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Archbishops Dolan, Listecki reluctant to deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians

March 10, 2010

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York told an Albany television reporter on March 9 that he does not favor denying Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion and same-sex marriage.

“NEWS10's John McLoughlin asked Archbishop Dolan if he favored denying the Church's Sacraments to politicians, like Governor David Paterson, who are Roman Catholic but also pro-choice and pro-gay marriage,” WTEN-TV reported. “The prelate acknowledged that some of his fellow bishops might favor such a ban, but Dolan said he does not, preferring to follow the lead of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who said it was better to try to persuade them than to impose sanctions.”

Archbishop Dolan was in Albany to lobby on behalf of Catholic schools, which face increasing financial strain because of unfunded government mandates.

In Milwaukee, Archbishop Jerome Listecki said that he, too, would be averse to the idea of denying the Eucharist to a prominent abortion advocate, although he did exclude the possibility. The newly installed archbishop told an audience at the Milwaukee Press Club that his decision would take into account "the impact of whatever that person is doing." Before taking disciplinary action, he said, he would want to "help them come to an understanding of the teaching."

Archbishop Listecki said: "It's very difficult for me to see how somebody can be pro-choice knowing the teachings of the church"


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  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - Mar. 12, 2010 11:21 AM ET USA

    Any bishop should be 'reluctant' to deny Communion because that means the recipient is in a sorry state. Few know that while in La Crosse, Listecki upheld Burke's policies. Besides, Listecki is new in Milwaukee. Dolan had 26 years of Weakland to undo in 4 years and pro-abort pols probably weren't the highest of his priorities bcz of so much other junk there. And see Ed Peters' very apt comments:

  • Posted by: imanxufan9901 - Mar. 11, 2010 1:55 PM ET USA

    It's a big joke.

  • Posted by: Bernadette - Mar. 11, 2010 12:46 PM ET USA

    I am not surprised. He appears to be a "hail fellow, well met!" Wants desperately to be liked and thought well of. At least, that is my summarization of the man. More and more, we are being confronted with disappointments in the leaders of our Church. But, wasn't it always this way? We are dealing with the sad human condition. We fail and fall ourselves too often as well. Keep praying and our eyes on Jesus!

  • Posted by: frjpharrington3912 - Mar. 10, 2010 9:16 PM ET USA

    In his 2004 memorandum, "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion" then Prefect of the Confraternity for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Raztzinger wrote that those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin (Catholic politicians who support legislation favoring procured abortion and other legislation contrary to the natural moral law) after admonition, should be denied the Eucharist. The above "memoramdum" was sent to Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington of the USCCB.

  • Posted by: William F. Folger - Mar. 10, 2010 7:58 PM ET USA

    Cdl. Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, wrote in 2004 “an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin (cf. can. 915)” is justification for a minister to deny Holy Communion & described that as a “must refuse” situation. Now Archbishop Dolan says Benedict said it is “better to try to persuade them than to impose sanctions”. “Better” might trump “must” but only TEMPORARILY, say, for a not-to-be-delayed AND EFFICIENT education! Would someone post the link to what Dolan is assigning to Benedict XVI?

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Mar. 10, 2010 7:51 PM ET USA

    When did B XVI or JP II say such a thing and leave the door open in some unqualified way? I don't believe Dolan's excuse, and Listecki's sense of theological reality makes it sound like he isn't sure about anything. "He can't see how . . .", like there is a legitimate opinion on the topic? Preposterous! The Bishops are treating us like idiots.

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Mar. 10, 2010 7:40 PM ET USA

    Well, that's it. If Abp. Dolan wont take a stand, we've lost. Cdl. McCarrick and his kind were assumed, by observant persons, to be lacking in fidelity on this topic. But the new Abp of NY? It's hard to believe he wasn't told what to do. The Church has decided to go along to get along. It's been said McCarrick meets regularly with Pres. Obama. Maybe we have the old DC/NY game going on. At least Dolan will enjoy his White House luncheons.

  • Posted by: Hal - Mar. 10, 2010 6:45 PM ET USA

    I'm really disappointed in Dolan. I though better of him than that, or at least expected more than the mealy- mouthed clichés that he relies on.

  • Posted by: St.John Neumann - Mar. 10, 2010 6:08 PM ET USA

    I think this could be handled very easily if it was clearly stated that all unrepentent sinners who receive the Body and Blood of Christ eats and drinks to their own condemnation. I wonder if many bishops actually believe that the plain words of St. Paul apply to as well as to his generation. I wonder how Sts. Pius IX and X would have handled this issue. The longer I am Catholic the better I understand the tragedy of the Protestant Reformation!

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Mar. 10, 2010 12:21 PM ET USA

    This policy has caused havoc in the Church and has left the various wolves in place to harm the Church from within. This is in my view a serious failure in charity towards these recalcitrant Catholics, the faithful, and failing in the munus of governing the Church. Hence more of the same. The whole point of penalties is that they are medicinal: to confront the recalcitrant with the consequences of their behavior and protect the faithful. Is the Pope really on board with this? Don't think so.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 10, 2010 10:16 AM ET USA

    What a pity. I would have expected better of this man. Why is it when our beloved bishops move to the coasts they lose their backbones along the way?