(CNSNews.com) – To deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians who are Catholic, such as Secretary of State John Kerry, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, “makes perfect sense” because it is a discipline that goes back to St. Paul, “the very first years of the Church,” said Cardinal Raymond Burke, the former archbishop of St. Louis and now the chief justice at the Vatican’s highest court.
In an interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo on Dec. 13, Cardinal Burke explained that it is necessary to protect the Sacrament, the Communion wafer offered at Masses, from “being profaned, being violated by someone receiving unworthily,” someone “who knows that he or she is unworthy and yet presumes to come forward and to take the Holy Eucharist.”
Host Arroyo then asked, “Now, over the years, you have said everybody from John Kerry to Nancy Pelosi to Rudy Guiliani--these are public figures who are, by and large, pro-choice, in their public pronouncements, and manifestly so--you’ve said they shouldn’t receive the Sacrament. Now, over the years, you have received such scorn, for that clear teaching, do you ever stop and say, ‘Maybe I should back off a little bit’?”
Cardinal Burke, whose official title is Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, or chief of the Vatican’s highest court, said, “I’ve thought about it because I’ve received very severe criticism, both at the time that I was insisting on applying the discipline and also in my writing and other situations. But I have to say that, I think about it again, the discipline itself, and it’s a consistent discipline from the time of St. Paul, from the very first years of the Church, and it makes perfect sense.”
“In fact, it makes such fundamental sense that I can’t feel badly about it or question [it],” said the cardinal. "The question in my mind is, ‘Why don’t more people understand this?’ Because I don’t consider it to be rocket science or some kind of very unusual insight. It’s something that is natural to our Faith.”
The cardinal continued, “The Holy Eucharist is the most sacred reality. It is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And I simply wouldn’t approach to receive Holy Communion if I was in a state of sin, and neither would I give Holy Communion to someone who I knew was in a state of sin.”
Before being appointed to the Apostolic Signatura by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008, Cardinal Burke was the archbishop of the archdiocese of St. Louis, Mo., 2004-2008 and, before that, bishop of the diocese of LaCrosse, Wisc., 1995-2003, appointed by then-Pope John Paul II.In earlier interviews, Cardinal Burke has explained why, under Church law, pro-abortion Catholics, such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Secretary of State John Kerry must not present themselves for Holy Communion.