ALL Stands Vigil as Bishops Fail to Enforce Canon 915

Washington, D.C. (13 November 2008) – American Life League calls on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to enforce Canon 915 – the Church law that prohibits Eucharistic ministers from giving Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians.

While the bishops met in Baltimore for their annual fall assembly this week, American Life League, Defend Life and the Catholic Media Coalition stood vigil outside the meeting Nov. 11 praying that the bishops would address the fundamental problem of allowing pro-abortion politicians, who call themselves Catholic, to receive the body and blood of Christ in Holy Communion.

In a statement released on Nov. 12, the bishops vowed to fight President-elect Barack Obama's abortion policies, especially the Freedom of Choice Act, but took no steps to protect the Eucharist.

"They cannot call themselves Catholic when they violate such a core belief as the dignity of the unborn," said Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City of pro-abortion politicians.

Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League responded.

"Yet, other bishops are willing to hand our Savior over to those who openly fight to continue abortion in this country," Sedlak said. "They are jeopardizing, not only the souls of the politicians themselves, but confusing the faithful looking for direction from their shepherds."

American Life League took out a full-page ad in USA Today Nov. 11 reminding the bishops that their role as shepherds of Catholic faithful includes enforcing Canon 915, which states:

"Those… obstinately persevering in grave and manifest sin are not to be admitted to holy communion."

The bishops have refused to enforce Church law and pro-abortion politicians continue to receive the Holy Eucharist.

While the bishops issued a statement Nov. 12 stating their opposition to FOCA, the statement was shortsighted and unclear, according to Sedlak.

"FOCA is a very real threat, but it is only one hair on the head of a much larger monster. We need our bishops to unambiguously fight for a culture of life – that necessitates enforcement of Canon 915."

Sedlak ended the prayer vigil with a prayer for the bishops and stated:

As we pray tonight, we ask for God's favor on the faithful bishops, those who are taking the necessary steps to protect the Eucharist from scandal. And we ask for God's graces to be poured out, through Mary, on all the bishops. May they all be filled with the Holy Spirit and have the courage to stand up against the tide of abortion and not only condemn the slaughter with their words, but with their actions. We pray that every bishop, priest and Eucharistic minister will fulfill the duties of their office and enforce Canon 915.

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 media inquiries, please contact Katie Walker at 540.659.4942.