When a local Catholic priest denied Reinhard Heydrich communion because of his support of the so called “final solution for the Jews,” local Catholic Bishop von Mealymund of Eastern Prussia was asked whether he would deny communion to a politician who voted for the final solution.
The diocesan offices issued the following statement:
“The Church’s teachings on the protection of human life from the moment of conception is clear and well-known. Bishop von Mealymund has consistently refrained from politicizing the Eucharist, and will continue to do so. His preference, as with most bishops, is to interact with politicians individually who disagree with significant church teachings.”
Mr Heydrich’s office said about the overpopulation facing his country, “Mr Heydrich has always been pro choice. While he is personally opposed to gas chambers he supports those who are faced with heart rending problems and are facing very difficult choices. In this time of crisis for our country it is important to defend our freedoms, and one of those freedoms is the freedom to choose. If some people choose an efficient and economical solution to the population problems, who is Mr Heydrich to judge?”
Bishop von Mealymund spoke clearly about his own position:
“I look forward to the opportunity to enter into a dialogue on a number of issues with Mr Heydrich and other Catholic leaders in the Diocese of East Prussia,” the bishop said in an interview that was published four days before he was installed as bishop of East Prussia. “However, I do not intend to get drawn into partisan politics nor do I intend to politicize the Eucharist as a way of communicating Catholic Church teachings. It is critical to keep the lines of communication open if the church is going to make her teachings understood and, please God, accepted. It is my belief that Catholics of all occupations have the same duty to examine their own consciences before determining their worthiness for the reception of communion. I think I will get a lot more mileage out of a conversation trying to change the mind and heart than I would out of a public confrontation.”
When asked for his comment on the controversy, well known Jesuit moral theologian, Rev Jacobus Mehlschwalbe made a brilliant observation, “Denying Communion to politicians, National Socialist or Republican, is a bad idea. If you deny the sacrament to those who support population control, then you must also deny it to those who support the Madagascar plan. How about those who don’t help the poor? How about “Mit brennender Sorge”? Where does it end?”