Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver has aptly said that “abortion is the central social issue of this moment in our national history ‒ not the only issue, but the foundational issue; the pivotal issue. For Catholics to ignore it or downplay it or ‘contextualize’ it would be an act of cowardice.”
The election of Joe Biden to the presidency of the United States has reignited a debate that has long been simmering in the Catholic tradition: should advocates of abortion, especially politicians and lawmakers, be permitted to receive the Eucharist?
Biden is described both as a devout Catholic and ardent supporter of abortion ‒ a statement that seems incongruous as the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The Eucharist is properly the sacrament of those who are in full communion with the Church. “
Abortion is the direct killing of the innocent. As such, it is always and everywhere wrong and represents a grave evil. Proper preparation to receive Communion calls on the participants to be aware of grave sin. As such, Catholics who support abortion who possess even a modicum of knowledge of the Church’s teachings should know they are not in the proper state to participate in the sacrament.
Perhaps the first contemporary public example of this situation occurred in 2004 when Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis warned then presidential candidate John Kerry, who supported abortion ‘rights’, that he should not present himself for Communion. Archbishop Burke had earlier issued a pastoral letter pronouncing that Catholic legislators who approved of abortion or euthanasia committed a manifestly grave sin and were a cause of scandal to others, thereby precluding their admission to the Eucharist.
Controversy ensued over Archbishop Burke’s actions. Forty-eight Catholic members of Congress signed a letter to the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington. D.C. calling the denial of the Eucharist to politicians supporting abortion rights “deeply hurtful” and insisted such actions risked “miring the Church in partisan politics.” Other observers, however, praised the action as long overdue, saying that “the fact that so many Catholics hold public office and flout church teaching is a scandal that many of us have waited a long time to see addressed.”
The current status of this debate continues with similarly opposing opinions. However, the Vatican, in particular, seems to have taken a more guarded and nuanced approach to the question of whether Catholic lawmakers who support abortion should be able to present themselves to receive the Eucharist.
This article will first present some historical perspective and discussion on this question before an examination of the controversy as it currently stands.
From the beginning of the Christian tradition, the Church has stood firmly in favour of innocent human life and has regularly sought to uphold the sanctity of life. Early Christian writers viewed abortion in terms similar to infanticide and denounced it as evil. From the outset of the Church’s interaction with the ancient Roman world, Christian theologians denounced the Roman tolerance of infant exposure. Immediately upon gaining political power, Christian emperors sought first to discredit and then to abolish the practice of infanticide. In the fourth century, the Emperor Constantine, the first Christian sovereign, criticized the practice. Succeeding Christian emperors in that century, namely Valentinian, Valens, and Gratian, prohibited the practice and declared it a capital crime.
The Christian position was also in keeping with ancient medical practice. The Hippocratic Oath required medical practitioners to promise not to administer abortifacients. The earliest code for Christian living found outside the New Testament, the Didache, composed in the first-century, condemned abortion as contrary to the Christian life.
Gratian’s Decretum, the compilation and analysis of canon law in the medieval period, confirmed the universal condemnation of abortion. The Decretum quoted the unequivocal declaration of Pope Stephen V, “That person is a murderer who causes to perish by abortion what has been conceived.”
The Church’s Pastoral Constitution, Gaudium et Spes, (On the Church in the Modern World), issued by the Second Vatican Council, declares with respect to abortion:
God, the Lord of life, has conferred on men the surpassing ministry of safeguarding life ‒ a ministry which must be fulfilled in a manner which is worthy of man. Therefore, from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care, while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.
Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, (The Gospel of Life) contains a particularly strong condemnation of abortion, placed in the context of the affirmative duty of all Christians to preserve the command of the Decalogue not to commit murder:
The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity.
The Pope’s encyclical further reminds the faithful that the obligation to respect innocent life plainly includes a prohibition on abortion:
The Church has always taught and continues to teach that the result of human procreation, from the first moment of its existence, must be guaranteed that unconditional respect which is morally due to the human being in his or her totality and unity as body and spirit: “The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which is in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.”
The 1983 Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church, declares abortion to be a crime that subjects the one who commits it to automatic excommunication.
This treatment of abortion as a crime distinguishes it from other immoral activities censured by Church teaching. For example, while papal Encyclicals criticize the use of contraceptives by married persons, it is not the subject of ecclesial criminal sanction. The death penalty while rarely, if ever justified, was not said to be a categorical evil. However, this has recently changed with the 2018 revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to read that “in the light of the Gospel” the death penalty is “inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” Abortion, like its ancient cousin infanticide, stands out as a particularly grave crime against innocent life and thus draws the sternest of condemnations by the Church.
Admission to the Eucharist and the Duty of the Church
The Church’s teaching regarding the proper attitude to receive the Eucharist is grounded in St. Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians that “whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord.” He further wrote, “a person should examine himself, because … anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.”
Early Christian leaders were unafraid to challenge the political authority of their day when that authority transgressed moral boundaries. St. Ambrose of Milan denied communion to the Roman Emperor Theodosius until he should do penance for the massacre of political opponents in 390 A.D. In this way, the bishop condemned the unjust use of political power and upheld the sanctity of both life and communion.
In the encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia (The Church from the Eucharist), Pope John Paul II summarized the Church’s teaching on the communal nature of communion, on the need for a penitent conscience to receive the sacrament, “If a Christian’s conscience is burdened by serious sin, then the path of penance through the sacrament of Reconciliation becomes necessary for full participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.”
Under the Code of Canon Law of 1983, the Church admonishes the faithful to ensure they have the proper attitude to receive the Eucharist, thus ordinarily leaving reception of Holy Communion to the conscience of each supplicant. However, in circumstances of excommunication, interdiction, or obstinate persistence (italics added) in manifest grave sin, the canon law directs withholding of the sacrament.
Admission to the Eucharist and the Duty of the Laity
The laity were encouraged by the Second Vatican Council to bring to bear in the secular world fundamental principles of justice and morality. The Catholic laity, in short, have an affirmative duty to transform the world. Apostolicam Actuositatem (Apostolate of the Laity) states:
“The laity must take up the renewal of the temporal order as their own special obligation … everywhere and in all things, they must seek the justice of God’s kingdom.”
Catholics are encouraged to participate in the political order and thereby to transform it.
In his address to a group of American bishops on their visit to the Vatican in 2004, Pope John Paul II accentuated both the responsibility of the laity for transforming the world and the duty of bishops to provide pastoral guidance to the laity in fulfilling this responsibility. In particular, he noted that the concept of rights has become distorted and has lost its anchor in a proper understanding of the human person:
“Detached from this vision of the fundamental unity and purpose of the whole human family, rights are at times reduced to self-centered demands: the growth of prostitution and pornography in the name of adult choice, the acceptance of abortion in the name of women’s rights, the approval of same sex unions in the name of homosexual rights.”
The Pope concluded that the American bishops “must do everything possible to encourage the laity in their ‘special responsibility’ for ‘evangelizing culture’ … and promoting Christian values in society and public life.”
The Special Duty of Lay Catholic Officeholders
The Catechism of the Catholic Church stresses that in order to be legitimate, political authority must act in furtherance of the common good:
“A human law has the character of law to the extent that it accords with right reason, and thus derives from the eternal law. Insofar as it falls short of right reason it is said to be an unjust law, and thus has not so much the nature of law as of a kind of violence.”
The Catechism stresses that the common good presupposes a respect for human life as a cornerstone of social responsibility, and further that abortion is a violation of this respect.
Pope John Paul II singled out for rebuke those office-holders whose support for abortion rights has contributed to a climate of permissiveness where abortion is concerned:
“Responsibility likewise falls on the legislators who have promoted and approved abortion laws, and, to the extent that they have a say in the matter, on the administrators of the health-care centers where abortions are performed.”
Aside from Church leaders, theologian Michael Novak also writes emphatically that “to be complicit in the law and culture that encourages abortion is to step out of communion with the Catholic faith.”
In light of the growing disconnect between Church teaching and the public behaviour of many professing Catholic political officials, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life. In this document, the Congregation reiterated the Church’s clear stance against the “kind of cultural relativism” that prevails in many countries and that “sanctions the decadence and disintegration of reason and the principles of the natural moral law.”
The Congregation document then notes that the Holy Father “has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a ‘grave and clear obligation to oppose’ any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them.”
The vocation of the diocesan bishop is to teach, lead, and build up the faithful in his diocese. In their statement on Catholics in Political Life by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the American Bishops highlight their primary obligation to “teach clearly.” Thus, the bishops rightly have committed themselves to “counsel Catholic public officials that their acting consistently to support abortion on demand risks making them cooperators in evil in a public manner.”
If a public leader fails to appreciate that the evil of abortion demands a more vigorous public response, then pastoral exchange may reach a point of impasse. Those who persist in such public opposition indicate that they are personally denying their communion with the Church. 
Among the first of the Church leaders in America to question whether a politician may claim communion while rejecting it in public life, Bishop William Weigand of the Diocese of Sacramento stated publicly in 2003 that “anyone ‒ politicians or otherwise ‒ who thinks it is acceptable for a Catholic to be pro-abortion is in very great error, puts his or her soul at risk, and is not in good standing with the Church.”
Writing in May 2004, the Archbishop likewise said:
“If we ignore or deny what the Church teaches, or refuse to follow what she teaches, we are not in “communion” with the Catholic faith. We separate ourselves from the community of believers. If we receive Communion anyway, we engage in a lie.
Claiming to be Catholic and then rejecting Catholic teaching is an act of dishonesty and a lack of personal integrity. Worse, if we then receive Communion, we violate every Catholic who does believe and does strive to live the faith fully and unselfishly. And that compounds a sin against honesty with a sin against justice and charity.”
Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis is one of the most important canonists in the United States episcopate. At one time he served in Rome as Defender of the Bond of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the first American to hold that position on the Church’s highest court. In his pastoral letter entitled Catholics and Political Responsibility, he writes that:
“(a) Catholic legislator who supports procured abortion or euthanasia, after knowing the teaching of the Church, commits a manifestly grave sin which is a cause of most serious scandal to others. Therefore, universal church law provides that such persons are not to be admitted to holy communion.'”
In November 2003, Archbishop Burke instructed priests in his diocese to deny Communion to three politicians unless they publicly recanted their pro-abortion rights positions.
Pope Benedict XVI, in his Apostolic Exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis, instructs that:
… it is especially incumbent upon those who, by virtue of their social or political position, must make decisions regarding fundamental values, such as respect for human life, its defence from conception to natural death (italics added) … These values are not negotiable. Consequently, Catholic politicians and legislators, conscious of their grave responsibility before society, must feel particularly bound, on the basis of a properly formed conscience, to introduce and support laws inspired by values grounded in human nature. There is an objective connection here with the Eucharist (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-29). Bishops are bound to reaffirm constantly these values as part of their responsibility to the flock entrusted to them.
The same Pope, while speaking to reporters in 2007, was asked whether he supported Mexican Church leaders threatening to excommunicate leftist parliamentarians who last month voted to legalize abortion in Mexico City.
“Yes, this excommunication was not an arbitrary one but is allowed by Canon law which says that the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving communion, which is receiving the body of Christ,” he said.
“They (Mexican Church leaders) did nothing new, surprising or arbitrary. They simply announced publicly what is contained in the law of the Church … which expresses our appreciation for life and that human individuality, human personality is present from the first moment (of life)“.
In the tradition of the Church, there is perhaps no more eloquent teaching on the evil of abortion than Pope John Paul II in his encyclical, EvangeliumVitae (The Gospel Life):
Among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable. The Second Vatican Council defines abortion, together with infanticide, as an “unspeakable crime”…
The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder and, in particular, when we consider the specific elements involved. The one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life. No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined…
But responsibility likewise falls on the legislators who have promoted and approved abortion laws, and, to the extent that they have a say in the matter, on the administrators of the health-care centres where abortions are performed…
Throughout Christianity’s two-thousand-year history, this same doctrine has been constantly taught by the Fathers of the Church and by her Pastors and Doctors. Even scientific and philosophical discussions about the precise moment of the infusion of the spiritual soul have never given rise to any hesitation about the moral condemnation of abortion…
Given such unanimity in the doctrinal and disciplinary tradition of the Church, John Paul II was able to declare that this tradition is unchanged and unchangeable:
Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, in communion with the bishops ‒ who on various occasions have condemned abortion and who in the aforementioned consultation, albeit dispersed throughout the world, have shown unanimous agreement concerning this doctrine ‒ I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is transmitted by the Church’s Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.
A historical review reveals that the Church has consistently taught that abortion is the direct killing of the innocent and is thus a grave evil. Further, the Church has also been consistent in its instruction that those that support abortion, and perhaps more so policymakers, should not present themselves to receive the Eucharist.
As noted earlier, the Church today, and in particular Pope Francis, has been more nuanced in its teaching.
Pope Francis has been consistent in his condemnation of abortion: In his encyclical, Laudato Si, (2015) he wrote: “Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion“
In February 2016, when asked about abortion for pregnant women amid the Zika virus scare, Pope Francis responded that abortion is “an absolute evil” and against doctors’ Hippocratic oath.
In June 2018, the Pope said that abortion of children who are sick or disabled is like Nazi eugenics “but with white gloves.”
On September 15, 2021, in reply to a reporter’s question, Pope Francis said:
“…abortion is more than an issue. Abortion is murder. Scientifically it’s a human life. This is why the Church is so strict on this issue because accepting this is kind of like accepting daily murder.”
However, he went on to say:
“I never denied communion to anyone … Communion is not a prize for the perfect … communion is a gift, the presence of Jesus and his church,”
On the day that Biden was inaugurated as president, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a lengthy statement written by its president, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles. It read in part:
Working with President Biden will be unique, however, as he is our first president in 60 years to profess the Catholic faith. In a time of growing and aggressive secularism in American culture, when religious believers face many challenges, it will be refreshing to engage with a President who clearly understands, in a deep and personal way, the importance of religious faith and institutions. Mr. Biden’s piety and personal story, his moving witness to how his faith has brought him solace in times of darkness and tragedy, his longstanding commitment to the Gospel’s priority for the poor — all of this I find hopeful and inspiring.
At the same time, as pastors, the nation’s bishops are given the duty of proclaiming the Gospel in all its truth and power, in season and out of season, even when that teaching is inconvenient or when the Gospel’s truths run contrary to the directions of the wider society and culture. So, I must point out that our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender. Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences …
Abortion is a direct attack on life that also wounds the woman and undermines the family. It is not only a private matter, it raises troubling and fundamental questions of fraternity, solidarity, and inclusion in the human community. It is also a matter of social justice. We cannot ignore the reality that abortion rates are much higher among the poor and minorities, and that the procedure is regularly used to eliminate children who would be born with disabilities.
An unnamed senior Vatican official told America (magazine) that the Inauguration Day statement “is most unfortunate and is likely to create even greater divisions within the Church in the United States.” Cardinal Blase Cupich, reported to be a key ally of Pope Francis, also responded:
“Today, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued an ill-considered statement on the day of President Biden’s inauguration,” Cardinal Cupich said in one of two statements he released today. “Aside from the fact that there is seemingly no precedent for doing so, the statement, critical of President Biden came as a surprise to many bishops, who received it just hours before it was released.”
It was reported in media outlets that an agenda item at the fall conference of the USCCB November 2021 would be a proposal to bar President Biden from receiving the Eucharist.  These rumors were perhaps due to a combination of factors: Archbishop Gomez had issued a memo to a working group prior to the conference on the development of a document on “Eucharistic Coherence.” The memo also stated that the “continued injustice of abortion” remains the “preeminent priority,” Archbishop Gomez said, “but preeminent’ does not mean ‘only.’ We have deep concerns about many threats to human life and dignity in our society.”
In an apparent response to these actions, the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Cardinal Luis Ladaria wrote to Archbishop Gomez that any such policy requires dialogue first among bishops themselves and then between bishops and Catholic politicians who support abortion rights — whom the cardinal specifically identified as “pro-choice.”
A columnist for the National Catholic Reporter said that Ladaria’s letter “effectively derails” plans to deny communion to Biden.
Upon the completion of the fall 2021 meeting of the USCCB, it was reported in the press that the U.S. bishops finally passed, by a vote of 222 to 8 with three abstentions, the much talked about document on “Eucharistic Coherence,” originally designed to address the problem of a pro-choice Catholic president after the election of Biden as president.
Although the document was supported by the vote, the language was widely reported to have been tempered down in that it did not single out any politicians by name or prohibit the receiving of the Eucharist by supporters of abortion.
One editorial commented: “So the fact that the bishops passed, without much fanfare, a bland document that for the most part ignores the issue of politicians and Communion will likely be seen by many on the right as capitulation and a loss. And progressives could rack it up as a win.”
Pope Francis commented that bishops debating whether to deny communion to public figures who support abortion rights, such as President Joe Biden, should make their decisions from a “pastoral” viewpoint and not a political one.
“The problem is not theological, it’s pastoral,” Francis told reporters. “How we bishops deal with this principle. We must be pastors, also with those who are excommunicated. Like God with passion and tenderness. The Bible says so.”
As noted at the beginning, the approach now as to whether policymakers who support abortion should be able to receive the Eucharist, seems to have shifted. Previously, the consensus seemed to support the prohibition of the Eucharist to supporters of abortion. Now, the Pope’s guidance seems a more pastoral approach without prohibitions on supporters of abortion from presenting themselves for the Eucharist.
The author of this article possesses neither the wisdom or discernment to judge the apparent shift in the Church’s policy regarding reception of the Eucharist for supporters of abortion. We shall have to wait to see the consequences of this new way forward.
On average, 56 million abortions were performed worldwide each year between 2010-2014. Globally, 25% of pregnancies end in abortion. About 73% of abortion are obtained by married women.
More recently, 61% of all unintended pregnancies, and 29% of all pregnancies, end in induced abortion.
Abortion is illegal in 24 countries: Andorra, Aruba, Congo, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Jamaica, Laos, Madagascar, Malta, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Palau, Philippines, San Marino, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Tonga, and the West Bank/Gaza Strip.
Abortion on demand is legal in 56 countries: Albania, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Guyana, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, North Korea, North Macedonia, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.
The remaining countries of the world allow abortion under certain conditions: to preserve physical health and/or mental health, on socioeconomic grounds, and to save a women’s life.
 Eric Gorski, Bishops in Colorado for Crucial Dialogue Progress on Abuse-Related Reforms and the Role of Catholics in Public Life are on this Week’s Agenda, Denver Post, Jun 13 2004, at Al.
 Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Ed, (1997). Part 2, Section 2, Chapter 1, 1395.
 Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, How should I prepare for the Eucharist? Accessed December 18, 2021. https://www.archspm.org/faith-and-discipleship/catholic-faith/how-should-i-prepare-for-the-eucharist/.
 Patricia Rice, Archbishop Burke Says He Would Refuse Communion to Kerry, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jan 31 2004, at 24.
 Bishop Raymond L. Burke, Pastoral Letter: Catholics and Political Responsibility (Diocese of Lacrosse, Wl. (January 2004).
 Letter from 48 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, On Denying Communion as a Sanction, to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Diocese of Washington D.C., (May 10, 2004). Accessed December 18, 2021. https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=6016
 Laurie Goodstein, Democrats Criticize Denial of Communion by Bishops, New York Times, May 20, 2004 at 16.
 Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of The Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion, 6-7 (1974).
 Mirielle Corbier Child Exposure and Abandonment, in Childhood, Class and Kin in the Roman World. 52. (Suzanne Dixon, ed., 2001).
 Charles J. Reid, Jr., Power Over the Body, Equality in the Family, 74. (2004).
 Ibid. at 4.
 Ibid. at 9.
 Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of The Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion, 7 (1974).
 Second Vatican Council, Gaudium Et Spes, 51. (1965).
 John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 57, (1995).
 Ibid. 62.
 Catholic Church, The Code of Canon Law, Canon 1398. (1983).
 1 Corinthians 11:27.
 1 Corinthians 11:28-29.
 Charles J. Reid, Jr., Review Essay: A Brief Account of Western Constitutional History, 46 Emory L.J. 791, 803 (1997).
 John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 37. (2003).
 Catholic Church, The Code of Canon Law, Canon 915. (1983).
 Second Vatican Council, Apostolicam Actuositatem 7 (1965).
 John Paul II, Ad Limina Address of Pope John Paul II to the Bishops of the Church in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Western Texas, 5 (June 4, 2004).
 John Paul II, Pastores Gregis: On the Bishop, Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World, 51 (2003).
 Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Ed, (1997). Part 3, Section 1, Chapter 2, 1902.
 Ibid. 1907.
 John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 59. (1995).
 Michael Novak, In and Out of Communion, National Review Online, June 15, 2004. Accessed December 18, 2021. www.nationalreview.com/novak/novak200406150846.asp.
 Congregation for The Doctrine of The Faith. Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life. 2. (2002).
 Ibid. 4.
 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Catholics in Political Life. 2004. Accessed December 18, 2021. https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/church-teaching/catholics-in-political-life
 Gill Donovan, No Eucharist for Pro-Abortion Politicians, Bishop Says. National Catholic Reporter, Feb 7, 2003, at 6. Accessed December 21, 2021. https://www.thefreelibrary.com/No+Eucharist+for+pro-abortion+politicians%2C+bishop+says.+(Nation).-a097729848
 Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, It’s a Matter of Honesty: To Receive Communion, We Need to be in Communion, Denver Catholic Register, May 26, 2004, Accessed December 21, 2021. http://www.catholicculture.org/docs/doc view.cfm?recnum=5982
 National Catholic Register, Cardinal Burke on His New Appointment to Church’s Highest Court, Oct 3, 2017. Accessed December 21, 2021. https://www.ncregister.com/blog/cardinal-burke-on-his-new-appointment-to-church-s-highest-court
 Bishop Raymond L. Burke, Pastoral Letter: Catholics and Political Responsibility. Jan 2004. Accessed December 21, 2021. http://catholiceducation.org/articles/politics/pg01l16.html
 Tim Townsend, Bishops Have Denied Communion Before. Catholic Education Resource Center. 2004. Accessed December 21, 2021. https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/faith-and-character/faith-and-character/bishops-have-denied-communion-before.html
 1 Corinthians 11:27-29.
 Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, 83 (2007).
 Puella, Philip. Pope Warns Catholic Politicians Who Back Abortion. May 9, 2007. Accessed December 21, 2021. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pope-abortion/pope-warns-catholic-politicians-who-back-abortion-idUSL0956318820070509
 John Paul II. Evangelium Vitae, 58. (1995).
 John Paul II. Evangelium Vitae, 61. (1995).
 Ibid. 62.
 Pope Francis. Laudato Si, 120. (2015).
 Catholic News Agency. 2021. Respect Life: Pope Francis’ 8 Strongest Statements Against abortion. Accessed December 18, 2021. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/249172/pope-francis-abortion-statements
 Reuters. 2021. Pope says abortion is “murder” but U.S. bishops should not be political. Accessed December 18, 2021. https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/pope-says-abortion-is-murder-us-bishops-should-not-be-political-2021-09-15/
 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. USCCB President’s Statement on the Inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as 46th President of the United States of America. Accessed December 18, 2021.
 America Magazine. 2021. In rare rebuke, Cardinal Cupich criticizes USCCB president’s letter to President Biden. Accessed December 18, 2021. https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2021/01/20/biden-cupich-gomez-bishops-239779
 Catholic News Agency. 2020. Archbishop Gomez: Biden will ‘support policies’ against ‘fundamental’ Catholic values. Accessed December 18, 2021. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/46620/archbishop-gomez-biden-will-support-policies-against-fundamental-catholic-values
 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. USCCB President’s Statement on the Inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as 46th President of the United States of America. Accessed December 18, 2021.
 NPR. 2021. Vatican Warns U.S. Bishops About Denying Communion to Supporters Of Abortion Rights. Accessed December 18, 2021. https://www.npr.org/2021/05/11/995796836/vatican-warns-u-s-bishops-about-denying-communion-to-supporters-of-abortion-righ
 National Catholic Reporter. 2021. Editorial: Eucharist document will quietly go away, but bishops’ ineffectiveness remains. Accessed December 18, 2021. https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/editorial-eucharist-document-will-quietly-go-away-bishops-ineffectiveness-remains
 CNN Politics. 2021. Pope Francis says bishops should be pastors, not politicians in US debate on denying Biden communion over abortion. Accessed December 18, 2021. https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/15/politics/pope-francis-catholic-politicians-abortion-communion/index.html
 World Health Organization, Guttmacher Institute. 2021. Key Facts on Induced Abortion Worldwide. Accessed December 18, 2021. https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/news/440KeyAbortionFactsFinal.pdf.
 Bearak J, Popinchalk A, Ganatra B, Moller A-B, Tunçalp Ö, Beavin C, et al. Unintended pregnancy and abortion by income, region, and the legal status of abortion: estimates from a comprehensive model for 1990–2019. Lancet Glob Health. 2020 Sep; 8(9).