Influential American Catholic Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, who is a member of the Vatican's highest court, says a recent decision by a South Carolina priest to deny communion to Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden over his abortion advocacy was “right and just.”
“What the priest did in South Carolina was right and just — would that more priests would act in a similar manner!” Burke said in an interview with The Wanderer.
Last October, Biden, who is a lifelong Catholic, was refused communion at the 9 a.m. mass at Saint Anthony Catholic Church where Father Robert E. Morey serves as pastor. Morey confirmed that Biden was denied the sacrament because of his advocacy for abortion rights.
“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” Morey said in an earlier report. “Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”
“Let’s be clear, this ban is dangerous and directly violates a woman's constitutional right to choose. We must stop it. As president, I will codify Roe into federal law and ensure this choice remains between a woman and her doctor,” Biden said in a tweet.
In his interview with The Wanderer, Burke said politicians who profess to be practicing Catholics will not get a pass when they are involved in “public grave sin.”
“I demonstrate that in the whole tradition of the Church, the discipline with regard to not admitting people who are involved in public grave sin, after having been admonished, has been constant and that it certainly applies to those who publicly support abortion and so-called same-sex marriage legislation,” he said.
“This whole matter is not a question of politics — it is a question of the moral law. The moral law applies to politicians as much as anyone else. If one is ignorant of the truth and promotes abortion legislation, that is one thing. But if one is a professed Roman Catholic who has been admonished that he (or she) cannot support legislation against the natural moral law, he (or she) is bound to be obedient to that law.
"How can bishops stay out of the matter, when politicians who profess to be Catholic are giving scandal to the whole nation by voting in favor of abortion? How can they silently stand by?” he asked.
“I remember an incident in 2004 when a non-Catholic, high-ranking government official in Washington, D.C., asked me if I thought the Church’s teaching on abortion could possibly change. I recall being shocked by the question and responded, ‘How can you ask that question?’ After all, the question was one of the natural moral law and did not have to do with any specific denominational or confessional matter. ‘Well,’ he replied, ‘I could give you the names of probably 80 to 100 Catholic legislators who regularly vote in favor of abortion legislation. So I figure it cannot be a very firm teaching of your Church.’ This is a major scandal!” Burke noted.