Prelate: 'Mortal sin' to give communion to pro-choice politician

Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis
A U.S. Catholic archbishop is urging priests and lay eucharistic ministers to deny communion to politicians who support abortion rights, arguing that it’s a “mortal sin” to offer the sacrament to “the unworthy.”

Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis, a veteran of clashes between Catholic bishops and politicians, has attempted for years to enlist fellow bishops in denying communion to wayward politicians.

Now the conservative cleric is placing the responsibility to safeguard the sacrament on the lay and ordained Catholics who distribute communion.

Drawing on the works of the late Italian Jesuit scholar Felice Cappello, Burke says those ministers are “held, under pain of mortal sin, to deny the sacraments to the unworthy.” That argument could place communion ministers on the frontlines of the “wafer wars” as the 2008 presidential race heats up and as bishops debate a document on “faithful citizenship.”


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