Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New York bishops will not deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians

By Phil Lawler
March 08, 2011
The bishops of New York met today with Governor Andrew Cuomo.

In light of the highly publicized flap recently over Cuomo's decision to receive Communion-- despite the scandals caused by his relationship with a live-in girlfriend and his support for legal abortion and same-sex marriage-- you might be wondering whether that topic came up in his conversation with the bishops.

No, it didn't.

Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, who administered the Eucharist to the governor, said that the Church does not comment "when it comes to judging the worthiness of Communion." (Presumably he meant worthiness for Communion.) Sorry, but that's just plain wrong. Speaking through the Code of Canon Law (915), the Church says that those "who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."

"There is some disagreement among bishops about using the Communion line as a place for confrontation, and I don't think the bishops in New York State feel that's appropriate," Bishop Hubbard continued. You might rephrase that, to say that there's a disagreement among bishops about whether or not to carry out the clear duties imposed by Canon 915. But leave that aside. Today the bishops did not meet Cuomo in the Communion line; they met for a private conversation.

So again, did the topic arise? Bishop Edward Kmiec of Buffalo responded: "That kind of issue has to be discussed not at the altar rail." Right. Understood. But there was no altar rail in sight during the meeting today.

So let's try again. Did the bishops mention the topic? No, said Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York. You see, "this is probably not the best place to talk about something that pastorally sensitive."

OK. You can't talk to the governor about it when he presents himself for Communion. You can't talk to the governor about it when you're meeting to discuss legislative priorities. When can you talk to the governor about it?

And if Cuomo is scandalizing the faithful by receiving Communion, and jeopardizing his own salvation, what other topics are more important for bishops to discuss with him?

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