THE CATHOLIC CHURCH has indicated that if TDs feel excommunicated from the church because of their support for the abortion legislation they should seek the counsel of their priest.
A spokesperson for the Irish Bishops’ Conference told TheJournal.ie this morning that there is no central diktat to priests to refuse TDs Communion at mass.
The Sunday Independent reported yesterday that several government TDs said they were discouraged from taking Communion by members of the clergy.
The spokesperson for the bishops noted “no names are mentioned in that article” but insisted it is “not the case” that the Catholic Church has told priests to snub TDs who supported the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill.
They said: “If individuals have concerns in relation to their relationship with the church they should speak to a priest who will guide them in relation to these concerns.”
The spokesperson said that the suggestion that there is a central diktat to all priests and eucharistic ministers to refuse Communion is “illogical”.
During the abortion debate earlier this year Catholic bishops called for legislators to be given a free vote on the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill as well as opposing the legislation completely.
“No one should entrust the decisions of their conscience to another,” the Bishops’ Conference said in a briefing note on 8 July this year.
In a homily in Knock the day before that the Bishop of Ferns said: “I must confess to having a certain sympathy for the ‘whipped’ Deputies too, they should never have been put in a position where they have to choose between their future political careers and their conscience.”
The spokesperson for the bishops added: “Guidance from a priest if there is concerns ought to be sought and would undoubtedly be willingly given.”