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Top US bishop says Eucharist ban for politicians a "last resort"

Denying Communion to a politician such as likely Presidential candidate Senator John Kerry, who supports legalised abortion, must be the last resort in a process to convince the politician to uphold moral truths when voting, according to US Bishops' Conference President Wilton Gregory.

"In the nature of the church, the imposition of sanctions is always the final response, not the first response," he told Catholic News Service.

The statement came in response to remarks Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Sacraments, at Friday's press conference on the new Vatican document about abuses associated with the liturgy and the Eucharist.

The document reaffirmed church teaching that a Catholic, in a situation of serious sin, must go to confession before approaching the Eucharist.

Cardinal Arinze was asked explicitly whether that meant Kerry should be denied Communion unless he goes to confession and repents for his position.

"The norm of the church is clear," Cardinal Arinze answered. "The church exists in the United States. There are bishops there, let them interpret it."

Denying Communion on abortion is last resort, Bishop Gregory says (Catholic News Service 26/4/04)

Redemptionis Sacramentum (US Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy)
Vatican insisting on liturgy norms observance (CathNews 27/4/04)
Kerry: Religion Shouldn't Be an Issue (Associated Press/Beliefnet 23/4/04)
Give Kerry Communion--for Now (Beliefnet)
Vatican moving to limit access to Mass (BigNews Network 27/4/04)
Vatican Weighs in as Kerry Backs Abortion Rights (Reuters 23/4/04)
Ministers hope to save lives with organ donation changes (ABC TV Lateline 24/4/04)
Kerry unbowed on abortion issue (BBC 23/4/04)
John L Allen: Kerry and communion; Liturgical abuse document released; The Vatican and terrorism; A talk by Passionist Fr. Donald Senior; 'New movements' congress in Stuttgart; North American College honors (National Catholic Reporter 23/4/04)

28 Apr 2004