Cardinal Raymond Burke, who holds a position that is directly beneath the Pope in the order of the Catholic church, released a statement earlier this month answering a question that came from non-Catholics and Catholics pertaining to abortion and politicians.
Cardinal Burke said he had been asked “how it is possible for Catholics to receive Holy Communion, while at the same time they publicly and obstinately promote programs, policies and legislation in direct violation of the moral law.” People particularly wanted to know his views on politicians who promote abortion, that is, “how Catholic politicians and civil officials who publicly and obstinately defend and promote the practice of abortion on demand can approach to receive Holy Communion.”
Burke said, “It is my hope that the following points of the Church’s teaching will be helpful to those who are rightly confused and indeed frequently scandalized by the all too common public betrayal of the Church’s teaching on faith and morals by those who profess to be Catholic.”
Burke concluded that anyone who defends and promotes the practice of abortion should not receive communion, and he laid out 12 points as to why he believed so.
Cardinal Raymond Burke Explains His Reasoning
Cardinal Raymond Burke pointed out that “the reception of Holy Communion by those who publicly and obstinately violate the moral law in its most fundamental precepts is a particularly grave form of sacrilege.”
The definition of sacrilege according to “Catechism of the Catholic Church” is a “grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist, for in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is made substantially present for us.”
Cardinal Burke shared Pope John Paul II’s teaching and definition of abortion when the latter said, “I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.”
The cardinal also posted Pope John Paul II’s response in 1964 where he said, “No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the Law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church.”
Burke stated it is the duty of the church to “safeguard the holiness of the Holy Eucharist,” by not allowing the people to commit sacrilege.
People who believe in and promote abortion are in a state of apostasy, the cardinal said, and have “abandoned the faith by the obstinate refusal, in practice, to live in accord with fundamental truths of faith and morals.” And because of this apostasy, they should be excommunicated from the church.
Denying or doubting the truth about what the Catholic church teaches “about the intrinsic evil of abortion” puts people in jeopardy of heresy, which would also result in excommunication.
The answer “is clear,” said Burke. “A Catholic who publicly and obstinately opposes the truth regarding faith and morals may not present himself or herself to receive Holy Communion and neither may the minister of Holy Communion give him or her the Sacrament.”
Cardinal Raymond Burke refrained from mentioning any politicians or civil officials by name, but the most notable would be President Joe Biden. If the cardinal did have the president in mind while giving his answer, it would not be the first time that President Biden was called out for his stance on abortion.