Communion for openly-lesbian Chicago Mayor – the devil is in the details

Check out this piece at the National Catholic Register (not to be confused with the National Schismatic Reporter aka Fishwrap).

Background: A Chicago – Murder Central USA – police officer was killed in the line.  Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a non-Catholic Christian in a same-sex marriage, went up for Communion and a priest gave her Communion.

More about that. The priest is a chaplain to the Chicago Police Department. Gotta be a tough job. He says he is “mortified” that he gave Communion to someone like Lightfoot, and well he should be.

In an interview Friday with CNA, Father Dan Brandt said just moments prior to Communion he was asked by Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, the main celebrant, to take his place distributing the Eucharist and became flustered when he saw the mayor step forward as the first in his line.

“You know something, I am to blame for that, and I am mortified,” Father Brandt said.

“I actually gave her Communion, but she was the very first one up there, and I wasn‘t supposed to give out Communion, and at the last second Cardinal Cupich said, ’I‘m going to sit out Communion; you take my spot.’”

“And so, I didn‘t know where I was going. I mean, I was totally, the whole weekend was a blur. I was going on very little sleep,” the Catholic police chaplain explained. “And, anyways, I’m making excuses, but, yes, she came up, and I put the sacred Host in her hand, and I was like ‘Oh!’ — and, of course, it was too late at that point. And I was like, ‘Oh, dear God, have mercy.’”

Father Brandt added that he is deeply apologetic toward those who were offended by the mayor receiving Communion.

First, I believe this priest. Frankly, I think you would have to be pretty tired and distracted not to recognize the highly distinctive and visible Mayor. Think about it. But I believe he is really sorry for having given Lightfoot Communion.

However, notice details.

Lightfoot was sitting in the front, “a front pew”, a noticeable place and, of course, an early pew for Communion time.

“Moments before”, Cupich (in Chicago because of McCarrick -must see video HERE) told this priest to distribute for him, that is in the principle place for Communion where the people of distinction and family would be.

So the PRIEST is the one seen to refuse or to give Communion to Lightfoot not the CARDINAL ARCHBISHOP safely sitting and watching to see what happens next.  All live-streamed on the internet and local TV.

Imagine the press had the priest refused her Communion. Imagine the statement issued by Cupich’s office.

I wonder if Lightfoot’s office contacted Cupich’s office beforehand, to say that she would be there.

And… NO… the provision in Canon Law for the possibility of Communion for non-Catholics doesn’t apply here. Not. At. All. As the NCREg article says:

Under canon law, for a Protestant to be given Communion, he or she must be unable to approach a minister of their own community; express their adhesion to the Catholic faith regarding the sacraments; and be properly disposed.

Proper disposition to receive Communion includes freedom from mortal sin and actual devotion, and it is dogma that the state of grace is necessary for the worthy reception of the Eucharist.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Adeodata says:

    Was there no announcement ahead of time of who is and who is not eligible to receive communion? As a matter of routine before Mass, our parish informs people who are not Catholic to fold their arms across their chest to receive a blessing instead. If something was said beforehand or written in a program, she should have never gone up.

  2. ChrisP says:

    If this priests version is accurate then there can be only two reasons for it:

    1) Cdl Cupich is ambivalent (at best) and did not know what was going on
    2) Cdl Cupich knew darn well who was in that front row and hustled the poor priest

    It does appear 2) is the answer. Cdl Cupich needs prayers and penance for his actions here ? The thought of what he may have done is awful. Pray for his repentance and conversion.

  3. TonyO says:

    ChrisP, I agree that it does appear Card. Cupich ducked out on purpose, intentionally at the last minute, in order to deflect negative attention from himself. Whether he did or did not give the mayor Communion, he would have come under attack.

    Assuming, that is, he wasn’t forthright enough to pro-active about it, and 2 minutes before Communion, make an announcement that (a) those present who are non-Catholics should not present themselves for Communion, and (b) those who disagree with the Church’s basic doctrinal teachings are not properly disposed to receive the sacrament of unity and shall not be given Communion. Etc. (as Adeodata mentioned above). With clarification of “basic doctrinal teachings” as including marriage only exists between a man and a woman, (among others).

    On the hypothesis that Cupich intentionally ducked out in order to avoid the negative press, this could only be treated as a grave act of cowardice: (a) not only to pass up a moment of witnessing to the Truth of Christ; and (b) pass up a moment to explicitly teach his flock (who clearly need to be taught); but (c) to heinously shove some innocent priest into the cross-hairs to stand in his place to take the heat. That’s all besides the fact that the main celebrant of Mass – and the ordinary of the diocese – SHOULD be giving Communion, that’s one of his roles.

    Now, I premised that “on the hypothesis” that he did this with aforethought. But it is not impossible that he did it without thinking of any of this. I cannot estimate the likelihood, but I caution against rash judgment. None of US need to make a judgment of the matter.

  4. AA Cunningham says:

    As the principal celebrant at the Mass the diminutive Cardinal Archbishop abdicated his duties in “sitting out” during the distribution of Holy Communion. However, anyone who knows anything about him realizes that he’s been doing things like this since he was ordained. It’s simply his modus operandi.

  5. Senor Quixana says:

    The only thing mildly surprising about this is that Cupich was going to distribute in the first place. It is not unusual for a bishop to sit out if there are adequate numbers of priests.

    The only question in my mind is was this just Cupich ducking out of having to irk somebody and this priest just happened to be handy or was he a target.

    I hate being this cynical.

  6. Son of Saint Alphonsus says:

    She should have known better and probably did. All highly ranked politicians have staff to inform them of proper protocol in these situations. And let’s not forget it’s pretty common knowledge that only Catholics may receive Communion in a Catholic Church. My guess is she acted intentionally and with malice. One would expect nothing less of someone who has publicly embraced a life of sin.

  7. teomatteo says:

    She’s smart enough to know that she cannot and should not recieve especially while honoring a slain police officer at a city wide funeral. And the cardinal is smart enough to know that he cant give her communion. My conclusion is collusion. Purposful move on the cardinals part.

  8. Kathleen10 says:

    I believe the priest, because he expressed his upset about giving her communion.
    He’s publicly expressing his remorse. But what a weasel…Cupich is jumping out just at that moment, my goodness…certainly he knew, we weren’t born yesterday. Sorry, no more benefits of the doubt, those have been used up.
    I have always been dismayed at the lack of announcements informing “visitors” and even Catholics poorly instructed, who don’t seem to know or understand the above criteria about receiving Holy Communion. When you say nothing, you make it easy for publicity hound gate crashers like Lightfoot to sidle up and get the white thing. That’s probably the next wave anyway, Lightfoot is ahead of the curve.

  9. Hb says:

    When I read this story, my first thought was the priest was set up. Fr. Z you hit the mail on the head with this one.

  10. TRW says:

    I’m confused. The article quoted states that in order for a Protestant to be given Communion, they must “express their adhesion to the Catholic faith regarding the sacraments”. That would, for them, necessarily mean admitting that the sacraments of non-Catholic “churches” are invalid (with the possible exception of baptism). The Eastern Orthodox are the only group that I think could possibly be eligible, but I never considered them “Protestant “.

  11. Chiara says:

    I would have thought, in heavily-Catholic, multi-cultural Chicago, if Mayor Lightfoot did not know or understand the rules and etiquette of receiving Communion at a Catholic Mass, someone on her staff should have briefed her so she did not walk up to receive. I fully believe the priest in question is telling the truth – he was stressed, functioning on little sleep, etc. And I give him great credit for accepting the blame and taking the responsibility in spite of it all. Many prominent priests and bishops would not have done so. I think the Mayor’s office has more to answer for in this circumstance – either they were abusing the Eucharist to make political points, or they were terribly and inexcusably lax, as was Mayor Lightfoot.

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  13. TonyO says:

    The article quoted states that in order for a Protestant to be given Communion, they must “express their adhesion to the Catholic faith regarding the sacraments”.

    TRW, I think that the rule means primarily that the Protestant believes in such basic truths as (a) the sacraments confer grace ex opere operato, and (b) that the Eucharist is the real Body and Blood of Christ. It does not imply that they believe ALL of the peripheral truths that can be deduced from the basic truths.

    That said, there are some Anglican priests who, knowing something of the backstory of the priesthood and the unbroken chain of succession (from the Apostles) by bishops, and the Catholic teaching that Anglicanism no longer has valid priesthood, have gone to valid bishops and received ordination from them. Sometimes they seek out bishops who, while validly ordained in succession from the Apostles, are in schism from the Church (such as bishops of the Old Catholic Church), are willing to ordain such men to be priests.

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  15. TesserMa says:

    I wonder, would we have near so many instances of non-Catholics wanting to grab Communion if it was only available by kneeling at an altar rail to receive reverently on the tongue?? Would even CINO’s such as Biden & Pelosi et al, be willing to receive that way?
    We have allowed Eucharistic desecration & made it so easy & convenient by allowing it standing and in the hand(s) of recipients—grab and go! Having been an extraordinary minister myself, I have certainly witnessed innumerable such desecrations over the years. Would the mayor-ess have been willing to kneel before that which she doesn’t believe is God— The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity— and receive on the tongue? Whaddya wanna bet she would not have “accidentally” received in that case?

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