Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Scottish Cardinal Questions Whether Catholic Politicians Who Support Abortion Rights Should Remain Church Members, Receive Communion
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, leader of Scotland's Roman Catholics, on Thursday in a sermon at St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland, questioned whether politicians who support abortion rights should remain full members of the Catholic Church, London's Guardian reports. After the sermon -- which was made to mark the 40th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in England, Scotland and Wales -- O'Brien told journalists that he supported a change in the country's abortion policies.
"I think it's far beyond time that the present Abortion Act of 40 years ago was re-examined," he said. O'Brien urged Catholics in the country not to vote for representatives who support abortion rights. He said that he did not want Catholic politicians who support abortion rights to be kicked out of the church but added that they "must consider their consciences and whether or not they can approach the altar to receive holy communion" (Bell, Guardian, 6/1). He also called for medical schools and universities "to teach that all human life deserves protection" (McGarry, Irish Times, 6/1).
According to AP/Long Island Newsday, Pope Benedict XVI has said that individual bishops should decide whether Catholic politicians who support abortion rights should receive communion (AP/Long Island Newsday, 5/31). O'Brien's comments came two days after Scottish officials released figures that showed an increase in abortions from 12,603 in 2005 to 13,081 in 2006 (AP/Long Island Newsday, 5/31).