Robert Novak wrote in his syndicated column April 28:
Did pro-choice politicians receiving Communion at the papal Masses indicate the pope had softened on the abortion question? The answer is no. On the contrary, it reflected disobedience to Benedict by the archbishops of New York and Washington.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sens. John Kerry, Christopher Dodd and Edward M. Kennedy received Communion at Nationals Park in DC, as did former mayor Rudolph Giuliani at Yankee Stadium in NY. Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington and Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of NY, invited them. Given choice seats, they took Communion as a matter of course….
In NY, Giuliani receiving Communion was even more remarkable. Unlike Pelosi and Kennedy, who attend Mass regularly, the former mayor says he goes to church only “occasionally,” usually for holidays or funerals. Abortion aside, Giuliani’s third marriage would make him ineligible for Communion because his second marriage was not annulled by the church. But Cardinal Egan is no more apt than Cardinal McCarrick was to offend the powerful, and Giuliani was invited to the Mass.
Not so fast. First, I certainly would not consider it “disobedient” to invite a wayward Christian to church. On the contrary, it is what we all should do. The church is a healing place for sick people. Novak sent a disturbing message: Don’t come to church unless you’re all cleaned up. This is exactly the wrong message to send. I’m sure Cardinal Egan prayed GIuliani would experience an epiphany during the service, or at least leave convicted.
That said, according to this Associated Press video report, Egan thought he and Giuliani had an understanding that Giuliani was welcome to attend Mass but not receive Communion. And now Egan wants to discuss Giuliani’s religious breach with him personally:
In fact, Egan issued a press release on the Archdiocese of NY website Monday. Good for him.
The church is indeed a place for sick people, but it must maintain certain rules for its practices. So explained the Archdiocese’s office, according to this Newsday story today:
Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of NY… said the issue with Giuliani had become so public that the cardinal felt obligated to respond. He added that “Catholics have an obligation to understand church teaching and to understand that Holy Communion should only be received when a person is in a state of grace.”