Pro-Life Group Criticizes Bishops' Abortion-Communion Decision

By Sarah Junk | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

( - The American Life League has released the first of several newspaper ads criticizing U.S. Catholic bishops for letting individual bishops decide whether to deny communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion legislation.

Last week, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement saying, "We recognize that such decisions rest with the individual bishop in accord with the established canonical and pastoral principles."

The full-page ad released in Thursday's Washington Times as part of the American Life League's Crusade for the Defense of Our Catholic Church, reads: "By approving their 'freedom of choice' statement, 183 American bishops have implicitly decided that either the Holy Eucharist is not all that good... or that abortion is not all that bad."

American Life League President Judie Brown said it's time for the bishops to act: "After three decades of 'dialoguing' with Catholic public figures who say they're 'personally opposed' to abortion, but will do nothing to stop it, the bishops have in effect said they're personally opposed to pro-abortion individuals claiming the Catholic faith, but will do nothing to stop it."

Brown noted that the Church's Code of Canon Law provides that those "who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to communion.'"

Religion has become a factor in the presidential race as Sen. John F. Kerry has come under fire for his pro-choice stand, which contradicts the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The American Life League claims, "You can't be Catholic and pro-abortion," and it is urging Catholic clerics to deny communion to pro-choice politicians.

But Kerry has cited the separation of church and state in his defense.

"I am not a spokesperson for the church and the church is not a spokesperson for the United States of America," press reports quoted him as saying.

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