Ratzinger opposed Kerry

Published April 21, 2005

WASHINGTON, April 20: German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican theologian who was elected Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday, intervened in last year’s US election campaign ordering bishops to deny communion to abortion rights supporters including presidential candidate John Kerry. In a June letter to US bishops enunciating principles of worthiness for communion recipients, Joseph Ratzinger specified that strong and open supporters of abortion should be denied the Catholic sacrament, for being guilty of a “grave sin”.

He specifically mentioned “the case of a Catholic politician consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws”, a reference widely understood to mean Democratic candidate Kerry, a Catholic who has defended abortion rights.

The letter said a priest confronted with such a person seeking communion “must refuse to distribute it”.

A footnote to the letter also condemned any Catholic who votes specifically for a candidate because the candidate holds a pro-abortion position. Such a voter “would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for holy communion”, the letter read.

The letter, which was revealed in the Italian magazine L’Espresso last year, was reportedly only sent to US Catholic bishops.—AFP

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