Monday, August 16, 2004

Bishop Peter Jugis of Charlotte, North Carolina

The pro-abortion Catholic lawmakers are creating scandal in the Church by saying they are practicing Catholics and receiving Holy Communion, while at the same time promoting abortion legislation -- promoting what is gravely evil. Since they have chosen, on a very, very grave matter, to separate themselves from the communion of the faith of their Church, they cannot come to Holy Communion until they have had a change of heart.

The focus of the statement this week was admittedly very narrow indeed -- only pro-abortion Catholic lawmakers.

I am grateful for people's calls and letters this past week. Some people have also reminded me not to forget the other important moral issues -- euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, death penalty, preemptive war, health care. I assure you, the Church will continue to speak on all these moral issues, while realizing that not all moral issues have the same moral weight.

Procured abortion is always intrinsically evil and can never be justified. It is a direct attack on an innocent human life. The pope wrote in the encyclical on the Gospel of Life in 1995 that today many people have lost a sense of how grave abortion is. Because it is accepted in the popular mind, in behavior, and in the law, people are losing the ability to distinguish between good and evil, even on so fundamental an issue as the right to life of the unborn.

The destruction of human embryos for stem-cell research is also intrinsically evil, as is euthanasia, and can never be justified because all these directly target and destroy innocent human life. The Catechism reminds us: The death penalty may be justified in very limited instances: "in cases of absolute necessity ... when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society ... (and today) such cases are very rare, if not practically nonexistent (Gospel of Life, 56)." War also may be justified under certain defined conditions (Catechism, 2309).

But procured abortion may never be justified. Euthanasia may never be justified. Destruction of human embryos for stem-cell research may never be justified.

There is a lot of work for the church to do on many fronts.

Bishop Peter Jugis of Charlotte, North Carolina, explaining in a sermon why he signed a recent statement barring pro-abortion Catholics from communion.

Excerpt published in the Charlotte Observer. The entire text can be found here [PDF].