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« If this guy is a "reporter," then I am a mezzo soprano | Main | Cardinal Egan criticizes Giuliani for receiving Communion »

Monday, April 28, 2008


C. Webster Rose

Nevermind his stance on abortion. He's been divorced twice anyway. I don't believe even an anuhlment quailifies him for communion does it?


Carl Olson

Not Buying It: Offering critical comments is one thing, but name calling isn't going to fly here.


I find the whole thing to be very disappointing to say the least. I have already addressed several of the politicians (via letter) about this matter. I think that I will send additional letters to the Bishops mentioned.

On another note, I was surprised to find out that Kennedy had in fact received communion. The original media reports indicated that he hadn't.

Juan Antonio

Actually, in Spain we have a priest who claimed in an interview to have paid the abortion for several women. And his bishop, Cardinal Sistach, has not said anything about this matter since a couple of weeks, when the fact reached the media.

Dan Deeny

Carl, Thank you for this information. This is a very interesting problem. If a bishop says that this or that senator should not present himself for communion in his diocese and the politician follows the directive, then there is no problem. But what if the politician gets in line for communion? What then? Juan Antonio's information from Spain is also interesting. What to do?

D Deely

Is it a sacrilege to receive Communion when one is in a state of mortal sin, or is it not? Is it a sacrilege for a minister of the Eucharist to give Communion to someone who "obstinately persists in manifest grave sin" when that obstinate persistence is publicly and widely known, or is it not? Does it matter how powerful an individual who has so excommunicated himself is, or does it matter which diocese one is in? An objective answer to these questions one would seem to be found in Canon 915 and in Pope Benedict's own statements. So I am confused -- what is going on here?


When one wears the white hat one leads the chase agaisnt evil! Listen,all over the world Christians in underground churchs risk their lives to receive the sacred Host! It will not be trivialized where I am concerned..I hold you accountable.amen and amen Nino


Do we know for a fact that any one of these people, incredible as it may seem to us, did not receive absolution in the sacrament of penance, having made commitment to correct any ongoing state of mortal sin, ie. living in adultery with someone (civilly married or not) without having any previous marriage declared null?

The truth of it is that we cannot categoriclly say that another person is in a state of mortal sin when they present themselves for communion. The odds may be pretty good in certain cases.

On the other hand, there is a serious need for some constant, incessant, clear, uncompromising teaching on the part of every priest in the land, on the real presence and the requiremtns in order to receive. If this were done it might alleviate some pressure on priests in the communion line because there would be a higher level of the element of social pressure.


Archbishop Raymond Burke's pamphlet "The Discipline Regarding the Denial of Holy Communion to Those Obstinately Persevering in Manifest Grave Sin" is an excellent read. A good overview of the Church's approach over the centuries.

D Deely


I think you make a very good point that a minister of the Eucharist cannot know if a person has repented of grave sin before presenting him- or herself for Communion. However we do have the benefit of past experience, ie House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sens. John Kerry, Christopher Dodd, and Ted Kennedy, and Rudy Giuliani have consistently and publicly presented themselves for Communion and have just as persistently and publicly continued in "manifest grave sin." I think we can discern the true state of affairs by what they continue to profess and do after receiving Communion, but most especially by what they have not professed and done, i.e. issued a public retraction of moral stands and actions that are in direct opposition to Church teaching. Since their gravely sinful actions were so publicly made manifest purposefully by the individuals themselves to the entire Church which is consequently harmed by the scandal of their witness, then it would seem necessary for the scandal to be just as publicly resolved. Yet, in fact, these individuals have continued to frankly and pointedly insist that they are not wrong in receiving Communion while not adhering to the Church's teaching. One could hope that with each reception of Communion repentance is present, I suppose, but it would seem that this approach does not eliminate the harm of visible action done to the faith and discipline of the entire Church.


Anne, I think in order for something like that to be effective it would have to be ordered in bulk and put in every pew.
I was thinking more along the lines of a disclaimer read just before the collection, perhaps listing a couple of examples.

The point is, we depend upon the conscience of those who come to receive as has always been the case since St. Paul wrote "let a man examine himself." Other than Jesus Christ and the occasionally gifted holy men like Padre Pio no man can read the conscience of another. The Pope couldn't do that. In this particular age of rebellion the best the Church can do is be a scourge upon the conscience, until a culture of worship is returned that recognizes and "discerns the body" of Christ as St. Paul puts it. It probably needs to be preached until people are thoroughly weary of hearing about it.

I think that Benedict XVI was aware of this problem on his Apostolic visit and one of the threads throughout his messages was a personal conversion of heart. As usual, he was going right to the heart of the matter.


D Deely,
You are right. There is the added element of public scandal in the cases of the politicians and that is the responsibility of the pastors of the Church, the Bishops, to pastorally deal with it. As Carl has posted here as well Cardinal Egan was dealing with one such case, Rudy Giuliani.
However, I can't help but think that such people were created in a culture of confusion and rebellion that goes back to the days just after Humanae Vitae, and while they are a public scandal I don't believe (I don't know it for a fact, obviously) that their conduct and attitude is isolated. It is merely high profile.
Many of us have friends and family members that are objectively living in a state of mortal sin and are unapologetic. Yet do we gently, as brothers and sisters in Christ, remind them about the conditions for receiving communion when they decide to show up for Christmas and/or Easter? It's not easy to do but if people who treat the whole thing cavalierly were aware that everyone, not just the priest or the Bishop, is concerned that they do not condemn themselves further in sacrilege, they may back off and think about it.

Michael W

I believe Cardinal Egan made a clarifying statement about Rudy Giuliani. The Cardinal said he had spoken with him and they had an ongoing agreement that Giuliani would not present himself for Communion. Apparently Giuliani broke that agreement and Cardinal Egan called on him to honor it.

The bishops must be vigilant in continuing to teach on this matter. However, it would be difficult to have handled a high profile Mass in any other way.


Could one look at this as an issue of etiquette? If a host of an event such as this was choosing whom to invite from a list of millions, would the host choose to invite anyone who could, by his or her actions, cause the guest of honor serious discomfort or pain? Why would you do that when you have millions of other options for guests who would not cause this problem? Just because someone is important in the secular world does not mean that they hold the same importance in the Church nor should their secular importance grant them special treatment by anyone in the Church. Why not seek to invite people to such special events that are striving to make Christ present in the world by the manner in which they live their lives?

jack flannery

I 'm with lj.I've made this point with my children and in middle age they are at the point of weekly mass attendance (mostly) and are comfortable in the pew until all matters are sorted out in the confessional. thank God for some really solid priests that i've found in the north boston area. I also repeated the same advice during twelve years of high school religion classes. Some took it seriously and found out they didn't die when they did not join the line and nobody in school really cared. I did not receive for many years and was only in church due to great wife.My friends ,relatives and students know that because when they asked I told them. for the past 30 years i've thanked God for His incomprehensible mercy and patience shown me and know that He will extend this mercy to all. let's pray that all accept it.

Tim McCarthy

If I'm not mistaken you wouldn't need to be Padre Pio or the Lord Himself. These politicos have taken public positions so they must recant publicly. That means like maybe a televised statemant from them in Congress or the like. On a second note could it have been why Pope Benedict XVI mandated "only priests" for distribution of the Eucharist. This was supposed to be cleared up with Cardinal McCarrick in 2002 with the letter to the USCCB. In the objective it appears that the American Church is in Schism.

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