Cuomo and communion: it's private

Cuomo and communion: it's private March 10, 2011

That’s the determination of the bishop who oversees New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s diocese. Controversy erupted last month, when a canon lawyer declared that Cuomo should be denied communion because the divorced governor lives with his girlfriend.


One of New York State’s leading Roman Catholic bishops said on Tuesday that it was not appropriate for church officials to comment on whether specific elected officials should be allowed to receive holy communion.

Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, the leader of the Albany diocese and a member of the executive committee of the New York State Catholic Conference, made his comments at a news conference after meeting with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the Executive Mansion to discuss the state budget, same-sex marriage and other issues.

Mr. Cuomo was criticized last month by a consultant to the Vatican’s highest court, who called for the governor to be denied communion because he lives with his girlfriend without being married to her.

But when Bishop Hubbard was asked if he agreed with the consultant — Edward N. Peters, a professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit — he said that such matters were between officials and their pastors, much as they are for private individuals.

“There are norms for all Catholics about receiving communion and we have to be sensitive pastorally to every person in their own particular situation,” Bishop Hubbard said. “And when it comes to judging worthiness for communion, we do not comment on either public figures or private figures. That’s something between the communicant and his pastor personally. It’s not something we comment on.”

Bishop Hubbard also distanced New York bishops from bishops in other states who have sparked controversy in recent years by calling publicly for communion to be denied to elected officials who disagree with church teachings on issues like abortion or same-sex marriage.

“Some bishops have done that but not all bishops have done that,” Bishop Hubbard said. “Quite frankly, there is a disagreement among bishops about using the communion line as a place for a confrontation. And I don’t think that the bishops of New York State feel that’s appropriate.”

UPDATE: There’s some lively discussion on this topic over at the blog Dating God, where blog author Br. Dan declares “The Eucharist is not a weapon.”  In the comments, canon lawyer Ed Peters himself weighs in.   Check it out.

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49 responses to “Cuomo and communion: it's private”

  1. Bishop Howard J. Hubbard is a fine shepherd of his flock, although I am sure that many will disagree. As someone who moved to this diocese in 2007 and as someone truly immersed in the Church here, I submit to my bishop and how he expresses this.

    Bishops are meant to be shepherds indeed – teachers, to lead their flock. Bishop Hubbard does just that with what appears to be a wise eye and heart on the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. Now the more legalistic and juridical among us, Mr. Peters among them, will see differently.

    The constant outcry of who should or should not be receiving communion infuriates me. I wonder if we would start denying communion to corporate executives who lead organizations that do things in sharp distinction of what Church law would call for? Or what about celebrities?

    Frankly, as I consider politicians and communion – what about pro-death penalty and pro-war people? What about that?

    Should we deny communion to anyone in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (let alone anywhere else) for what appears to have been a great evil of not protecting children?

    Or what about any of us in the pews who are, as we utter in our own voices, are not worthy to receive Christ?

    With all due respect to Mr. Peters, does he not have better ways to use his considerable gifts than to figure out who to exclude from the Body of Christ?

    I think that it is a poor practice for bishops to criticize brother bishops. I think that it is even a poorer practice, one that denigrates our Church, when canon lawyers do the same. Mr. Peters does not speak expressly for the Vatican, but so many people actually believe that he does.

    Perhaps his first service to God could be to clarify that as he considers the weight and heft of his words and impact upon the Body of Christ.

    As for Andrew Cuomo… I am not uncritical of the governor, but I will say that by coming to the Lord’s table, he might be transformed. We do not know how or when that might happen for any of us. God is more generous, gracious and lavish than any of us can possibly imagine. And then some.

  2. One of New York State’s leading Roman Catholic bishops said on Tuesday that it was not appropriate for church officials to comment on whether specific elected officials should be allowed to receive holy communion.

    – someone doesnt have a backbone. Either that or the back pocket funding was threatened. Canon Law anyone ? a public life- public reaction- a public scandal. A sad sad day.

  3. It’s a rare day that I privately disagree with the Bishops, and even less seldom that I do so publicly, but here goes.

    I would dearly love to believe that the Bishops are motivated purely by pastoral concern here. I don’t believe that they are; and in the pastoral concern that they are showing I believe that they in tragically in error.

    Paul gives us pretty clear teaching on the matter:

    “[W]hoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.” – 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 (NKJV)

    The Church teaches us that a human being comes into existence from the moment of fertilization (So does embryology, for that matter). I don’t think that we need a magisterial pronouncement to state the obvious, that 53 million abortions in the U.S. since 1973 constitutes mass murder.

    I also don’t think that we need an encyclical to tell us that those who vote for abortion rights, use their votes to fund abortion centers like Planned Parenthood ($360 million of taxpayer subsidies last year for the organization which performs over 320,000 abortions per year), are voting for mass murder and the funding of mass murder.

    Similarly, those in executive and judicial offices who use their powers to protect abortion are just as guilty of complicity in mass murder.

    If those who bring us this form of mass murder are to be exempted from latae sententiae excommunication, or even denied communion, how then can the Church maintain such penalty of excommunication for the mother who procures one abortion?

    I would argue that many mothers are so filled with panic, and so many are pressured by the father and their own parents, that they are not fully culpable for their behavior. Yet, if they know the penalty, they incur the penalty. The politician, on the other hand chooses to condone mass murder for reasons of self-promotion, or based on the belief that mass murder (performed one ‘choice’ at a time) is actually a good.

    If that doesn’t qualify for some episcopal medicine, then it’s all over.

    Bishop Hubbard miscommunicates the point. He is correct that the communion line is not the place to make a stand. It should be done in private conversation, with the bishop telling the politician that persisting in this sin means that it cannot be forgiven in confession, as there is no genuine contrition as evidenced by a complete lack in the firm purpose of amendment, and a persistent clinging to and promotion of abortion. If the politician then chooses to ignore the bishop, then the bishop needs to make it a public matter.

    The bishops here have no idea how much moral anarchy they are injecting into the Church. And the elephant in the room is their fear over our tax-exempt status.

  4. 1 Corinthians 11: 28 in The New American Bible on the USCCB website, “A person should examine himself…”

    It doesn’t say that I should examine someone else. It doesn’t say that I should look for the speck in another’s eye. Fran put it well in her first comment, none of us are worthy. And if the his bishop says it’s okay, I will defer to the shepherd who has committed his life to leading his flock. And during this Lent, try to remove the plank from my eye.

  5. Fran,

    Well, to riff on the old jingle,

    “Nobody doesn’t like Sandra Lee.”

    Peters may be incensed over the living together, but that isn’t the sum total of people’s scandal over the Governor. A great many others have noted his rabid proabort ideology.

  6. Ttarp,

    The Church has a list of offenses so odious that they incur excommunication automatically, others that are decided juridically. Read Canon Law and the CCC.

    It’s a disingenuous argument and a smokescreen to suggest that everyone needs to examine themselves, and that the bishops have no discretion. Paul also excommunicated an incestuous mother and son in 1 Corinthians, and then took them back in 2 Corinthians after the excommunication worked its medicinal intent.

    Further, Jesus gave His Apostles the power to not only forgive sin, but to hold sin bound to the person.

    If you’re going to quote Scripture, you’ll have to do better than a quote out of a contextual exegesis.

  7. Gerard, you quoted the scripture that says a person should examine himself. I pointed out that it says a person should examine himself rather than have me examine him. And if anyone else can judge, it should be the bishop, the bishop who was given the power by Jesus to bind a sin or not. It should not be me who judges.

    Further, I only spoke for myself, I didn’t tell you what to think or do.

  8. While scripture does say that that we should not concentrate on the speck in another’s eye, it also says that people in the Christian community should support and correct each other–even to the point of withdrawing from a person committing sin. The goal of correction is to draw the sinner back not to permanently ostracize him. Christing correction can be viewed as holding each other accountable not judging each other.

    My biggest concern is with the bishop. Cuomo attended Mass the day after his inaguration. The bishop held him up as a model for Catholic action in the public square. The bishop screwed up. Neither in his public activity or his private life is Cuomo a model of the Christian life. For the bishop to hold him up as a role model/champion but now as a private person is disingenuous.

  9. Ttarp,

    When self-examination if incomplete because of a moral blind-spot, it requires the intervention of the bishop. However, when the bishops start showing a moral blind-spot, that requires the exhortation of the faithful.

    We should not judge in the sense of condemnation, but at the same time we are called to discern, which is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Counsel). That gift corresponds to the virtue of Prudence.

    This isn’t the first time in the history of the Church that the bishops have fallen down on the job. In most other instances, meaningful reform has come through the laity (the most recent being the sex scandals). We need to exhort our bishops when we know that they are themselves in error.

  10. As Cuomo is a public figure, what he does as a Catholic gives way to scandal if not in accord with church teaching. His choice to cohabitate even if living as brother and sister and then to receive communion is scandalous. Not to mention the deplorable example he is setting for his three daughters. I think the Lord himself was pretty clear about giving scandal especially leading his little ones astray. I don’t think Cuomo is really Catholic other than in name like the clan of his first wife.
    If Hubbard was such a fine shepherd he would take the matter a little more seriously and Albany wouldn’t be in the shape it is. He and Clark have been aroung since the days of Jadot–too long.

  11. I think the good bishop’s words are partially right. This should be a private matter between the individual and his pastor.

    But I think he is wrong in that at a certain point, it must go beyond the private. While many people are much, much too fast about declaring that this or that person should be denied Communion, some bishops are too slow to actually do it. It should remain a private matter of pastor actually pastoring, or meeting with the individual, catechizing, guiding and finally, if needed, warning and denying Communion. I would find bishops who talk about a “sensitive, pastoral approach” to public figures in grave, public sin more credible if they actually took the final pastoral step of denying Communion to those obstinate in their error or public sin.

    We have to remember, receiving Communion unworthily is itself a sin. These pastors are doing sinners a disservice when they allow them to continue to receive unworthily. Not to mention the pastoral failure for the rest of the flock. When public figures with obstinate, grave public sin continue to receive Communion with the bishop’s tacit or explicit approval, it teaches the flock that that sin is not so serious, or not even a sin. It leads the faithful astray. Even moreso when a obstinate, public sinner is held up as some kind of Christian example.

    I believe in the private, pastoral approach. But eventually, public scandal must be dealt with publicly. It was this same unwillingness to deal with sin out in the light of day that got us the abuse scandal. This scandal is just more politically motivated.

  12. I am fascinated by the phenomena of people like RomCath who are obviously so in favor of following Church rules, which includes obedience to Bishops, suddenly joins the ranks of cafeteria Catholics and condoms a Bishop for what he is doing.

    I have no idea of what has gone on between the Cuomo and his bishop, but I do know of cases were the “internal forum” was used to allow people living together to return to the sacraments who, for one reason or another, were not able to get a formal annulment.

    Since I know neither what God thinks, nor what a bishop thinks, I believe it best to not judge lest I be judged on the same standards that I have judged others.


    Mike L

  13. Mike L – that’s the problem… the whole fealty to the hierarchy. Except of course, the hierarchy you disagree with.

    This is one reason I take great pains not to publicly decry any clerics. And trust me – God forgive me, there are some I would like to decry.

    RomCath- and what kind of shape is Albany in? Are you here and part of this vital diocese, filled with life and Spirit?

  14. As shepherd of the Diocese of Albany Bishop Hubbard has authority to interpret Canon 915 in the diocese. That doesn’t mean his interpretation is correct. In fact, the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts has issued a Declaration saying that interpretation is clearly wrong.

  15. “RomCath- and what kind of shape is Albany in? Are you here and part of this vital diocese, filled with life and Spirit?”

    Life and spirit?? I know at lest two priests who have left that diocese because of this “shepherd”. How many priestly ordinations has he done in the last 30plus years? Just do a search on him and you will see one thing after another up there.
    One of Jadot’s great contributions to the Church in the US. I don’t have to be there nor would I want to be.

  16. It seems to me that you need to be rich, powerful and well connected in order to receive special treatment and have your sins not counted.

  17. So Mike you are saying that a professed Catholic shacked up with his girl friend in the presence of his 3 young daughters is OK? And we are not supposed to judge the objective wrong or scandal involved? Wow.

  18. This is a difficult issue to say the least with competing interests and concerns involved. We usually hear this issue being discussed in terms of the individual and his/her Bishop, and that is very important. We hear a lot of back-and-forth about whether denying communion to that person should be used as a form of punishment for that person. There are other concerns which are often ignored in this discussion.

    What about the clergy’s obligation to protect the integrity and sanctity of the Sacrament itself? There is a fundamental mis-statement in some of the comments above. We DO in fact withhold the Eucharist from MANY people. Some examples are: those who have not yet made their First Communion, those who are in the RCIA program, those who are incompetent from understanding what they are agreeing to when they proclaim “Amen” after the Sacred Body of Christ is presented to them, those who are not Catholic, etc. The Canon Law that directs us to withhold the Sacraments in certain situations are there for the sake of the individual’s soul and their salvation and not meant to be penal in nature as I will discuss below.

    If the Chief Rabbi of the Jewish faith presented himself at communion to the Holy Father (who is aware of who the man is), would the Pope give him Holy Communion? Of course not! If a person receives in the hand and then places the consecrated host in his pocket and we see it, we stop the person and ask them to consume. If they refuse, we demand that the host be returned to us immediately. They have then effectively not be permitted to take of the Eucharist.

    I raise these matters because my concern is also with the faithful in the pews who are usually neglected in this discussion and in the individual bishop’s analysis of what to do. We already know the huge percentage of practicing Catholics who do not accept the Church’s clear and unchanging teaching of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. So if a politician PUBLICLY makes those same faithful aware that he/she supports a woman’s right to end the life of the developing human being created by GOD in her very womb, it may very well cause scandal among the faithful to permit that individual to “fake” that he/she is in union with the faithful and the Church and her teachings by receiving communion.

    That “Amen” when one is told “The Body of Christ” doesn’t mean “Thank you.” It means “I believe it is the Body of Christ. I am a part of the Body of Christ his Church. I will stake my life on what the Church teaches on faith and morals. I am not a cafeteria Catholic.”

    So if a bishop knows that a person is a publicly self-professed abortion supporter and he gives that person the Eucharist anyway, is he not causing scandal among the faithful who may now wonder even more, “Is that the Real Presence of Christ or isn’t it? Surely a bishop wouldn’t degrade the integrity of the Sacrament by giving it to just anyone who wants it. Don’t they have to be properly disposed?”

    Is the bishop also assisting the individual in committing further sin and adversely affecting the individual’s salvation? Is it not more charitable and pastoral for the bishop to say, “I will give you a blessing and speak with you after Mass” so that he can be a true Shepherd and work to bring the wayward sheep back into the fold? Or should he continue to aid the individual in living a double life? I know what I would want my shepherd to do for my soul!

  19. Members of the faithful who live together as husband and wife with persons other than their legitimate spouses may not receive Holy Communion. Should they judge it possible to do so, pastors and confessors, given the gravity of the matter and the spiritual good of these persons(10) as well as the common good of the Church, have the serious duty to admonish them that such a judgment of conscience openly contradicts the Church’s teaching(11). Pastors in their teaching must also remind the faithful entrusted to their care of this doctrine.

    From 1994–Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger now Pope Benedict

  20. Mike L. – The “judge not lest ye be judged” phrase is one of the most misunderstood and misused phrases of our time. In PROPER context, it is meant that we are not to judge one’s salvation for that is only the purview of Christ Himself. We are absolutely called to judge one another’s behavior. Doesn’t “admonish the sinner” mean ANYTHING anymore?

    I would hope that folks who claim to care about me would be more concerned with actions/conduct on my part that will affect my eternal salvation, as opposed to just letting me know when my tie doesn’t match my shirt! We don’t hesitate to judge one another on such inconsequential matters do we? Yet with the things that truly matter, we keep to ourselves. Would we “judge” if we see a friend or family member slipping into infidelity with a person who is not their spouse? Would we attempt to help them see they wrongness of their actions that may truly affect their eternal salvation? Too often we wouldn’t, but we wouldn’t hesitate to “judge” the fact that her shoes don’t match her purse! Hmmm. Wonder what Christ is expecting of us?

  21. A priest in my parish advised that over 50% of all couples seeking to get married in the parish are cohabitating. They are advised of their obligation to cease but if they continue the marriage processing goes on in the ceremony is conducted. I admit that Gov. Comeau was well over the line but where and when do you draw the line. It is too simplistic to say that these are simply political questions that impact the bishops decision. These are in fact broad pastoral concerns of which there is no easy answer.

  22. RomCath-

    It is Lent and I do not wish to bicker. My heart is aimed towards charity and that would include to you as well. For the record however, 5 young priests were ordained in 2010 in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.

    We are to build up the Body of Christ. How do you suggest we find a way to do that other than entering into who is right or wrong?

    May we all find the mercy of God.

  23. At the last supper, God drew the line by inviting and welcoming and giving himself in Holy Communion to Judas.

    God Bless

  24. I do not think that Cuomo’s situation can be reduced to cohabitation/fornication.

    The issue with Cuomo isn’t just that he’s living with his girlfriend. He is sacramentally married to another woman unless it can be shown that a sacramental marriage never existed. Right now it’s not just fornication–it’s adultery.

    A couple that is cohabiting but free to enter into a marriage is rectifying their irregular state by marriage (and hopefully confession and holy communion). A couple that is cohabiting and not free to marry do not rectify their irregular state by getting married.

  25. Sorry Rick, they do NOT rectify their state by getting married….. The rectify their state by seperating, confession, communion, and THEN getting married.

    Peace to all

  26. In this particular situation, I think the public perception was that this prominent politician was being allowed to behave in a way forbidden to ordinary people. In the past, it would have been unthinkable for anyone known to be “living in sin” to present him or herself for communion. In fact, because my own parents were not married in church, my mother did not receive communion at mass for over 50 years. Even today, Catholics who live with new partners while awaiting annulments of previous marriages are pretty scrupulous about receiving the Eucharist; while they may not do what the Church says is right, they at least seem to recognize that they have fallen short. This whole discussion about Governor Cuomo began with media reports that both he and his live-in girlfriend had come forward for communion at a mass where many reporters were present. I suspect many Catholics immediately wondered, “Why can these big-shots do it and I [or my loved ones] cannot?” It was an excellent question–and a question still unanswered.

  27. Chris Sullivan…
    He also threw out the money changers because they were sinning. God is NOT a big purple dinosaur…

    Peace to all

  28. Discernment “judgement” factors into all of the Sacraments. Engaged couples meet with a pastor or deacon for instruction, but also to discern if they are ready to enter a sacramental marriage. There are years of dicernment before a man can be ordained a priest. Before baptizing a child the church discerns, “judges”, whether the parents truly intend to raise the child in the faith.

    Pastors are called upon to discern eligiblity for sacraments. We do not have an inalienable right to them. Sacraments are gifts, but the Church discerns if we have right disposition to receive the gift.

  29. I agree with the Bishop who says that church officials shouldn’t comment on whether specific officials should receive communion. It is really no one’s business but the party involved and his/her priest etc.

  30. RomCath, obviously you do not believe in conscience. And you might even be wrong about other things. After my divorce, and annulment to my wife I lived with another woman who had applied for, but not received it at that time. Several priests afvised us that if she truly believed that her previous marriage was invalid that she could return to the sacraments until the results of her annulment request were known. Of course, as soon as her annulment came through our personal marriage vows to each other were ratified by the Church.

    I know of two other couples that were called in by the bishops of their dioceses and were told that even though legally an annulment could not be obtained that they should return to the sacraments.

    I suspect that th “internal format” is not much mentioned so that people like you are not overly shocked. Quite honestly, I am much more likely to accept the guidance of a bishop than you judgment.

    Diakonia, I think that admonishing the sinner is today one of the most over used excuses for condemning someone on the internet. Since none of the blog comments will reach the Cuomo, I don’t think anyone can claim that they are admonishing a sinner.


    Mike L


  31. No, Pagansister. You’re wrong.

    The sacraments are not a private matter. They are public expressions of the life of the Church, and we are duty-bound to engage in fraternal correction, as taught by Jesus. This process of correction begins with private confrontation, escalating to semi-private confrontation, and then being brought before the elders, with excommunication being reserved for the recalcitrant. (Matthew 18: 15-17)

    Note that the fraternal correction begins among the laity and ends with the elders.

  32. Gerard,

    Have you had a private communication with Cuomo before escalating this to a public discussion which sounds a lot like gosip to me?

    Mike L

  33. Quite obviously, some Catholics have a lot invested in this controversy. Those most likely to agree wtih Bishop Hubbard’s approach (or even to go beyond it and say that nobody should ever be denied communion for any reason) may well have done some mental gymnastics in the past to rationalize receiving communion when the Church said they should not. Hearing a bishop (no less) defend Andrew Cuomo’s reception of the sacrament may well be consoling to them. But there are many others who did not (and would not) receive communion under similar circumstances–perhaps even embarrassing themselves by remaining in the pew when the rest of their family went forward. They refrained from communion in order to be faithful Catholics, obedient to God’s will as expressed in Church teaching. How must this controversy affect those people? I think that should be the primary concern in a discussion of this matter.

  34. In your eyes I might be wrong, Gerard, but apparently the Bishop thinks that the higher ups in the church should not make public comment on officials too. I happen to agree with him. I still agree that it really is private affair for the people involved.
    It is refreshing to have a Bishop think and express his feelings that might not always be in line with the RCC’s thoughts.

  35. When Mayor Guiliani received Communion at the Papal Mass at St. Patrick’s (not from the pope), my non-believer friend called me in an outrage because her husband, a Mass going Catholic hadn’t received Communion since they got married 15 yrs. ago. He abstains because his wife was married before (as a Catholic) but never had it annulled.
    The faithful (and unfaithful) really do suffer when teachers deliver mixed messages.

  36. “It is refreshing to have a Bishop think and express his feelings that might not always be in line with the RCC’s thoughts.”


    You just summed it all up. Thanks.

  37. “At the last supper, God drew the line by inviting and welcoming and giving himself in Holy Communion to Judas.”

    None of the Apostles knew that Judas was a traitor. His sin was neither OBSTINATE nor MANIFEST.

    In other words, this example is faulty. Try again.

  38. Strike the “obstinate” part of my last comment, because, duh, Judas was obstinate. But his sin still wasn’t manifest.

  39. It is very difficult to believe that any Roman Catholic would defend a pro-abort fornicator receiving Holy Communion and a bishop who would give it to him. But then it’s very difficult to believe that more than twenty priests could be indicted for sexual abuse of boys (I have not heard that girls were victims but perhaps that will surface also). I originally thought that Dolan should transfer Hubbard to Ellis Island; now I think they may need Hubbard’s help in Philadelphia where the problem is obviously between these priests and their confessors and not the business of the public at large or Roman Catholics who have to explain this stuff to adamant Baptists. Roman Catholicism on the East Coast is very difficult to believe. Where is Dolan? Possibly chatting with Father Groeschel on Sunday Night Prime.

  40. Gerard, does it bother you that Bishop Hubbard has that opinion? Apparently it does—why? He obviously made it to the rank of bishop, so he must have done something right in his life in the service of the church. Does the RCC need robotic leaders, or can they tolerate some who feel that some things are personal and private and can be handled between the person and his/her priest—bishop or whatever.

    However that private and personal thing does not apply to the abuse of children—those responsible should be properly punished by the church and by the secular laws. IMO.

  41. When I was in parochial school in the early 1950’s the sisters (Notre Dame de Namur, very well educated) used to tell us that the “eleventh commandment” was MYOB (mind your own business). It is none of layman Dr. Ed Peters business to tell a bishop publicly that he is violating canon law. All Dr. Peters has done is to stir up dissension and disunity in the Church. If he though he had an important point to make, rather than going public and wounding the church by bringing contempt on the bishop, he should have communicated with him privately, which would have given an opportunity for genuine discussion and persuasion. Or else (perhaps even better), in a spirit of fraternal correction he should have written to Andrew Cuomo to tell him that he should not be receiving Communion.

    The bishop of a diocese is the one who has responsibility for these things, not some layman from outside the diocese.

    IMO Dr. Peters should sit down and shut up, when it comes to telling bishops publicly that they are failing to fulfill their pastoral responsibilities.

  42. Mike L. – He has very publicly manifested his sins. He is very publicly abusing the Sacrament and committing further sin each time he does so. He is publicly being aided in those ongoing sins each time he is given communion and thereby “drinking condemnation on his soul.” Public admonition of his sins is very appropriate, not only for his soul, but also for anyone else who may be scandalized by what is occurring. We must speak out against such matters, especially when the shepherd may be leading the rest of the flock astray by failing to protect the integrity of the Sacrament itself.

    Francis Cardinal Arinze has noted that he is often asked if a politician who votes for abortion should receive Holy Communion.

    He said his reply was, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”

    “Get the children for first communion and say to them, somebody votes for the killing of unborn babies, and says, I voted for that, I will vote for that every time and these babies are killed, not one or two, but in millions, and that person says I am a practicing Catholic, should that person receive communion next Sunday?

    “The children for first communion will answer that at the drop of a hat. You don’t need a cardinal to answer that.”

  43. pagansister,

    There are really two issues. One is whether the bishop should be publicly commenting on whether or not a person should be receiving Communion. Another is whether or not the bishop should actually deny that person Communion. I see a lot of wisdom in not commenting on it. I see very little wisdom in not doing anything about it, in letting a person eat and drink their own spiritual destruction.

  44. “Let us be neither dogs that do not bark nor silent onlookers nor paid servants who run away before the wolf. Instead, let us be careful shepherds watching over Christ’s flock. Let us preach the whole of God’s plan to the powerful and the humble . . .”
    Pope St. Gregory, Book of Pastoral Instruction [to bishops]

  45. On rereading the post here and the one over at Br. Dan’s blog, I see that Dr. Peters criticized Andrew Cuomo. I had understood (possibly misled by all the references from others to Bishop Hubbard) that he had said something about the bishop. Since I have no evidence that he criticized Bishop Hubbard, I must retract my criticism of Dr. Peters.

  46. It seems that the Bishop missed an opportunity to teach. While he could (and I think should) have refrained from mentioning Cuomo by name, the Bishop should have spoken generally about what would prevent a Catholic from receiving communion and the Church’s position on those issues.

  47. Public SCANDAL is never private.
    It can send additional Souls to Hell.

    See “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition” – #2284, 2285, 2286, 2287.

    Bishop Hubbard needs to read or review these paragraphs in our “CCC 2nd Ed”.

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