Cdl. Burke Reiterates: No Communion for Pro-Abort Politicians

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by Martina Moyski  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  January 24, 2020   

Slams Joe Biden's 'consistent' pro-abortion record

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WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - Cardinal Raymond Burke has again confirmed Catholic doctrine about publicly promoting abortion and reception of the Holy Eucharist on national television on the eve of the 47th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.

The cardinal said, "No devout Catholic, no practicing Catholic, can be in favor of abortion," after being asked by Fox News host Martha MacCallum on Thursday about Joe Biden's pro-abortion voting record and his being refused Holy Communion, adding that the former vice president "has a consistent record of being pro-abortion."

No Catholic could "justify voting for legislation and policies that promote abortion," the former head of the Vatican's highest court added.

"This isn't a question of a confessional belief," the cardinal emphasized. "This has to do with the natural law. The first precept of the natural law is the defense of human life."

The 71-year-old prelate went on to criticize the dichotomy between Biden's private and public views on abortion: "You can't say ... privately, 'I think it's wrong' — I imagine he means by that, as a Catholic, he thinks it's wrong — but then, in his public life, he can act as if it's not morally evil."

Abortion is one of the greatest moral evils.

"It's one of the greatest moral evils," Burke added.

On being asked how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith, Biden has said

My religion defines who I am. ... With regard to abortion, I accept my Church's position that life begins at conception. That's the Church's judgment. I accept it in my personal life. ... [But] I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that women can't control their body. It's a decision between them and their doctor, in my view. And the Supreme Court — I'm not going to interfere with that.

Biden was denied Holy Communion by a Catholic priest in South Carolina in 2018. "Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church," explained Fr. Robert Morey, who barred Biden from the sacrament. "Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching."


In addition to his consistent support of Roe v. Wade, Biden's voting record on abortion includes voting "no" on:

  • Prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion
  • Notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions
  • Criminal penalties for harming an unborn fetus during other crime
  • Maintaining a ban on military base abortions
  • Banning human cloning

His positions have become more extreme over time. Recently, the presidential candidate announced he no longer supports the Hyde Amendment, which bans government funding for abortion.

Over the decades, Cdl. Burke has consistently spoken out publically against abortion and pro-abortion candidates who present themselves as good Catholics. 

In 2004, the cardinal said former Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) should be denied Holy Communion for his abortion views.

In 2008, Burke told an Italian Catholic newspaper that the U.S. Democratic Party risked "transforming itself definitively into a Party of Death for its decisions on bioethical issues." He pointed to two of the party's high-profile Catholics — Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — for misrepresenting Church teaching on abortion.

Burke lamented that a letter written in 2004 by Cdl. Joseph Ratzinger ... to American bishops was never distributed. It restated that a priest must refuse Holy Communion to politicians who support abortion. 

He also rebuked the University of Notre Dame in 2009 for awarding Barack Obama an honorary doctorate in spite of his advancement of an anti-life and anti-family agenda. "A Catholic institution — a Catholic university — cannot give honors to someone who is a promoter of things that are opposed to the most fundamental beliefs of Catholics," the cardinal said at the time.

Burke lamented that a letter written in 2004 by Cdl. Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, to American bishops was never distributed. It restated the Church position that a priest must refuse Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion. 

Burke was removed by Pope Francis as head of the Vatican Supreme Court in 2014 and reassigned to the largely ceremonial position of patron of the Order of Malta.

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