By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
In a recent interview, the head of the Vatican’s liturgical office, Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, reminded US bishops about their responsibility to pro-abortion Catholic politicians, saying that withholding Communion from those who are in a state of serious sin is an act of charity meant for the person’s spiritual salvation.
Speaking to LifeSiteNews.com, the Cardinal said the guiding principal for withholding Communion from Catholic politicians who persist in promoting abortion should be “caritas in veritate” (charity in truth).
“I think that the strongest words are found in St. Paul: one who goes to the Eucharist and is not properly prepared, duly prepared, ‘he eats his own condemnation’. This is the strongest thing that we can say and what is the most truthful statement,” the Cardinal said.
It is the duty of priests and bishops to instruct Catholic politicians who are refusing to accept Church teaching on life and to help them understand the gravity of what they are doing, the Cardinal said.
“Politicians should become aware and they should be helped to become aware of the gravity of their conduct. When they approve laws against life, in favor of abortion or euthanasia, priests and bishops should say this.”
Citing the title of the pope’s latest encyclical, “Caritas in Veritate”, he said this principle “should be the principle used, first by politicians when they come to Communion, and second it should be the rule for bishops when they decide whether to give or to withdraw Communion.”
He went on to reiterate that to be actively involved in procuring abortion is the gravest of offenses and one that incurs the most severe punishment the Church has: excommunication.
“In the cases of public sinners,” he added, “we don’t know what is happening in the consciences of those politicians. And I understand the prudence with which we have to act. But I think also that it is our duty to clarify their consciences – to help the person to act in accordance with a right and true conscience.”
This is part of the function of bishops, he said, “to help the due formation of conscience. To form consciences in such a way that people should act in accordance with the truth.”
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