Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

5/6/2008 (6 years ago)

Zenit News Agency (www.zenit.org)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."

Highlights

By Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Zenit News Agency (www.zenit.org)

5/6/2008 (6 years ago)

Published in Europe


ROME (Zenit) - The following is the statement of the Congregation ofr the Doctrine of the faith issued in June of 2004.

1. Presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion should be a conscious decision, based on a reasoned judgement regarding one's worthiness to do so, according to the Church's objective criteria, asking such questions as:

"Am I in full communion with the Catholic Church?"

"Am I guilty of grave sin?"

"Have I incurred a penalty (e.g. excommunication, interdict) that forbids me to receive Holy Communion? Have I prepared myself by fasting for at least an hour?"

The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion, merely as a consequence of being present at Mass, is an abuse that must be corrected (cf. Instruction "Redemptionis Sacramentum," nos. 81, 83).

2. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin.

The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorise or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a "grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. [...] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to 'take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it'" (no. 73).

Christians have a "grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God's law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. [...] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it" (no. 74).

3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion.

While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment.

There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

4. Apart from an individuals's judgement about his worthiness to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin (cf. can. 915).

5. Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person's formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church's teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

6. When "these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible," and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, "the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it" (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration "Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics" [2000], nos. 3-4).

This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgement on the person's subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person's public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.

[N.B. A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate's permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia.

When a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.]


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Europe

Muslim migrants threw Nigerian and Ghana Christians overboard, police say Watch

Image of More than 10,000 people have arrived on Italian shores from Libya since last weekend alone.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Muslims among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat killed 12 fellow passengers by throwing them overboard because they were Christians, Italian police say. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At least 15 people have been arrested on suspicion of ... continue reading


Rare phenomenon 'worm rainfall' observed in Norway, scientists still baffled Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Thousands of earthworms were observed falling from the sky across the southern part of Norway, which still baffles the scientists. The rare phenomenon was sighted by a Biology teacher Karstein Erstad, as he was skiing in the mountains near Bergen last weekend. ... continue reading


Pope Francis is part of 'evil front' against Turkey, prime minister declares Watch

Image of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has accused Pope Francis of being part of an

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has accused Pope Francis of being part of an "evil front" plotting against his country. The Pope used the term "genocide" in describing the massacre of one million Armenians during the Ottoman Empire in 1915. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Vatican-backed exorcism course warns of 'beautiful young vampires' Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Beautiful young vampires," in vitro fertilization and gay rights were among the warnings for possession presented during a Vatican-backed exorcism course. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Vampires from pop culture Hollywood films, like Twilight and True Blood, were ... continue reading


Pope Francis' talk about Satan increases worldwide interest in exorcism Watch

Image of A week-long exorcism conference, held this week at the Pontifical University of Regina Apostolorum in Rome and endorsed by the Vatican, is being attended by around 160 Catholic priests from around the world.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The world is now in the throes of an increased awareness of Satan and the "dark arts" of exorcism. Pope Francis' fire-and-brimstone language, coupled with his frequent references to the Devil has raised awareness of the Evil One once again into the mainstream of ... continue reading


Turkey recalls Vatican envoy after Pope describes Armenian massacre as 'genocide' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It has long been a point of contention between the nations of Armenia and Turkey concerning the death of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 during World War I. Armenia has long maintained that the deaths were the result of one of the 20th Century's earliest ... continue reading


Extremely rare book from 17th century, banned by Pope Innocent XI, resurfaces Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

One of the most rare books, according to the website Abe Books, has surfaced in a pile of book donations from a donor to a British bookstore. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The book "Varia Opuscula Theologica" (Various Theological Brochures) was written by ... continue reading


Saharan dust storm expected to bring 'Blood Rain' to Britain Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Health officials issue warnings of dangerous rains to the United Kingdom this weekend. As the northerly Atlantic winds blow the red Saharan dust, reaching the country among other nearby states, the south east and eastern England will experience high levels of ... continue reading


GENESIS OF TUBERCULOSIS? Hungarian mummies suggest TB began in Rome Watch

Image of Walled up and forgotten for about 150 years, the corpses were discovered when a construction worker tapped on a wall during renovation work.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The ancient Romans gifted humanity wit, wine, aqueducts, and roads - and tuberculosis. Researchers have now isolated bacterial DNA of several strains of the disease from the bodies of mummies found in the crypt of a church in the city of Vac in Hungary. LOS ... continue reading


Muslim dad storms Catholic school in U.K. for forcing Muslim students to shave beards Watch

Image of Mohammad Liaqat racially abused teachers at Mount Carmel Roman Catholic High School (pictured) in Accrington after Muslim students were told they could not grow beards.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Muslim father stormed into the Mount Carmel High School, a Catholic school in Lancashire, England and launched into a tirade of racial abuse at teachers. He was incensed that Muslim students at the school had been forced to shave their beards. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 7:51--8:1
51 'You stubborn people, with uncircumcised hearts ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 31:3-4, 6, 7, 8, 17, 21
3 You are my rock, my rampart; true to your name, ... Read More

Gospel, John 6:30-35
30 So they said, 'What sign will you yourself do, the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 21st, 2015 Image

St. Anselm
April 21: St. Anselm Archbishop of Canterbury and Confessor APRIL 21,A.D. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter