Catholic World News

New York bishops will not deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians

March 09, 2011

The bishops of New York State will not deny Holy Communion to politicians who support abortion and same-sex marriage, according to Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany.

“Some bishops have done that but not all bishops have done that,” he 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.”

Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law states that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” In 2000, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, authoritatively interpreting the canon, declared that parish priests must deny Holy Communion to those who have remarried outside the Church if they persist in seeking Holy Communion following a warning.

Asked whether Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is divorced and living with his girlfriend, ought to receive Holy Communion, Bishop Hubbard echoed earlier comments and said that “there are norms for all Catholics about receiving Communion and we have to be sensitive pastorally to every person in their own particular situation,” adding, “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.” Governor Cuomo and his wife, Kerry Kennedy, divorced because she was having an affair with a married man.

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  • Posted by: impossible - Mar. 13, 2011 10:48 PM ET USA

    What does a Bishop's disobedience do to those in his care? Does a Bhisop expect his priests to obey when he himself disobeys? Do they expect the laity to respect them? There's a lot of hypocisy going on.

  • Posted by: unum - Mar. 10, 2011 10:22 AM ET USA

    So, tell me again what the laity are supposed to believe. Is it the words of the Church or the actions of her bishops? So many messages ... so much contradiction.

  • Posted by: stpetric - Mar. 10, 2011 10:02 AM ET USA

    As I understand it, the point isn't to punish or reward particular political views, but so safeguard the communicant's soul. That's the issue here.

  • Posted by: Miss Cathy - Mar. 10, 2011 8:57 AM ET USA

    Pastoral nonsense!

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Mar. 10, 2011 2:16 AM ET USA

    "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle ?" (1 Cor 14:8) In New York, it's worth than that. The trumpet has been stuffed in its case and has been hauled off to the dump along with the debris of all those demolished churches in closed -- oops, sorry, "consolidated" -- parishes.

  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Mar. 09, 2011 9:09 PM ET USA

    The heart of the crisis is a massive apsotasy within the ranks of high ranking clerics. If these bishops truly understood WHO they were giving to those who lined up for Holy Communion and the fact that they will be judged by Christ for not living up to their state as shepherds than they wouldn't just give HIM to everyone. That the Church has no leaders willing to get their hands dirty is true, but so is the fact many many prelates do not have supernatural Faith either.

  • Posted by: sarsok8679 - Mar. 09, 2011 6:52 PM ET USA

    Would they deny communion to slave holders, KKK members, a prominent neo-Nazi, a WICCAN. These bishops are a product of a limp wristed clergy of the 70's and 80's. Maybe we can give them to the Anglicans who would honor their great "courage".

  • Posted by: - Mar. 09, 2011 6:45 PM ET USA

    I don't understand the push by some for women priests and bishops. Regarding, the bishops, I wish that there were more who were men. :-)

  • Posted by: voxfem - Mar. 09, 2011 6:28 PM ET USA

    Aren't the bishops the pastors? Or would the bishop back a priest who pastorally upheld the Canon in his parish? Being "pastorally sensitive" should not override the needs of the faithful for clear teaching. If these situations were private, then the decision on communion can be private; these are public situations and should have, at a minimum, a public statement to clarify right and wrong in the minds of the faithful.

  • Posted by: umpynelson3459 - Mar. 09, 2011 11:28 AM ET USA

    It would appear that the Catholic Church is no better off than the Protestant church when it comes to authority. Do what you want when you want. And were not far from believe what you want as well.

  • Posted by: ltoscan2645 - Mar. 09, 2011 10:54 AM ET USA

    i am a simple lay Catholic, i do not posses the theological training or background of Bishops, BUT i do understand the meaning of obedience,...two simple questions why is the canon being disobeyed? ...why aren't those in authority over bishops, i.e. the archbishops, congregation for bishops, and ultimately the Pope demanding adherence to this canon ...i remain a simple lay and very confused Catholic

  • Posted by: Hal - Mar. 09, 2011 10:27 AM ET USA

    More mush from the wimps. No wonder the faithful are departing. Feh.