Bishop clarifies Communion refusal to candidates

Producer: Ben Jackey

"Only if a politician tries to embarrass the Church or make a point would I refuse Communion," said Evansville Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger. The head of the Diocese of Evansville cleared up any confusion after his talk on religion and politics to Rotarians Tuesday.

"When our sons and daughters come to the table, we assume they come in good faith and in good standing. I will not ask to see their voting record," said Gettelfinger. Recently, some bishops around the country have pledged to refuse Communion to those politicians and voters who are openly in support of issues conflicting with Catholic values, such as abortion and gay marriage.

In July, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted a declaration that allows the decision of refusal of Communion based on political activity to be a local decision. Catholics believe the Communion to be the body and blood of Christ. Gettelfinger tells Newswatch that only if a candidate approached him trying to be defiant or make a spectacle of the Church, would the most blessed sacrament in the faith be denied.

Bishop Gettelfinger says Catholics voters and candidates must act with integrity and "be responsible to their maker" when they head to the polls.