(CNSNews.com) – Cardinal Francis Arinze, who is among some of the favored candidates to be the next Pope, remarked that Catholic politicians who say they are “personally” opposed to abortion but believe it is okay to be “pro-choice” is akin to saying one is “personally” against shooting members of Congress but others can do so because “it’s just pro-choice for that.”
During a question-and-answer session at a conference held at Familyland USA in Bloomington, Ohio in 2007, Cardinal Arinze was asked about Catholic U.S. politicians who vote for abortion and then present themselves for Holy Communion and what could the Church do about the issue.
Arinze said, “The question of voting [for] abortion is not Catholic law, but Divine law. So, those who kill unborn babies are breaking not the law of the Church but the law of God. … They have gone against Divine law: Thou shall not kill.”
He continued, “To the person who says, ‘Personally I am against abortion but then, if people want to do it, and let them free,’ you could say, ‘You are a member of the Senate or the Congress -- personally I am not in favor of shooting the whole lot of you, but if somebody else wants to shoot all of you in the Senate or all of you in Congress, it’s just pro-choice for that. But personally, personally I’m not in favor.’ That is what he is saying.”
“He is saying that, ‘Personally,’ he’s not in favor killing these millions of children in the womb, but if others want to do it, its pro-choice. That’s what he is saying,” said the cardinal.
As for those pro-abortion Catholic politicians who present themselves for Holy Communion at Mass, Cardinal Arinze said, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”
He continued, “Get the children for first communion and say to them, somebody votes for the killing of unborn babies, and says, I voted for that, I will vote for that every time -- and these babies are killed, not one or two, but in millions, and that person says I am a practicing Catholic -- should that person receive communion next Sunday?”
“The children for First Communion will answer that at the drop of a hat. You don’t need a cardinal to answer that,” he said.
Cardinal Francis Arinze, who is from Nigeria, is the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. He is also the Cardinal Bishop of Velletri-Segni (near Rome, Italy), a position that was previously held by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he was elected Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Benedict announced his resignation from the papacy on Feb. 11, a position he will leave at month’s end. On March 1, 117 cardinal-electors will meet in the Sistine Chapel to vote for the next pope. Cardinal Arinze, because he is 80, cannot vote in the conclave but he is eligible for the papacy. According to news reports, he is among the favored candidates.