United States, January 30, 2004 ( – Two Ivy League law professors have written on the incongruity of Catholic politicians’ support of abortion and ask, “What should the leaders of the Church do about such people?”

Gerard V. Bradley, professor of law at the University of Notre Dame, and Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, have written in the National Review Online defending the actions of Raymond Burke, the newly installed archbishop of St. Louis, who, in one of his last acts as bishop of LaCrosse Wisconsin, issued an order excluding Holy Communion from Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Against the usual charge that the bishop, by making this stand has “crossed the line” separating Church and state, Bradley and George call the charge “silly,” saying that, “not even his harshest critics charge that the bishop said or implied that the law of the state should be used to compel anyone to accept his authority.”

Countering the “separation of Church and state” argument, the professors point out that, “Bishop Burke, in turn, enjoys the legal right to exercise his spiritual authority as a bishop to order them to refrain from receiving communion…”

Say Bradley and George, “Bishop Burke articulated the obvious: any Catholic who exercises political power to expose a disfavored class of human beings to unjust killing sets himself against the very faith he claims to share.”  Echoing the pleas of pro-life activists for unequivocal action from their spiritual leaders, Bradley and George point out, “If the Church is to be in solidarity with victims of injustice, bishops must not permit those Catholics who commit or abet the injustices to pretend to be Catholics in good standing with the Church.”  To read the full article,


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