In the wake of many prominent Catholic politicians voting to expand abortion -- up to the moment of birth and even after birth if the infant survives the abortion--Archbishop Joseph Naumann, who heads the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said support for such "intrinsically evil acts" are "deplorable" and seriously "immoral."
He also declared that such politicians must not present themselves for Holy Communion, and that while "we are not able to judge their souls," we do know "there will be a Judgment Day."
In recent weeks, lawmakes in New York voted to expand abortion procedures to include abortion up to the moment of birth. This legislation was signed into law and celebrated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), a Catholic who supports abortion, Planned Parenthood, and so-called gay marriage. Similar legislation was proposed in Virginia and another bill looks to be headed to passage in Vermont.
On Feb. 25, 44 Democrats in the U.S. Senate voted against the The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act -- in effect they voted for babies that survive an abortion to be left on a table to die, no medical help. In that group who voted essentially to permit infanticide were many Catholics, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and 16 other "Catholic" senators.
In his statement, A Concern for Catholics in Public Life, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said, "Recent efforts to perpetuate and expand abortion in state laws have illuminated the deplorable actions of some Catholic public officials and advocates. Their efforts to support and even celebrate such legislation will result in killing many more unborn children, as well as the spiritual and emotional wounding of their mothers and fathers."
"Advocating for intrinsically evil acts, like abortion, is a serious immoral act," he said, "one that involves grave matter, the prerequisite for the commission of a mortal sin. While we can object to the actions of these public officials, we are not able to judge their souls. At the same time, we know there will be a Judgment Day."
"Conscious and unrepentant mortal sin endangers our eternal souls and places ourselves on a path to Hell," said the archbishop.
"To receive our Eucharistic Lord, while in a state of mortal sin, only further jeopardizes the eternal fate of our souls," he said. "Sincere repentance, a conversion of heart, and a genuine effort to make amends for the harm caused by our sin, are essential to be able to receive God’s mercy."
The archbishop, who also heads the archdiocese of Kansas City, continued: "In my own role as a bishop, I have a serious responsibility to make certain that those entrusted to my pastoral care are aware of the moral gravity and spiritual consequences of their actions. I also have a serious obligation to protect other members of my flock from being misled by a seeming tolerance of the scandalous behavior of some Catholics in public life."
"It is critically important that I attempt to enter into dialogue with such Catholic leaders," he said. "If even after an extended dialogue a Catholic in public life persists in scandalous actions, I have found it necessary to request that they not present themselves to receive Holy Communion, for their own spiritual welfare and for the protection of many others from moral confusion."
Archbishop Naumann concluded, "I invite all Catholics to pray for spiritual healing for all those involved in or advocating for legalized abortion. When we truly repent, God is always eager to lavish us with His mercy."