Kerry Mass Watch

By Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. ( articles - email ) | Apr 09, 2004

Since John Kerry is perhaps the highest profile lay Catholic in the US right now, and because he has such "creative" views on the Church's teachings, how he practices his faith is of some interest, especially the question of where and whether he goes to Mass (as opposed to his penchant for skipping Mass and going to Protestant churches). With several bishops now saying that they would refuse him Communion in their dioceses, it's also become a question whether his own archbishop, Sean O'Malley of Boston, would have something to say about his open dissent from fundamentals of the faith.

It looks like Archbishop O'Malley has decided to punt on whether to join Bishops Burke and Bruskewitz on the Kerry Communion question. Apparently, John Kerry has decided to attend Mass on Easter Sunday at the Paulist Center in Boston (his "normal" parish) and the archdiocese has not said anything about it publicly, although they may have instructed the Paulists privately.

"Archbishop O'Malley has no public statement as to the questions regarding Sen. Kerry and his Catholicism," said Rev. Christopher Coyne, a spokesman for the archdiocese. "The matter has been brought to his attention and I do not know when or if he will make a public statement on this matter." ...

Rev. John Ardis, director of the Paulist Center, said the Kerrys had received Communion there and were always welcome to do so. Asked if he had been instructed not to offer Kerry Communion Ardis said: "No. Definitely not. I got a call from them (the archdiocese) an hour ago ... They wanted me to know that the archbishop has not taken a stand and he is free to receive the Eucharist."

The archbishop has no public statement? He doesn't wish to refute the errors being promulgated as authentic Catholic teaching by perhaps the most visible lay Catholic in America today, a person who is a member of his flock? So much for the archbishop's strong words at the March for Life when he said: "These politicians should know that if they're not voting correctly on these life issues that they shouldn't dare come to Communion."

And if the Paulist priest is to be believed, it's not only benign neglect, but an active decision to say that he should not be refused Communion. (Not that I expected he would be refused at the Paulist Center.) What message does this send? What lesson do we learn? If Kerry can receive Communion, then anyone can.

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