Rudy Giuliani should not have received Holy Communion during the pope's visit to New York because the former presidential candidate and mayor supports abortion rights, Cardinal Edward Egan said Monday.
Egan, head of the New York Archdiocese, said he had "an understanding" with Giuliani that he would not take Communion. He said Giuliani broke that understanding when he received Communion while attending Pope Benedict XVI's Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Giuliani's spokeswoman, Sunny Mindel, said he is willing to meet with the cardinal but added that his faith "is a deeply personal matter and should remain confidential."
Well, his "faith" might be a "deeply personal matter," but reception of the Eucharist is not just a "personal matter," but a public act of worship and a declaration that one is in right relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church:
Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance. (CCC 1415)
Funny how certain beliefs and actions are always "deeply personal," while others aren't. For example, if a Catholic man—any Catholic, not just a politician—was seen hot-tubbing and drinking with a group of teenage girls, would that be considered out of bounds to take him to task for it? I hope not. So how is it that publicly supporting abortion, which is clearly condemned by the Church (both abortion and support thereof), is magically safe from scrutiny, while other actions aren't?
Giuliani's response is a perfect summary of an essential problem among Catholics in the U.S. today: many of them believe that faith is "private," while the rest of their lives are public and essentially disconnected from their "private" faith. Amy Welborn touches on this in an excellent post today, in which she reflects on what the Pope's visit meant and what should come from it:
And why? What has disconnected us? That’s another blog post, but it all goes back to the last fifty years - not as any purposeful thing, but as the almost inevitable consequences of the confluence of circumstances both within and outside the Church. Circumstances in which sincere and well-meaning initiatives and movements to help people connect more intimately with Christ happened in a context that ended up leaving us more at sea, in many ways. There’s no blame - it’s just what happened. Perhaps it was even necessary. But the point is, when you take a rather urgent sense that perhaps there were some areas of Church life that were functioning as obstacles to Christ, rather than doors, combine that with Scriptural and historical studies which had the ultimate effect of casting doubt on the trustworthiness of anything we think we know about what the Scriptures or the Church tells us about Christ, and then combine that with ideological battles and then mix all of that up in a culture in which authority is a bad word, relativism reigns and the Catholic Church is not, to its great surprise, the only game in town…you have massive confusion as to why we are doing what we are doing and what we are doing at all.
In other words…the “new evangelization” called for by these last two Popes is not about reaffirming Catholic identity in some abstract or institutional sense. It’s about confidently believing that Jesus Christ is the answer and then just as confidently helping people see and experience Christ in the Church: in its spiritual tradition, sacramental life, teachings, artistic heritage and sacrificial service to the poor, sick and dying.
In other words: Cultural Catholicism, RIP.