No Communion for Pro-Abortion Politicians, Says Cardinal Arinze

Clarifies That Priests Must Refuse Them the Eucharist

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 23, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Politicians who support abortion must not go to Communion and priests must deny them the sacrament, says Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.



The cardinal clarified this position of the Church today at a press conference called to present the instruction "'Redemptionis Sacramentum': On Certain Matters to Be Observed or to Be Avoided Regarding the Most Holy Eucharist."

In response to a journalist's question, Cardinal Arinze said: "If the person should not receive it, then it should not be given. Objectively, the answer is there."

The cardinal explained that a priest must not give Communion unless it is a surprise occasion and "he does not have the time to reflect."

One of the journalists asked the cardinal if he could give his judgment on the concrete application of this norm in the case of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, who says he is a Catholic but supports abortion.

"The norm of the Church is clear," he said. "The Catholic Church exists in the U.S.A. and there are bishops there. Let them interpret."

Kerry supports abortion and has said he would nominate only U.S. Supreme Court justices who support his position. Pro-life groups in the United States say Kerry has a "perfect record" of voting for legislation that allows abortion.