KANSAS, February 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, who chairs the American bishops’ Committee on Pro-life activities, has requested that Catholic politicians who support abortion should “not present themselves to receive Holy Communion.”
Speaking about recent efforts to “perpetuate and expand abortion in state laws” — such as New York’s Reproductive Health Act, which was signed in January by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Catholic — Archbishop Naumann wrote in a Feb. 19 piece republished on the USCCB website that such legislation has “illuminated the deplorable actions of some Catholic public officials and advocates.” Noting that these efforts will result in the killing of many more unborn children, the archbishop said that advocacy of “intrinsically evil acts, like abortion” is seriously immoral.
“While we can object to the actions of these public officials, we are not able to judge their souls. At the same time, we know there will be a Judgment Day,” he said.
However, he said that “conscious and unrepentant mortal sin” endangers souls and places them on the “path to Hell.” Reception of the Eucharist, Archbishop Naumann wrote, in a state of mortal sin jeopardizes souls even further.
Writing of his episcopal role, Archbishop Naumann wrote that he is responsible for making certain that his flock is aware of the “moral gravity and consequences of the actions.” He noted that it is “critically important” to have a dialogue with Catholic leaders who engage in “scandalous behavior.” But if dialogue does not produce a change in their behaviour, the churchman wrote, “I have found it necessary to request that they not present themselves to receive Holy Communion, for their own spiritual welfare and for the protection of many others from moral confusion.”
Naumann's statement largely reflects Canon 915 of Church law which states that those “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.”
Other bishops in the United States have been more severe in the sanctions they would impose on Catholic politicians who persist in abortion advocacy. Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, tweeted in January his agreement with Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee, that Gov. Cuomo deserved excommunication for signing the bill that allows abortion throughout pregnancy. “I’m with Bishop Stika,” Strickland wrote. “I’m not in a position to take action regarding legislation in New York but I implore bishops who are to speak out forcefully. In any sane society this is called INFANTICIDE!”