WINONA, Minn. – Diocese of Winona Bishop Bernard Harrington said in a statement that any Roman Catholic who supports abortion rights defies church teachings and should not receive Holy Communion.
"It is time we recognize that morality and ethics — not our political parties — determine what we believe," Harrington wrote in the July edition of the Courier, the diocese’s official newspaper.
Harrington’s statement came weeks after a national bishops’ task force he served on said bishops have the authority to deny Communion to politicians who support abortion rights.
The task force’s statement, "Catholics in Political Life," was overwhelmingly approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last month amid controversy over U.S. Sen. John Kerry’s support of abortion rights. Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, is Catholic.
Individual Catholics must determine whether they are worthy to receive Communion, Harrington said.
He wrote that "any Catholics who steadfastly support abortion should not come forward" for the sacrament, but he stopped short of repeating threats made by some U.S. bishops to deny Communion to Kerry or other politicians who support abortion rights.