Cardinal Raymond Burke said Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who describes himself as a “devout Catholic,” is “not a Catholic in good standing” and “should not approach to receive Holy Communion.”
In an interview with Catholic Action for Faith and Family released last week, Burke said he doesn’t intend to endorse any political candidate, but simply wants to state that “a Catholic may not support abortion in any shape or form because it is one of the most grievous sins against human life, and has always been considered to be intrinsically evil and therefore to in any way support the act is a mortal sin.”
“And the person in question [Biden] has not only been actively supporting procured abortion in our country, but has announced publicly in his campaign that he intends to make the practice of procured abortion available to everyone in the widest possible form, and to repeal the restrictions on this practice which have been put in place,” said Burke, a canon lawyer and former prefect of the Catholic Church’s highest court.
“So, first of all, I would tell him not to approach Holy Communion out of charity toward him, because that would be a sacrilege, and a danger to the salvation of his own soul,” Burke continued.
“But also he should not approach to receive Holy Communion because he gives scandal to everyone. Because if someone says ‘well, I’m a devout Catholic’ and at the same time is promoting abortion, it gives the impression to others that it’s acceptable for a Catholic to be in favor of abortion and of course it’s absolutely not acceptable. It never has been, it never will be.”
Burke said he cannot understand why Catholics “who are involved in politics can’t get this straight in their heads.”
“We simply have to get this straight,” Burke stated. “This is a most fundamental way in which the Catholic Church can serve the whole of our society by restoring the respect for human life, while, on the other hand, Catholics going around announcing themselves as pious Catholics and then being 100 percent in favor of abortion or being in favor of abortion in any way, give a great scandal.”
Burke defined scandal as leading others into “wrong thinking and wrong acting by your example.”
“In other words, if people were perhaps questioning in their mind about abortion and they see this man who announces himself to be a devout Catholic and he’s promoting abortion in the strongest possible way, this leads people into error, thinking, well, it must be morally acceptable to commit abortions.”
Burke said he’s been approached by many non-Catholic politicians who believe the Church has changed its teaching on abortion and same-sex marriage.
“I can’t imagine that any Catholic wouldn’t know that abortion is a grievous sin, but if they don’t, once they’ve been told, then they either have to cease to support abortion or accept the fact they are not a Catholic in good standing and therefore should not present themselves for Holy Communion,” Burke said later in the interview.