From an article titled The end of Catholic politicians
By barring Holy Communion to Catholic politicians in the La Crosse, Wis., diocese, Bishop Raymond Burke drastically changed the focus of discussion. Now, the bishop is challenging not only the morality of abortion but the morality of American citizenship.
..To the bishop, the morality of abortion is plain: It is a grievous sin. He and others are under pressure from some of their flocks to take harsher action against Catholic politicians who waffle. He acted. He placed politicians between the rock of their oath to uphold the Constitution and the hard place of his decision. The Supreme Court, the semifinal arbiter, has held that the Constitution bars governments from interfering in a woman’s choice to have an abortion.
That leaves women free to choose, which is not all that different from the way the creator left them when he made them. “Choose life,” he commanded, but the verb indicates that another choice is left open. Like the creator himself, the Constitution permits defiance.
Well actually the full quote from Deuteronomy is:
I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live,
The consequence to not choosing life is in reality spiritual death. He actually placed politicians between the rock of following God’s will or that of promoting an unjust law. The Supreme Court at one time also equated slaves with property in the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision. All of us including politicians that declare themselves to be faithful Catholics must fight unjust laws.
Bishop Burke and many others would like to change that, but practicing politicians know it’s not so easy. A government that has the power to ban abortions would have the power to command them for specific cases or races. Until fairly recently, some states commanded sterilization for some people, to which right-to-lifers would object, and New Jersey has flirted with effectively requiring welfare mothers to seek abortions. Government regulation in this case is a can of worms that a smart politician would be wary of opening.
Not a very good argument. A government that has the power to say that abortions are legal also has the same power to require anything that he also mentioned. His definition of a smart politician is a spineless one.
Additionally, if Roe vs. Wade were to be simply overturned by the Supreme Court, the law would revert to the pre-1973 status quo. Then, abortion was regulated on a state-by-state basis, and some states had legalized it, while others were moving toward legalization. That’s not what Bishop Burke is looking for, either.
A situation where the American people could directly vote on the matter of abortion is a lot more preferable to a situation where abortion is permitted in all circumstances. The United States is also not the same as it was prior to Roe v. Wade and the general population is pro-life. I believe that overwhelmingly most states would make abortion illegal if it was up to them. But this is also a good reason to amend the constitution with language that specifically bans the killing of children in the womb.
In October, in a document called “Faithful Citizenship,” the U.S. bishops outlined positions on a whole range of political issues, including better pay for farmworkers. The question that non-Catholics will ask is: On how many of those issues would a Catholic face excommunication for failing to vote the bishops’ way?
If you are going to write commentary pieces against the Catholic Church it would be a good thing to read what the Church actually teaches. The issue of excommunication is not even mentioned by Bishop Burke. He banned them from participating in communion if they continue to obstinately hold to promoting abortion. Every time you read one of these pieces you know sooner or later they get to the point of comparing abortion with another issue in Catholic social teaching. This time it is farm worker’s pay being equivocal to the support of abortion.
Bishop Burke’s action puts his friends as well as foes at risk in elections if the general public asks that question. In the Jesuit magazine America, Bishop Burke is reported to have been asked what will happen if his position disqualifies Catholics from running for office. He replied, “Then there won’t be any more Catholic politicians.”
I could find no such quote in the magazine America so I can’t vouched for the veracity of this statement. I don’t see how the boogeyman of not having pro-abortion Catholic politicians is suppose to scare me. If they can’t even determine that the child in the womb was infused with a soul by God at conception, I am not much concerned that their Catholicity was going to be such a bonus to having them in office in the first place.