The Corner

Religion

Bishop McElroy on Abortion and Communion

President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, attend a service at St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., before his presidential inauguration on January 20, 2021. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

Salvatore Cordileone, the Catholic archbishop of San Francisco, has explained why politicians who support exposing unborn children to lethal violence are ineligible for Communion. Responding to him without naming him, Robert McElroy, the Catholic bishop of San Diego, writes in America that “the Eucharist must never be instrumentalized for a political end, no matter how important.” He goes on to argue that millions of laypeople would run afoul of a more stringent standard; that it would be wrong to withhold Communion for officials who are in error on abortion but not those who have made grave moral errors on other issues; that the unity of the Church would suffer as many Catholics failed to see any good reason for this selectivity; and that we must keep in mind that we are “a church of sinners and questioners, who must face intense pressures and complexities in their daily lives.”

One can disagree with each and every argument Bishop McElroy makes. What can’t be denied is that they add up to a case that the Church owes some segregationists an apology.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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