Pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ Dems protest new Communion policy, claim to ‘advance respect for life’
WASHINGTON, June 22, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Sixty House Democrats have signed a joint statement calling on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to continue administering Holy Communion to “Catholic” politicians who support legal abortion, in anticipation of a potential impending rule change on the matter.
The bishops voted 168-55 last week to draft a document “On the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church,” which among other issues will address “Eucharistic consistency,” referring to the need for Catholics to receive Communion only in a state of grace.
It is unclear whether the document will ultimately lead to changes on who can or cannot receive the Eucharist, but “Catholic” Democrats and their allies, such as Rep. Ted Lieu of California, have already expressed outrage at the possibility of being held to their church’s longstanding teachings. President Joe Biden has declined to opine beyond calling it “a private matter” which he does not expect to happen.
In a June 18 “Statement of Principles,” Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pete Aguilar, Jackie Speier, Joaquin Castro, and several dozen other Democrats claim to be “proud to be part of the living Catholic tradition” and even “work every day to advance respect for life and the dignity of every human being.”
After arguing that their commitment to “making real the basic principles that are at the heart of Catholic social teaching” is “fulfilled” by their pursuit of Democrat policies on economics, education, healthcare, and racial and gender issues, the signatories claim to “agree with the Catholic Church about the value of human life. Each of us is committed to reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and creating an environment with policies that encourage pregnancies to be carried to term and provide resources to raise healthy and secure children.”
The statement minimizes the “tension” between their abortion stance and church teaching by invoking the “primacy of conscience” and “separation of church and state,” and declaring that their “political party is perfectly in accord with all aspects of Church doctrine.” It also invokes Pope Francis’s declaration that the Eucharist is “not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”
“The Sacrament of Holy Communion is central to the life of practicing Catholics, and the weaponization of the Eucharist to Democratic lawmakers for their support of a woman’s safe and legal access to abortion is contradictory,” the signatories declare. “No elected officials have been threatened with being denied the Eucharist as they support and have supported policies contrary to the Church teachings, including supporting the death penalty, separating migrant children from their parents, denying asylum to those seeking safety in the United States, limiting assistance for the hungry and food insecure, and denying rights and dignity to immigrants.”
The document relies on a number of talking points common among those who advocate a more selective approach to Catholic doctrine, chief among them framing abortion as primarily a theological issue (when in reality it’s an established fact of modern biology that the preborn are living human beings), and drawing a presumptive equivalency between abortion and other issues.
But while Catholicism teaches that reasonable people of good will can differ on the prudential solutions to any number of social ills, since the first century the church has recognized abortion as a “moral evil,” complicity in which “constitutes a grave offense” carrying the “canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life.”
In October 2017, Human Life International’s Fr. Shenan Boquet explained the dangers of this “seamless garment” mentality. He wrote that its followers neglect the difference between “acts which are evil by their very nature (intrinsic evils), and therefore always sinful if carried out with knowledge, and more complex social problems,” which are caused by a variety of factors and have debatable solutions. “Instead of helping inform the conscience of their flocks and protect individual souls and the common good from the consequences of such evils,” he warned, seamless garment practitioners “minimize these atrocities by comparing them to other social problems.”
Former Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput argues that it “give[s] scandal” for pro-abortion politicians to receive Communion by “creating the impression that the moral laws of the Church are optional … Reception of Communion is not a right but a gift and privilege; and on the subject of ‘rights,’ the believing community has a priority right to the integrity of its belief and practice.”
Despite these longstanding principles, Communion for many pro-abortion politicians, such as Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has been allowed to continue in the United States. Most prominently, D.C.’s Cardinal Wilton Gregory has said he would not refuse Communion to Biden.