Letter from my bishop re: voting

I was doing some research on an unrelated topic, and came across a letter that my Bishop wrote in the diocesan newspaper from 2004. He states that any parishioner who supports a candidate that is pro-choice, pro gay marriage, etc., “makes mockery of faith and belies his identity as a Catholic,” and should remain seated during communion.

Would the Catholic parishioners in my diocese be bound to obey the Bishop’s directive not to receive Holy Communion?

This is a thread that can easily go off the rails, so please limit yourself to answering the above question in bold.

Also, please note that the Bishop’s position is that he is not directing ppl on how to vote, rather is giving instruction about church teaching.

My Bishop is a very holy man, and I am a faithful Catholic who, for a variety of reasons, sometimes votes for candidates who do not hold to Church teaching. So this puts me in a pickle.

St. Francis de Sales would say yes.


Also, to twist the pretzel a bit more… since I’ve just discovered this letter from 2004, and I’ve already voted for candidates who aren’t in line with church teaching, does that mean that retroactively I should not now receive communion?

I don’t know the answer to your question. But I certainly couldn’t agree more with that bishop and what he wrote. If only more of them were as outspoken as him!


Also, to twist the pretzel a bit more… since I’ve just discovered this letter from 2004, and I’ve already voted for candidates who aren’t in line with church teaching, does that mean that retroactively I should not now receive communion?

As far as I’m aware, it’s not a sin to vote for a candidate who goes against Church teaching unless you are voting for him/her because of that.


I would consult your priest.

But I don’t support those things. I don’t think I understand what you’re saying. Can you explain it like I’m five please :grin:


My priest is not very doctrinally conservative, and would probably think I’m a nutter for bringing this up.

I meant that the Bishop would be correct in that parishioners who support those things should refrain from receiving communion.

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But he’s saying that parishioners who vote for candidates who support those things should refrain from receiving communion.

Hmmm… find an FSSP priest and ask him?

It is a good idea to get a good, doctrinally conservative spiritual director anyways. Honestly they are the ones who should dictate how often we receive communion. Traditionally speaking, while it is good to receive as frequently as you can, a spiritual director can guide you to the right amount and tell you good circumstances for avoiding it. Obedience can also lessen our culpability for certain things, too.

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Oh, sorry, sometimes I’ll skim through posts and not interpret them correctly. I didn’t see the ‘a candidate’ part of your original post.

I thought that you meant the bishop stated that parishioners who personally support those things should refrain from receiving communion.

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That statement isn’t consistent with Catholic teaching, actual Church teaching is much more nuanced than that.

If you vote for a candidate because of those positions, that would be wrong.

It’s an opinion, not a juridic act on the part of your bishop. So, no.

Unfortunately that direction is completely inadequate and incomplete.


Thank you for your help. I will try to look into this a bit. Man, it’s kinda overwhelming that as a lay person I have to be familiar with canon law in order to figure something like this out. Being Catholic is so complicated sometimes!


Think of it like you are before a judge and he asks you why you disobeyed you’re religious superior.

If you can give a solid defense based on God’s teaching, go for it.

In this situation it would be something like, “Your bishop said if you support a candidate with a vote, and this candidate was known to authorize the murder of millions of babies, not to receive communion, why did you disobey and vote for a candidate who directly authorized and supported the murder of untold number of babies, then receive Christ who stands as the complete opposite of it?”


“Why did you not receive communion?”


“Why did you decide not to vote for a guy who supports and took action to allow murder of babies through executive decisions, and forces the church organizations to do it and other such things like gay ‘marriages’?”

I can only think of one good answer, and it is to the last one, “I desired You, my Lord, and I would have been told by my superior to not receive You had I voted for him.”

In the end, we are to be obedient to 1) our bishops, 2) our spiritual directors, 3) the teachings of the Church, 4) a rightly formed conscience based on God.

I don’t think a bishop has authority over that. At least I hope he doesn’t.

I’ll choose to believe that he doesn’t

I see what you’re saying, but abortion has been around for 50 years, despite many Republican presidents and judges. Roe was confirmed by a Regan appointed judge in Casey v PP! So I think we have to consider other avenues to end abortion. And there are a lot of other issues regarding the respect due to the human person, which Trump simply rolls over. Anyway, I appreciate your input and I don’t really want to get into the political nitty gritty. I don’t know who I’ll vote for, but I’ll try to choose someone Jesus would approve of. To me that doesn’t seem to be Biden or Trump, so I’m not sure where that leaves me.

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True, but one side will push for more.
I’m also not saying vote republican.

But this gets harder under the particular party we are speaking of.

None of which share the same gravity. The only “assault” on human dignity people can quote are the border issues, which democrats while Biden was VP allowed (the cages). Walls are not unCatholic. In fact, God has walls for heaven.

The death penalty is not an assault on human dignity, and was supported by the Church until the 60’s. Then allowed but frowned upon until 2018. . . .

So if we are actually looking at the gravity of social assaults on human dignity, we have abortion which is murder, vs cages which was started under Obama, while Biden was VP.

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No. How you vote and whether you receive Holy Communion is up to your individual conscience. You will of course need to account to God for your decisions, but the bishop does not have a right to tell people how to vote, so his letter should be read as pastoral guidance, not as any kind of a binding order.

Also, since you have a right to keep your vote secret, you are not required to tell any bishop or priest how you voted, so there’s no way your bishop or priest could track that.

2004 was also 16 years ago. Do you even have the same bishop? If you have a new bishop, he may have totally different ideas about this.


He doesn’t.

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