By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The Archbishop of Washington DC, Archbishop Donald Wuerl, said he won’t deny Holy Communion to the notoriously pro-abortion “Catholic” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi because “”the Church just didn’t use Communion” as a “weapon.”
In an interview published May 5 in Politics Daily, Bishop Wuerl said he disagreed with refraining from giving communion to manifestly pro-abortion politicians, which he equated as “Communion wielded as a weapon.”
“That’s the new way now to make your point,” said Wuerl. “We never – the Church just didn’t use Communion this way. It wasn’t a part of the way we do things, and it wasn’t a way we convinced Catholic politicians to appropriate the faith and live it and apply it; the challenge has always been to convince people.”
He went on to say that in his view, sanctioning errant Catholic politicians has the opposite effect.
For bishops, “there are two different approaches” to bring Catholic politicians in line with Church teaching, he said. “One is the pastoral, teaching mode, and the other is the canonical approach (enforcing Church law). . . . I have yet to see where the canonical approach has changed anyone’s heart.”
Wuerl when on to cite two specific reasons why he will not refuse Pelosi Communion.
First, because she is a San Franciscan and, therefore, not a part of his official flock. Second, “there’s a question about whether this canon was ever intended to be used” to bring politicians to heel. He thinks not. “I stand with the great majority of American bishops and bishops around the world in saying this canon was never intended to be used this way.”
However, an article appearing on LifeSiteNews.com points out that Wuerl’s statements appear to contradict a 2004 statement by the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger titled “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion.”
In this statemenet, Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, stated: “Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.”
With quotations from a 2002 declaration of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Ratzinger continues: “When ‘these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,’ and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, ‘the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it’.
“This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty,” Ratzinger wrote. “Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.”
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