The last two installments of this series of post indicated that formal cooperation in abortion was a reason why pro-abortion politicians must be judged unworthy to receive Holy Communion and must, therefore, be denied the Sacrament by the minister. When Benedict XVI was prefect of the CDF he indicated that formal cooperation in abortion was a reason why the politician was unworthy. Indeed, that cooperation in the results of such immoral laws are the cause for serious concern among the Church’s ministers. In Evangelium vitae, no. 73, John Paul II raised the issue of these laws saying, “In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it.’” This quotation is from the Declaration on Procured Abortion, no. 22. Cardinal Ratzinger’s 2004 letter referred directly to this idea insofar as it spoke of campaigning and voting for the immoral law. Here is the relevant statement from the Declaration on Procured Abortion: “It must in any case be clearly understood that whatever may be laid down by civil law in this matter, man can never obey a law which is in itself immoral, and such is the case of a law which would admit in principle the liceity of abortion. Nor can he take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it. Moreover, he may not collaborate in its application.”
The interesting point about these texts from Evangelium vitae and the Declaration on Procured Abortion is that the issue is not so much the cooperation in one or more procured abortions, but the cooperation in the creation of intrinsically immoral laws. In the next post, the blog will take a closer look at this issue.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion (18 November 1974), No. 22: AAS 66 (1974), 744.)