- The most serious misrepresentation of my letter was the conclusion drawn by many that I or other ministers of Holy Communion would refuse the sacrament to people who voted in a particular way. Nowhere in the letter do I say this or even suggest it. The intent of the letter was to appeal to the consciences of Catholic people as they prepare to vote in November. I called upon Catholics to recognize that our vote, while always a private act, has public consequences for good or evil. This means that my vote must be cast with a conscience well-informed as to good and evil. This, I believe, is sound Catholic teaching and common sense.
The Church has taught from the beginning that when Catholics sin seriously they must refrain from receiving Holy Communion until they have repented and been absolved in the Sacrament of Penance (confession). In fact this teaching has been repeated in the most recent writings of the Holy Father on the relationship between the Eucharist and Penance. If a Catholic votes in bad conscience, especially in matters that have to do with the sanctity of life (e.g. abortion), how can this be anything other than a participation in that sinful act? It is at this point that the Church calls upon sinners to withhold themselves from receiving Holy Communion until they have been forgiven of their sins. This is a far cry from denying someone Communion. How, in fact, could I deny anyone Holy Communion since I would not know the condition of the communicant’s soul?
It seems that an incorrect notion of conscience is at the bottom of much of the misunderstanding . . . . [READ MORE]
SOURCE: Bishop Sheridan responds to his critics without backing down. CatholicCitizens.Org.