Vol. 21 No. 1 - Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. -
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Catholic Bishop Halts Communion for Pro-Choice Pols
Outgoing Bishop Raymond L. Burke of La Crosse, Wis., ordered priests in his diocese to withhold communion from Catholic lawmakers who support abortion or euthanasia.
Burke's pastoral letter, signed in November, only went public in January. Burke previously raised hackles when it was revealed late last year that he had written intimidating letters to several Wisconsin lawmakers, warning they were endangering their "spiritual health" by supporting abortion.
Burke ordered communion withheld after the lawmakers refused to meet with him or agree to alter voting patterns to conform to Church dogma. Burke signed the communion orders on Nov. 23. He was appointed archbishop of St. Louis on Dec. 2 and was "installed" in January there.
The development brought widespread criticism from Wisconsin media and politicians.
The American Life League's "Crusade for the Defense of Our Catholic Church" has adopted a new ad campaign honoring Bishop Burke, called "The Way of La Crosse." ALL's ad campaign also identifies a "deadlier dozen" trageting pro-choice Catholic politicians. They include Sens. John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, D-Mass; Richard Durkin, D-Ill, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
January/February 2004 Excerpts