You would never know from his press coverage, but President Joe Biden is the most radically pro-abortion president who has ever held the office. That’s all right with Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Vatican’s dicastery of Integral Human Development. The Cardinal says the president should not be denied Holy Communion because "If you say somebody cannot receive Communion, you are basically doing a judgment that [he is] in a state of sin."
The office of the bishop is to teach the Catholic faith. According to the Catholic faith, anyone who promotes abortion is committing a grave sin. Nor is the idea just some eccentricity of the Church, because the wrong of deliberately taking innocent human life is a fundamental of the natural moral law. So what is going on here?
The Cardinal says that withholding Holy Communion from someone who promotes killing babies turns the sacrament into a “weapon.” But the proposal here is not to score political points, but to uphold the spiritual integrity of the sacrament. Let the political chips fall where they may; it isn’t the Church’s fault that mortal sin is part of the president’s platform. According to Canon 1398, anyone who “procures” abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae, which means that he excommunicates himself by the very act of doing so. It would be strange if promoting it and boasting that one has done so didn’t count as procuring it.
We are told that it would not be “pastoral” to chastise those who promote slaying innocents, but let’s think about that too. St. Peter, our first pastor, wrote “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” It is hardly sober and watchful to stand by and let one’s president and those influenced by his bad example be devoured. A shepherd does not reassure the sheep that there is no harm in the jaws of lions. He warns them and tries to rescue them.
We are even told that it would be harsh and unkind to deny holy communion to the president. Actually it is unspeakably cruel not to deny it. As St. Paul explains in his first letter to the young church in Corinth, whoever receives the Body and Blood of Christ unworthily is in deadly peril. This isn’t candy we’re talking about.
What then could this false shepherd have been thinking? In suggesting that we can’t condemn the promotion of abortion, was he saying that we can’t see the state of Biden’s heart? We can’t, but we can’t see anyone’s heart; invisibility of the heart does not imply invisibility of the sin. By an invisibility standard, no one should ever be barred from communion, and not even the Cardinal holds that position.
Was he saying that abortion is not wrong? Probably not, although his words give that impression.
Was he saying that abortion is not very wrong? He did say that Communion should be withheld only in “extreme cases,” but I don’t think he meant that abortion is not very wrong, but that licensing and encouraging abortion is not very wrong.
Now we are getting close. Was he saying that the blood of the deed darkens only the hands of those who wield the knives, not those who procure them and sharpen them?
Ah. I suspect it was something like that.
We have heard this before. I didn’t rob the bank. I only kept the motor running while I was waiting for my friend. I didn’t cut the guy’s throat. I only held him still so that you could. I didn’t support the murder of the Jews. I only voted for the people who thought they should be murdered.
There are many famous parallels. Stephen A. Douglas wasn’t pro-slavery. He was only pro-choice about slavery. Pontius Pilate didn’t command Jesus’ execution. He only gave official permission for it.
As though one could authorize evil without sharing in the guilt of it.
A good thing not only for the president to think about, but for the Cardinal.
I entertain no hopes that this foolish, negligent, and morally confused shepherd will be removed from his office. On the contrary, he will probably be praised for helping make straight the path. Many would like the Abortion President himself to be invited to the Vatican.
“For the time has come,” said St. Peter, “for judgment to begin with the household of God.” One trembles to think what the judgment may be for tolerating the promotion of bloodshed in mercy’s name.