ROME, October 25, 2005 ( – The final document from the recently closed bishops’ meeting in Rome, has only a short reference to the issue of reception of communion by pro-abortion politicians, a heated topic of discussion among the bishops in attendance. Comments by some of the bishops coupled with the scant mention is being seen by some as permission for local bishops to carry on with business as usual and continue to ignore the problem, but the final word, that of Pope Benedict XVI, has yet to be heard. Many are expecting that to come from a post-synodal document the Pope is preparing.

A committee of bishops has presented the Pope with 50 “Propositions” for his consideration. The 50 Propositions are clear statements upholding the traditional Catholic teachings on the subjects related to the Eucharist.

Regarding pro-abortion politicians and communion, the Synod Propositions do not urge a blanket prohibition on Communion, but given that such a prohibition has already been provided for in Canon Law and reiterated during the US election crisis, it appears likely that the Pope will include a specific decree on the subject.

As is normal following an international Synod, Pope Benedict may produce a document called an “Apostolic Exhortation,” outlining his decrees coming from the Synod. The Propositions are meant as a summary of the Synod’s discussions. Benedict’s views on the necessity of denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians and others radically opposed to Catholic doctrine, however, has already been made manifestly clear during his long tenure as head of the Church’s doctrinal office.

In a letter to the US Bishops during their debate in Dallas in July 2004, then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote that after a pro-abortion politician has been given sufficient warning, “when a person’s formal cooperation (with abortion) becomes manifest…the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.”

The Synod Propositions referred to the necessity of local bishops exercising the virtues of fortitude (strength) and prudence in deciding if particular persons should be denied Communion. It said Catholic lawmakers “show no coherence” when they promote laws that go “against human good, justice and natural law.”

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