ALL: Archbishop Wuerl Defying Church Law

Washington, D.C. (08 May 2009)American Life League’s Canon 915 Project Director Michael Hichborn issued the following statement today regarding Archbishop Wuerl’s refusal to withhold Communion from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. has stated that he would not deny Holy Communion to Pelosi, one of the most notoriously pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians in the U.S., because he says historically "the Church just didn't use Communion" as a "weapon."

“By allowing pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ politicians like Nancy Pelosi to receive Holy Communion, Archbishop Wuerl is not only disobeying Church law, he is ignoring the sacrilege being perpetrated against the body of Christ in Holy Communion and he is tacitly validating the alleged right of a woman to kill her preborn baby.  Had the archbishop studied the entire history of the Church, he would have learned that Church history is filled with examples of gravely sinful individuals being denied Holy Communion either by interdict or excommunication.  For instance, in 1198, Pope Innocent III placed the entire country of France under interdict and, in 1533, King Henry VIII was excommunicated for divorcing his wife and refusing to take her back.

“Canon 915 is absolutely clear and states those ‘who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be given Holy Communion.’  Advocating for and supporting the murder of preborn babies is intrinsically evil.  When a Catholic legislator advocates and/or supports abortion repeatedly, that legislator is obstinately, and publicly, defying Church teaching.  No other interpretation suffices.  Pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ politicians are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.  That is the law."

As Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, instructed the American Catholic Bishops in 2004 in his memorandum, "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion," after steps have been taken to warn the wayward public figure, and that person persists,

 “…'the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it' (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration “Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics” [2002], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. 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. "

In closing, Hichborn stated, " If every bishop in our country truly believed in the presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, and obeyed Church law, the decriminalization of abortion would end.”

American Life League was cofounded in 1979 by Judie Brown. It is the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life organization in the United States and is committed to the protection of all innocent human beings from the moment of creation to death.  For more information or press inquiries, please contact Katie Walker at 540.659.4942.