A US archbishop has denied that there is any special reason for the timing of a memo he published this week urging priests to bar Catholics from receiving Communion if they are in a second marriage, reports The Tablet.
Archbishop John Myers of Newark, New Jersey also ordered priests in his diocese to refuse to give Holy Communion to anyone who “joins or supports” any organisation which "publicly rejects Church teaching or discipline.”
While the memo, according to a spokesman for the Archbishop, is aimed at setting out guidelines to priests over “same-sex unions and such”, it also in theory bars supporters of major political parties from receiving Holy Communion.
In theory, the memo means that any members of the Republican Party – which supports the death penalty – and the Democratic party – which supports abortion and the death penalty – should be barred from receiving Holy Communion in the Archdiocese of Newark.
The Catechism for the Catholic Church states: “Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.”
But Pope Francis has been clear that the Church is no longer in favour of any form of capital punishment.