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Eucharistic Coherence of Politicians and Legislators


Vatican City, October 7, 2005

Eucharistic coherence of politicians and lawmakers is a serious problem in quite a few nations and parliaments. Today the projects for laws and the choices made or to be made seriously imperil “the wonderful news”, that is, the gospel of the family and life, which form an indivisible unity.[1] The future of man and society is at stake and, in many aspects, the genuine possibility for integral evangelization.

As can often be heard, a spurious argument is made for a so-called free political choice, which would have the primacy over evangelical principals and also over the reference to right reasoning.  Juridical positivism would be a sufficient explanation. The ambiguous positions of legislators are quite well known on divorce and de facto couples,[2] which at least implicitly would constitute an alternative to marriage,[3] even though these unions are simply a “juridical fiction” and “the circulation of false money”.[4]  This is even worse when dealing with “couples” of the same sex,[5] something unknown in the cultural histories of people and in law, even if they are not presented as “marriage”.[6]

Presenting this juridical lie as “marriage” and presuming to have the right to adopt children is certainly even more destructive. This whole tendency, which could invade many nations, is clearly contrary to divine law, to God’s commandments, and is a negation of natural law. The social fabric is wounded in a lethal way.  A disastrous influence on laws and on the truth concerning man follows, who no longer comprehends the “transcendent” character of his “existence as man” and is reduced to being an instrument and an object[7] in the different attempts against life, starting from the abominable crime of abortion.[8]

Can we allow access to Eucharistic communion to those who deny human and Christian principles and values?  The responsibility of politicians and legislators is great.  A so-called personal option cannot be separated from the socio-political duty.  This is not a “private”[9] problem: acceptance of the Gospel, the Magisterium and right reasoning is needed!

As for everyone else, the Word of God holds true also for politicians and legislators: “Therefore anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord eating and drinking his own condemnation” (1 Cor 11:27-29).

The Lord of the family and of life,[10] of love, of the covenant that unites spouses, is truly present in the Eucharist.  God is the creator of human dignity. The question cannot be resolved in a circumstantial way, according to the various attitudes in the different countries, because Christian consciences and ecclesial communion could become vague and confused. All these problems need to be clarified and illuminated by the Word of God in the light of the Magisterium of the Church, in the splendor Veritatis.

Politicians and legislators must know that by proposing or defending projects for iniquitous laws, they have a serious responsibility[11] and must find a remedy for the evil done and spread in order to be allowed access to communion with the Lord[12] who is the way, truth and life (Cfr. John 14:6).

H.E. Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo
President of the Pontifical Council for the Family

[1] “Man cannot be sundered from God, nor politics from morality” (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Issued Motu Proprio Proclaiming Saint Thomas More Patron of Statesmen and Politicians, No.  4, October 31, 2000.

[2] Cfr. Pontifical Council for the Family, Family, Marriage and “de facto” Unions”, Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2000.

[3] “Yet the excellence of this institution is not everywhere reflected with equal brilliance, since polygamy, the plague of divorce, so-called free love and other disfigurements have an obscuring effect” (Second Vatican Council, Apostolic Constitution Gaudium et Spes, No. 47, §2).

[4] Note of the Executive Committee of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, En favor del verdadero matrimonio, No. 4b, Madrid, July 15, 2004.

[5] “Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.  They are contrary to the natural law.  They close the sexual act to the gift of life.  They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity.  Under no circumstances can they be approved” (CCC, 2357).  “Some people conclude that their tendency is so natural that it justifies in their case homosexual relations within a sincere communion of life and love analogous to marriage…homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and can in no case be approved of” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Persona Humana. Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics, [1975], No. 8).

[6] “Consequently, sexuality too is depersonalized and exploited: from being the sign, place and language of love, that is, of the gift of self and acceptance of another, in all the other's richness as a person, it increasingly becomes the occasion and instrument for self-assertion and the selfish satisfaction of personal desires and instincts” (Evangelium Vitae [1995], No. 23).

[7] “Enclosed in the narrow horizon of his physical nature, he is somehow reduced to being ‘a thing’, and no longer grasps the ‘transcendent’ character of his ‘existence as man’…Life itself becomes a mere ‘thing’, which man claims as his exclusive property, completely subject to his control and manipulation” (EV, 22).

[8] “But responsibility likewise falls on the legislators who have promoted and approved abortion laws” (EV, 59).

[9] In his Homily on October 2, 2005, the Holy Father Benedict XVI used the word “hypocrisy”.

[10] “The family…is truly the sanctuary of life” (EV, 92).

[11] “The passing of unjust laws often raises difficult problems of conscience for morally upright people with regard to the issue of cooperation, since they have a right to demand not to be forced to take part in morally evil actions. Sometimes the choices which have to be made are difficult; they may require the sacrifice of prestigious professional positions or the relinquishing of reasonable hopes of career advancement” (EV 74). “Those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a «grave and clear obligation to oppose» any law that attacks human life” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in public life, November 24, 2002).

[12] “Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion” (CCC, 1385).   

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