Archbishop Raymond Burke, the former St. Louis prelate who now leads the Vatican supreme court, has called on parishioners to pressure reluctant bishops to withhold Communion from Catholic politicians who back legalized abortion.
He also said President Barack Obama "could be an agent of death" if his support for abortion rights becomes a model for leaders in other countries.
The archbishop made his highly unusual comments to anti-abortion activist Randall Terry in a videotaped interview that Terry showed March 25 at the National Press Club in Washington.
"It is weakening the faith of everyone," Burke said. "It's giving the impression that it must be morally correct to support procured abortion."
Terry, tbe former leader of Operation Rescue, came to Rome earlier this month with a delegation of US anti-abortion advocates to ask Vatican officials to remove U.S. Catholic bishops who were not doing enough to stop abortions.
He called for the removal of Bishop Loverde of Arlington and Archbishop Wuerl of Washington DC.