When a public servant who is Catholic makes a statement or policy supporting same-sex marriage or abortion, does that person’s pastor or bishop have a moral obligation to admonish them and even deny them Holy Communion?
A public servant’s pastor or bishop has the moral obligation to make sure they understand the truths of the faith so that they may make a well informed decision when it comes to enacting policy. Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law instructs that those “persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” When a public servant is fully aware of the Church’s teaching opposing same-sex marriage and abortion legislation, this person is committing grave sin and therefore should not present themselves for Holy Communion until they confess their sins in the sacrament of penance and make a firm amendment to change their ways. The act of denying someone Holy Communion should never be taken lightly. It is a strong public declaration that a public servant is deliberately “persevering” and choosing grave sin without contrition and therefore this person is no longer in communion with Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. In order to justify their positions many Catholic public servants make a distinction that they are “personally opposed” to same-sex marriage or abortion while remaining “publically in favor” of a woman’s right to choose and “marriage equality.” This line of thinking is a blatant justification of evil actions and should be avoided at all costs. Any Catholic public servant who ascribes to this line of thinking should not present himself or herself for Holy Communion without having first gone to the Sacrament of Penance and made a firm amendment to change their behavior.
Every bishop and pastor has a sacred duty to reach out to public leaders to explain Catholic principles and encourage them to protect human life and the sanctity of marriage in all decisions they make. We always pray for our Catholic leaders that they make the right choice, act in their best judgment and in good conscience, knowing the values and teachings of the Catholic Church. It is the duty of all Catholics, no matter their profession, to decide through an upright and informed conscience as to their worthiness to receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
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