Cardinal Francis George said Wednesday that he would not deny Communion to Catholic politicians who take positions contrary to church law.
But the archbishop of the Chicago archdiocese said he is still considering the broader issue of how to respond to such politicians, and he awaits a report on the subject from a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops task force.
Asked whether he would follow at least one other bishop who directed priests to deny Communion to politicians who back abortion rights, George said: “No, not at this point. No.” He made the comments at a downtown luncheon of the City Club of Chicago.
“I don’t have a good answer” to how the church should react to politicians who hold positions contrary to church law, George said. “I’m loath to say we should take too many public positions on that at this point.”
I can understand why working for the care of individual souls you might decide not to make some of this public. Yet how about a general statement that Catholic politicians who take positions contrary to the faith should themselves abstain from communion until such time as they are actually in communion with the Church. This subject as it becomes more politically charged and is constantly being asked about from the press presents an ideal time to give some catechesis of what communion is and the duties of those who receive communion are. I don’t believe that all Bishops must order a communion ban for Catholic politicians who act contrary to the faith. This is a pastoral action and requires prudence. I do wish that they might realize the scandal caused to the faithful when the response seems to be very weak or non-existent.