians and worthy reception,” Bishop Wall wrote. “But while I don’t presume to know what’s in the mind and heart of my brother bishops, I am not motivated by political ends, nor are those with whom I have discussed the subject.”
“Our concern is not political but pastoral; it is for the salvation of souls. This issue has political ramifications, but that is not an excuse to shy away at this crucial moment,” he said.
“As abortion is one of the few sins that carries an automatic excommunication (see CIC 1398), there is no doubt that a politician who actively protects abortion and strives to make it more accessible also risks his or her salvation,” the bishop continued, referring to the killing of preborn babies as a sin that can “extinguish” worthiness to receive the Eucharist “entirely.”
Denying Communion to self-professed Catholics who promote abortion therefore would not be applying what McElroy called an “extremely expansive” litmus test, Wall said. “It surely is not ‘expansive’ to put this evil in the category of grave sin.”
The New Mexico bishop also criticized Bishop McElroy’s claims that sanctioning abortion promoters, to whom McElroy referred as “pro-choice,” would “constitute an assault” on the unity of the Church. “Speaking the truth at times appears to create division,” Wall explained, “but often it simply exposes the division that already exists.”
“If Catholics cannot agree on protecting the helpless unborn, then our unity is superficial at best and illusory at worst,” he wrote.
Since the inauguration of the Biden administration, more than a dozen bishops, including Cardinal Raymond Burke, Bishop Thomas Paprocki, and Bishop Joseph Strickland, have made renewed calls for abortion supporters to be barred from partaking of the Blessed Sacrament.
“In the past few months, several Catholic bishops have issued statements on the question of whether to publicly deny pro-abortion politicians the Eucharist. I am grateful to all my brother bishops who have courageously spoken out on this thorny subject,” Bishop Wall said.
The U.S. bishops have made it clear that “abortion is the great evil of our culture,” including by recognizing abortion as a “preeminent threat” in 1998 and the “preeminent priority” in 2019, he said. “Pro-abortion political leaders have not heeded these calls, and now we seek to apply the last remaining and most severe medicinal option we have: eucharistic sanctions.”
Bishop McElroy, for his part, has repeatedly downplayed the gravity of abortion, breaking with his fellow bishops and declaring that “climate change” could be “uniquely preeminent in Catholic social teaching,” as opposed to abortion. In his America essay, McElroy equated abortion with “racism.”
McElroy, Bishop Wall said, “examines the arguments for denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians and asks, ‘How many Catholic political leaders of either party could pass that test?’ I would suggest that this is the wrong question.”
“A better question might be, ‘Have I done absolutely everything I can as a bishop to try to bring all pro-abortion Catholic politicians in my flock back into a state of grace?’”