"Material cooperation in evil"
Priests' group says St. Louis archbishop right about denying communion to pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia politiciansOct. 7, 2007
For Immediate Release
The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (national association of 600 priests & deacons) publicly endorses the rationale of Archbishop Raymond Burke (St. Louis) to deny Holy Communion to politicians who obstinately and openly support abortion or euthanasia. We respectfully urge all his brother bishops to universally and decisively support this initiative at the upcoming General Assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in November.
The Code of Canon Law (#915) explicitly states that those "who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion." Abortion and euthanasia "are crimes which no human law can make ratified," said Pope John Paul II. Giving consent to an evil act is de facto formal cooperation in evil. Equally culpable are persons who are 'personally opposed to abortion' yet provide necessary assistance for the evil to occur. This is clearly understood as material cooperation in evil.
Archbishop Burke equally addresses politicians on both sides of the aisle. Whether Democrat, Republican or independent; executive, legislative or judicial branches; all public officials who publicly support, promote or give assistance to others to commit evil are cooperators in that evil.
Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Ratzinger) stated in a 2004 letter to American bishops that "not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia." Therefore, "there may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about war and the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia." He went on to say that the minister of Holy Communion "must refuse to distribute it to a Catholic politician [who] consistently campaigns and votes for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws."
It is specious to say that denying Holy Communion causes scandal to the faithful. Recall the parable in Matthew 22 where the man is physically removed from the banquet for not wearing a wedding garment. Some might consider it unfair treatment yet the Gospel shows there is no excuse. The man was 'speechless' and Catholic politicians have no excuse, either. If they openly support abortion and/or euthanasia, even if 'personally opposed', they are in fact publicly unworthy to receive Holy Communion due to their cooperation in evil. Greater scandal is given when bishops, priests, and deacons do not protect the sanctity and dignity of the Most Blessed Sacrament by allowing public persons notoriously known for their positions which directly violate the Divine and Moral Laws.
"In Cordibus Jesu et Mariae"