Melbourne Archbishop says prudent politicians welcome at Eucharist
Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne has responded to questioning from The Sunday Age newspaper about whether he would give communion to Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, a Catholic who supports Medicare arrangements that offer legal abortion.
He told the paper that disagreement with Catholic teaching would have to be "public and notorious" for him to withhold the sacrament "but if a person is publicly known to be living contrary to (church teachings), I have no option but to . . . withhold Communion".
The Age described Premier Bracks as "cautiously pro-choice" on abortion. It sais he is "very hard to pin down", but has put on record that he supports the current federal Medicare arrangements (which offer legal abortion).
He told The Sunday Age only that "the Catholic Church is a broad church, it houses many different views". But he does receive the Eucharist when he goes to Mass.
Noted Catholic federal MP Kevin Andrews declined to comment, as did Cardinal George Pell.
Health Minister Tony Abbott, a former seminarian who recently complained that no one ever asked him how it felt as a Catholic to preside over 100,000 abortions a year, was very delicate when asked that question.
"As an individual, I'm not happy about it, but I'm a minister in the Government, and there's not going to be any policy change," he said. He had no comment on the Kerry-Vatican stoush.
Archbishop Francis Carroll, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, put the onus back on the politicians.
He said: "The Eucharist is the ultimate sign of unity with Christ and his church. It is therefore expected that Catholics would not present themselves for Communion if their public statements or actions on serious matters of faith and morals clearly contradict the teaching of the church."
Following a recent Vatican statement, US Bishops are under pressure to refuse Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry the sacrament. Kerry, a practising Catholic, is strongly pro-choice.
Tasmanian Catholic Senator Brian Harradine said Senator Kerry had acted in a way that gave bishops no choice.
"It is especially sad when those who claim to hold to a faith known for its strong defence of the unborn child defy and undermine that faith," he said.
Pro-choice pollies stay silent (The Sunday Age 2/5/04)
Abbott calls Catholics to action over abortion (CathNews 29/4/04)
Dublin Archbishop warns against politicisation of Eucharist (CathNews 29/4/04)
John L. Allen: Sr. Enrica Rosanna, a woman takes charge in the Holy See; Cardinal Theodore McCarrick on pro-choice politicians; Catholic thought and world politics (National Catholic Reporter 30/4/04)
Arinze grilled over Kerry and the Eucharist (The Tablet 1/5/04)
Politics, piety and the Catholic vote (National Catholic Reporter 30/4/04)
Washington Cardinal Attempts Denial of Vatican Cardinal's Statement on Denying Communion to Pro-Abortion Politicians (LifeSite 30/4/04)7
Canon law leaves much to interpret on sacramental sanctions (Catholic News Service 30/4/04)
Europe's identity incomprehensible without Christianity, pope says (AsiaNews.it 2/5/04)
Pope ordains 26 new priests (AsiaNews.it 2/5/04)
POPE APPEALS FOR RELEASE OF HOSTAGES HELD IN IRAQ (Vatican Information Service 30/4/04)
ROLE OF FAMILY IN BUILDING INTER-GENERATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS (Vatican Information Service 30/4/04)
3 May 2004