Why No Communion For Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians

Bishop Robert Vasa on pro-abortion Catholics, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and what authentic renewal of the Church will look like

Bishop Robert Vasa Catholic World Report Interview

Interview by Jim Graves, Catholic World Report

Bishop Robert Vasa has served as bishop of Baker, Oregon since 2000. On January 24, the Vatican announced that he will serve as coadjutor bishop for the Diocese of Santa Rosa, California. Bishop Vasa will assist the current head of the diocese, Bishop Daniel Walsh, and then succeed him as bishop once Walsh reaches the mandatory retirement age of 75 in 2012.

Bishop Vasa, age 59, has been outspoken in his defense of Catholic doctrine and moral teachings, particularly related to the life issues. He made news recently when he declared that a bishop’s authority in his own diocese supersedes that of the national bishops’ conference, stating, “It is easy to forget that the conference is the vehicle to assist bishops in cooperating with each other and not a separate regulatory commission.” He added, “there may also be an unfortunate tendency on the part of bishops to abdicate to the conference a portion of their episcopal role and duty.”

You have said that you would not give Holy Communion to a Catholic politician who supports legal abortion. Other bishops do not hold this view. Why do you believe as you do?

Bishop Vasa: It has to do with communion with the Lord. As someone I know said quite well recently, is this what the Lord wants you to do as a Catholic politician? If it isn’t, then you need to be honest and consistent about that and say you cannot claim a unity with the Church—a communion with the Church, a communion with Christ—when your beliefs, behaviors, and actions, particularly in terms of your pro-abortion stand, speak in absolute contradiction to that communion.

Denying Communion to such a politician is not something I would just casually do, though. I would first meet with that individual, offer them a warning, and tell them that their soul was in danger.

What concerns do you have about the work of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development?

Bishop Vasa: While I trust the bishops on the committee itself, I have many concerns nationally about how we as the Catholic Church interact with elements of our society that do not share our values. It is one thing to interact with those who do not share our values, but it is quite another to financially support agencies, individuals, or agendas which are absolutely, diametrically opposed to our principles and values.

Unfortunately, there are multi-layered corporations seeking funding that might have 90 percent of their activities perfectly in accord with the teaching of the Church, and they’re working in many areas and on issues for which the Church has a passion. Unfortunately, those same corporations may have a spin-off group that they fund which supports, say, population control, artificial contraception, and abortion. This would, in my mind, disqualify them from any support.

The question is how much of a link must exist between organizations seeking Campaign for Human Development funding and activities that as Catholics we find objectionable before we as a Church say, “No, I’m sorry, you are linked with immoral practices and we will not fund you.”

At some point, we must decide that their complicity with evil is too great, and we will not support them. Some people’s consciences may find some minor complicity acceptable, but for me, I believe that there are better places where our money can go.

How can we bring back a renewal of Catholic life in the United States?

Bishop Vasa: The renewal is already happening, but slowly. Young families and young adults in particular have sensed and experienced the emptiness of the promises of the world. They sense almost instinctively that there has to be something more.

Society looks at the human person, and it operates in regard to the human person with a philosophical base and foundation that is hollow and shallow. It treats us as a biochemical entity which is merely capable of pleasure and enjoyment.

But human beings are capable of so much more. We are spiritual beings. We are made in the image and likeness of God. We have a deeper component, a spiritual and supernatural component that is unsettled. As St. Augustine would say, our hearts are restless until they rest in God. Even though there has been a great attempt in society to alleviate that restlessness, it has been unsuccessful. And, that restlessness is rising up. People are asking, is that all there is?

The Church is the place where we say, “No, that is not all there is.” You are much more. You are created in the image and likeness of God. In baptism, you become a child of God. You are beloved of God, and you have been saved by the passion, death, and resurrection of the Lord. He lives with you today. He calls you to recognize your dignity and to live that dignity to the fullest. That’s a message that the world cannot offer and for which the world is hungry.

I always encourage Catholics to look forward and upward. I tell them not to be frustrated by a seeming lack of success, whether it be in the pro-life area, or in a desire for a stronger manifestation of Catholicism in political life, the health care world or other elements of our society. Such frustration is a sign that we want the success for ourselves.

What we are called to do, as Mother Teresa said, is be faithful. If we are faithful, then we are successful. That’s really the bottom line.

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19 comments to Why No Communion For Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians

  • Gloria

    On the question: Why no communion for pro-abortion catholic politicians. Let me put it this way as a parishioner and at mass with the politician I will not take communion. you see our belief on Pro Abortion are not the same. Its a communion with the church as well as with Christ. This is my decision on this matter. Christian Love!

  • Gloria

    Hello Clem, please remember to read those scripture verses. Thank You!

  • Gloria

    Courageous, yes aren’t we all? THE LORD JESUS THE CHRIST. Suffered and died on that cruel cross for all mankind. Now on the 3rd day he rose. He is alive I see his hands of mercy every day.{in a hospital situation} every day. Mr Clem I am not taking you lightly the fact you said we are answerable to GOD. Therefore remember they are going to give an account to Almighty God. Those who you think and I think sometimes and others might be thinking are taking God for granted.
    Clem you are a good fun person Peace be with you. sister in Christ!

  • Angel Babbitt

    > Is there any way that we can extend the revocation of communion to those ungodly fornicators?

    Do you mean pedophile priests and those who aid and abet them?

  • Jc

    Is there any way that we can extend the revocation of communion to those ungodly fornicators?

  • Truly

    Are you going to be posting to your facebook account? I’ve checked there and there is nothing.

  • Hi Clem,

    I just found this link and thought of you 🙂 You might like to read this.


    May God bless you

  • “Someone on this site has said that you folks have made the Catholic Church an end in itself and they are absolutely correct.”
    (I still don’t know how to use the HTML tags, so I don’t know how to make this a block quote 🙂 One day I will learn all of these things)

    May I answer this as well Clem?

    By “you folks” I take it you mean all Catholics and not just the admin of this site. I’m not sure what you mean by this. Do you mean that we look to the Church as having the fullness of the Faith and all necessary means of eternal salvation? Then, yes, the Catholic Church is an end in itself as the eternal bride of Jesus Christ.

    “As for the authority of the Church, it is difficult to take them seriously when one looks into how its leaders are chosen.”

    Maybe some Scripture will help you see that no matter how it looks on the natural level, all authority comes from God. And as you yourself said, you are answerable only to God.

    “Let every soul be subject to the authorities that are above him. For there is no authority except from God; and those that exist are set up by God.” Romans 13:1

    May God bless you Clem

  • Clem

    Someone on this site has said that you folks have made the Catholic Church an end in itself and they are absolutely correct.

    As for the authority of the Church, it is difficult to take them seriously when one looks into how its leaders are chosen. It is a highly political process based on a old boy network.


    Hello, Clem.

    I’m still waiting for an answer to my question.

    Do you accept the Church’s God-given authority on faith and morals?

  • Clem

    I have to get into this. There is only one entity that I or anyone is answerable to, God. As for some of the bishops in this country (The late and great Cardinal Bernadin being an exception.), most of them got their jobs by going to school in Rome and s—— up to the Roman Curia. (let us remember charity)


    Hey Clem,

    I am truly glad you are getting into this. I hope it is not rude of me to answer you in the same way I would have answered Joseph. Of course, that would be assuming he would have given a similar answer.

    You are so correct, we must ultimately answer to God.

    And God established a Church . . .

    Matthew 16:18
    And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

    And gave the Church authority . . .

    Matthew 16:19
    And I will give to thee (St. Peter) the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

    And God declared the Church to be the foundation of Truth . . .

    1 Timothy 3:15
    But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

    And declared all disagreements and the ability to rebuke shall be settled by the Church . . .

    Matthew 18:16-17
    And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican.

    And Jesus sanctified the Church . . .

    Ephesians 5:25
    Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it:

    Clem, as a Catholic brother, my question to Joseph and now to you, is this.

    Are you under the authority of the Catholic Church as established by Jesus Christ?

    Peace to you,
    John Quinn

  • Joseph


    The problem is that you have men making these calls. Only God knows some of the things your are talking about. Let him take care of these things.


    Hello Joseph,

    Do you mind if I ask if you’re Catholic or not?

    You said, “men making these calls.”

    When we look at scripture we realize that Jesus did not have this issue.

    Matthew 16:19
    And I will give to thee (St. Peter) the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

    Not only did Jesus allow men to make these calls, He gave men the authority to do so.

    Joseph is the real issue here that you do not want to be told what is right and wrong? Or do you believe ideas that goes against scripture and the teachings of Jesus Christ are your right?

    Joseph even Jesus Christ Himself was under authority.

  • Joseph and Mary
  • Jewish Law
  • Rome
  • God the Father
  • Under who’s authority are you under?

    Peace to you Joseph,
    John Quinn

  • I am sick of Catholics who think no one should be denied Holy Communion. If you are in the state of mortal sin and receive Holy Communion, then you committ sacrilege. I am so sick of people wanting the Catholic Church to keep up with the times. It can’t change because God’s law never changes. If you don’t like the rules of the Catholic Church, then become a Protestant and make your own rules.

  • Joseph

    First of all, what is a politian? Secondly, who do some postings get erased, especially if they disagree with you folks? Somebody asked if Jesus would deny communion to someone. I thought it was a good point.

    Hello Joseph,

    Thanks for pointing out the typing error. It is now corrected.

    For clarification, we do allow dissenting comments against the Church, which scripture calls the bulwark and foundation of Truth. Please feel free to check out other posts for proof.

    For the record, we have edited and deleted comments on both sides of the fence. All uncharitable and snarky comments are subject to being edited or deleted. Does that help?

    As for the “good point,” I will leave you with a few scripture quotes to meditate on.

    John 2
    [15] And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.

    Matt 23
    [33] You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?

    1 Cor 11
    [27] Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.

    May we all grow in Truth and Charity,
    John Quinn

  • Bill


    You are absolutely correct. How about those who don’t properly treat people who work for them?

  • Den

    I am expecting you to be consistent in your holding back of our Lord from those who might need Communion most. Thus I expect you withhold Communion from those in favor of Capital punishment as well.

  • […] No Communion For Pro-Abortion Catholic Politians. Why No Communion For Pro-Abortion Catholic Politians « Courageous Priest Bishop Robert Vasa has served as bishop of Baker, Oregon since 2000. On January 24, the Vatican […]

  • Tom

    Dear Excellency

    I applaud and salute you, dear brother in Christ Jesus. There are truly few Catholics (priests, bishops, laity) who are willing to put their lives on the line for Our Lord Master. How can we stand by in the face of pervasive ‘evil’ or make deals with the ‘father of lies’. I do not mean to sound harsh but a time is coming when I believe that we, Catholics, will face strong persecution. I hope and pray that His Majesty will grant myself and others the grace to stand firm in the Faith. If we turn to repentance and forgiveness, I know in my soul that we will begin to conform to HIs Will – not ours. People are hungry – not for compromised Catholicism but the Truth that comes from Our Lord and His successors. Even if I forget to pray for you every day, I promise now before our Holy Mother that in each heartbeat of my body, a portion of my prayer will rise to her for you and other brave priests & bishops. How can Our Mother’s Son deny any of her requests? We need ‘holy’ priests and bishops – not those who see their vocation as a job. Several times in my life I have sadly heard these words from priests. Now they are gone…The priesthood is not a job and without God’s grace no one can withstand the onslaught of the ‘enemy’. Please pray for vocations to the contemplative life..here God can begin to renew His Church through prayer, fasting, poverty and obedience.


    May God Bless and Keep us in His Loving Arms


    I bolded a line!
    Thanks for the comment.

    John Quinn

  • Julie Eckert

    It is about time. Before people run for an office, they are aware that their personal beliefs will be out there for all to see and hear. It is a slap in the face to all loyal Catholics who are prolife when a politician professes to be an active Catholic, yet shames the faith they profess to believe in by voting for abortion. What hypocrites. They are a disgrace to all loyal Catholics. I must say that priests and staff who do not promote prolife within their parishes are also a disgrace.

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