Pope says no Communion for pro-abortion politicians

"Pope Benedict's comments on pro-abortion politicians are simply a reflection of the longstanding Catholic truth that we've been pointing out for years," said American Life League president Judie Brown. "The long and short of it is quite simple: You can't be Catholic and pro-abortion."

On his way to a pastoral visit to Brazil, Pope Benedict XVI told reporters that according to the Catholic Church's canon law, "the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving Communion, which is receiving the body of Christ." He added that this standard "expresses our appreciation for life and that human individuality, human personality is present from the first moment" of every human being's life.

The pontiff was responding to questions about Mexican bishops, who stated that Catholic political leaders who support Mexico City's new law that permits abortion would be automatically excommunicated from the Church. Pope Benedict said the bishops "did nothing new, surprising or arbitrary. They simply announced publicly what is contained in the law of the Church."

"We welcome his statements with a great feeling of appreciation," said Mrs. Brown, "particularly his explanation that those who vote in favor of abortion have 'doubts about the value of life and the beauty of life and even a doubt about the future.' These expressions certainly apply to those in political life in the United States as well.”

Pope Benedict reiterated that life is a gift from God. "It is not a commodity," Mrs. Brown said. "It is not a burden. It is not a negative. Every human being from his beginning is a sign of God’s love for mankind. We thank the Holy Father for his leadership and wish him every success during his visit to Brazil, another country whose preborn citizens are under attack by politicians who claim to be faithful Catholics."

Release issued: 9 May 07