In a letter sent to legislators, Bishop Raymond Burke of La Crosse says if they support abortion or euthanasia, they can no longer receive communion. Some local priests support the bishop, but some legislators do not.
The letter was sent to Congressman David Obey and Senator Julie Lassa. It included the message that any catholic legislator who supports these issues after the knowing teaching of the church, commits a grave sin, and that they would not be admitted Holy Communion. He leaves it up to the priests to decide to make the final decision.
Father Robert Schaller of St. Peters Catholic Church in Stevens Point supports the bishop. Father Schaller says the issue is not one of the Catholic Church, but more of an issue of justice and human rights.
"If one of these politicians that he's identified come to receive communion I would withhold communion from them," says Father Schaller.
Congressman Obey says in regards to the Bishop's notification, quote, "When he attempts to use his ecclesiastical position to dictate to American public officials how the power of law should be brought to bear against Americans who do not necessarily share our religious beliefs, on abortion or any other public issue, he crosses the line into unacceptable territory."
Senator Julie Lassa says, "She holds Bishop Burke in high regard, however, believes an effort to pressure legislators by threatening to deny them the sacraments is contrary to the principals of democracy."