In my most recent PODCAzT, about the reception of Holy Communion at papal Masses by pro-abortion politicians, I expressed pleasure at the statement issued by His Eminence Edward Card. Egan, Archbishop of New York that former Mayor Rudulph Giuliani had erred.
I raised the question of whether the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. would express anything officially about the reception of Communion by certain high profile pro-abortion Senators.
This story is from CNA, with my emphases. It raises even more questions, actually:
New York, Washington speak on Communion for pro-abort politicians
Washington DC, Apr 29, 2008 / 11:41 am (CNA).- Robert Novak’s latest column on pro-abortion politicians receiving Communion during the Pope’s visit to the U.S., has caused both Cardinal Egan and the Archdiocese of Washington to speak about the situation.
In his Washington Post column on Monday, the recent convert from Judaism to Catholicism argued that allowing politicians who support abortion to receive the Eucharist during the Pope’s visit “reflected disobedience to Benedict by the archbishops of New York and Washington.”
According to Novak and other news sources, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and three senators — John Kerry, Edward Kennedy, and Christopher Dodd—received Communion at an outdoor Mass at Nationals Park in Washington. Rudy Giuliani, on the other hand, received Communion at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, according to Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York.
Zwilling added that the statement from Cardinal Egan was prompted by Robert Novak’s column [pretty clear, that] and by comments circulating about the elected officials who had received Communion. “The cardinal felt it was important to clarify what had been the understanding, and to address it publicly,” he said.
The Archdiocese of Washington also weighed in on the controversy, telling the New York Times that Archbishop Donald Wuerl had “consistently and persistently presented the Church’s clear teaching on the evil of abortion and the need for those in public office to recognize that the support of abortion is wrong.”
“How to respond to those in public office who support abortion legislation is open to various legitimate pastoral approaches, as the United States bishops affirmed in their June 2004 statement on Catholics in political life,” the statement said. “The decision concerning the refusal of Holy Communion to an individual can best be made by the bishop in the person’s home diocese [!] with whom he or she presumably is in conversation.”
When contacted for additional comment by CNA, Susan Gibbs, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Washington, said that she would not provide a statement. The reasons she gave for not providing a statement were that she doesn’t consider CNA worthy of a statement [!] and that she is "not interested" in providing one.
Did you get that last part?
Susan Gibbs, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Washington, does not consider Catholic News Agency "worthy" of a statement.
Also, the Archdiocese has effective said that it would leave the matter to the bishops of home dioceses of Senators Kerry, Pelosi and Dodd.
This raises the canonical question of the role of the bishop when someone such as a Senator has some level of domicile in Washington or Arlington, etc., that is, in a another place where they obviously live a great deal of the year. A canonist can help here.
Furthermore, it is reasonable that bishops exercise some pastoral role also toward anyone in a diocese, whether they have domicile or not, especially when he is a high profile person. For example, will not a bishop sometimes refuse to allow a prominent person who holds errant views to speak at a Catholic institution?
If that is the case, and it usually is, why would it also not be the case in the far more important act of public reception of Holy Communion?