A very powerful statement from Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast went out in parish bulletins this weekend concerning congruence in public life between one’s personal beliefs and public statements and what constitutes a Catholic in good standing.
OTTAWA – Catholics in public life must take positions coherent with the Catholic faith, says Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, and that includes not only what they believe but how they vote.
If Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is setting limits as to who can belong to his party, the Catholic Church also sets limits on who belongs to the Church, Prendergast said.
The Catholic Church “expects adherence” to her teachings, because she believes they are “the teachings of Christ,” he said. “The teachings of Christ are not just for me; they are for the good of everyone.”
“Respect for life of the innocent child in the womb and also of the person at the end of his or her life is part and parcel of the Gospel,” he said.
The archbishop said he would not go so far as to advise Trudeau to no longer receive communion without meeting with him beforehand. He thinks that after Trudeau’s public statements a meeting would be “a good idea.”
“I don’t think you can make a judgment about someone’s faith position simply by what is said in the public,” he said. “There needs to be a meeting with myself, or with his parish priest, a priest who is in harmony with the Church’s teachings.”
Trudeau is a resident of Ottawa so canonically, as a Catholic, he belongs to the Ottawa archdiocese, he said. He is, however, from Montreal.
“I would respect a wish to consult with the Archbishop of Montreal (Archbishop Christian Lépine) if he wished, or with a priest that would be acceptable to the Archbishop of Montreal or myself,” Prendergast said.
Catholics are warned against taking the sacrament of Holy Communion unworthily, both in Scripture and in Canon Law section 915 which says: “Anyone aware of having committed a grave sin is obliged to refrain from receiving Communion without first obtaining absolution in the sacrament of Reconciliation.”