Skip to comments.Bishop Would Deny Communion to Giuliani
Posted on 10/04/2007 5:50:34 AM PDT by NYer
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Roman Catholic Archbishop Raymond Burke, who made headlines last presidential season by saying he'd refuse Holy Communion to John Kerry, has his eye on Rudy Giuliani this year. Giuliani's response: "Archbishops have a right to their opinion."
Burke, the archbishop of St. Louis, was asked if he would deny Communion to Giuliani or any other presidential candidate who supports abortion rights.
"If any politician approached me and he'd been admonished not to present himself, I'd not give it," Burke told The Associated Press Wednesday. "To me, you have to be certain a person realizes he is persisting in a serious public sin."
Asked if the same would apply to politicians who support the death penalty or pre-emptive war, he said, "It's a little more complicated in that case."
Asked about Burke's comments Wednesday while campaigning in New Hampshire, Giuliani said:
"Archbishops have a right to their opinion, you know. There's freedom of religion in this country. There's no established religion, and archbishops have a right to their opinion. Everybody has a right to their opinion."
Burke says that anyone administering Communion — ordained priest or lay minister — is morally obligated to deny it to Catholic politicians who support an abortion-rights position contrary to church teaching.
Burke published an article in April in a church law journal that explored whether it is ever appropriate to deny Communion. Some U.S. bishops interpret church teaching to say that an individual examination of conscience, not a minister, should dictate whether a person is worthy to receive the sacrament.
Burke said denial of Communion is not a judgment. "What the state of his soul is is between God and him," he said.
The nation's bishops are expected to discuss the question again in meetings next month. Burke said he has made no policy proposal, simply laid out his thoughts in the article.
Burke will not be attending the bishops' meeting because of a prior commitment in Rome.
His stance on Giuliani was made public earlier Wednesday in an interview with The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
A number of other Catholic presidential candidates also have abortion-rights stances in apparent conflict with church teaching. Giuliani is the only Catholic among the top-tier candidates.
Giuliani, a Republican, sometimes evokes his Catholic upbringing as he campaigns for president, yet he declines to say whether he is a practicing Catholic. He has been a longtime supporter of abortion rights.
While it is unlikely Giuliani or any other presidential candidate will present himself to Burke for Communion in the next few months, the archbishop's comments revive an issue that could be a factor for churchgoing voters.
In 2004, Burke said he would deny Communion to Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee who supports abortion rights. Several other bishops have said politicians should refrain from the sacrament if they oppose the church on such an important issue.
As for Giuliani, when a voter in Iowa asked him in August if he was a "traditional, practicing Roman Catholic," he said: "My religious affiliation, my religious practices and the degree to which I am a good or not-so-good Catholic, I prefer to leave to the priests."
Last week, Giuliani compared the scrutiny of his personal life marked by three marriages to the biblical story in which Jesus said only someone who was free of all sin should try to stone an adulterous woman.
"I'm guided very, very often about, 'Don't judge others, lest you be judged,'" Giuliani told the Christian Broadcasting Network.
"I have very, very strong views on religion that come about from having wanted to be a priest when I was younger, having studied theology for four years in college," he said.
"So it's a very, very important part of my life," he said. "But I think in a democracy and in a government like ours, my religion is my way of looking at God, and other people have other ways of doing it, and some people don't believe in God. I think that's unfortunate. I think their life would be a lot fuller if they did, but they have that right."
Republicans have been most successful with religious voters — President Bush, a Methodist, won the Catholic vote over Kerry, a Catholic, in 2004 — but Democratic candidates are fighting back and have spoken frequently about their religious beliefs this year.
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I’m not a Catholic, but I would’ve thought his multiple marriages would be enough to not receive Communion (based on my Catholic school years). I think the first was annulled, so that wouldn’t be enough, but I don’t think his second was a clean break in the Church’s eyes. Certainly his views on abortion wouldn’t help his case.
Rudy is a queer lover and cross dresser who has a scandalous personal life. He doesn’t deserve communion.
***”I have very, very strong views on religion that come about from having wanted to be a priest when I was younger, having studied theology for four years in college,” he said.***
I’m glad he realized the priesthood wasn’t his vocation!
And I would deny the Republican nomination to Rudy.
"Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or the declaration of a penalty as well as others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to communion."
This is not some bishop's "opinion" and it is not for cross-dressing and other nonsense. It is prescribed by Canon Law for those who obstinately persist (after having been warned) in "manifest" (publicly known) "grave sin"(like, among other things, being an accomplice in the killing of an innocent human being)--- and the purpose is to protect the faithful from scandal, protect the Blessed Sacrament from public profanation,and protect the offender himself from further acts of sacrilege, praying always for his repentance.
This is not a political football. It is a necessary--- in fact, mandatory--- defense of spirtual integrity.
Too bad only Burke and a few others are faithful enough to actually enforce Canon Law. It applies to beishops, priests, deacons, EM's and anybody else who is entrusted with the grave responsibility of ministering the Sacrament.
“Hey look at me, I’m over here. See how important I deserve to be, look over here it’s me the important looking guy”.
"Archbishops have a right to their opinion, you know. There's freedom of religion in this country. There's no established religion, and archbishops have a right to their opinion. Everybody has a right to their opinion."What an astonishingly stupid response.
How are you so sure Burke is doing this to attract attention to himself?
It IS astonishingly stupid - but the US bishops have allowed Catholic politicians to get away with it for 40 years (and many other less visible Catholics, too, of course).
The "matter of opinion in a free society" defense was invented by a Catholic priest (Fr. Drinan) for the benefit of Senator Kennedy and has spread far and wide since then.
It's my opinion (as a non-Catholic) that unless there is some public act of refusal of communion by other than the occasional bishop that the practice of apostates receieving communion will continue unabated.
With acumen like yours, you should be sitting on the couch between those two rocket scientists Behar and Goldberg.
"Burke, the archbishop of St. Louis, was asked"
Giuliani's answer is really a red herring. Of course bishops have a right to their opinion. But that's not the question. The question is, Do bishops have the authority and obligation, under Church law, to deny Giuliani communion?
I wish more publicly unrepentent sinners had the courage of their convictions that Jim McGreevy had and would just leave. But unless, as you say, refusing communion to these clowns becomes standard practice, I suppose they have no reason to.
Well, that's A question, all right.
But it's not THE question.
THE question is, "if the bishops have the obligation to deny communion to Giuliani (and all the others), then why don't they do so?"
He has completely refused to discuss his religious situation -- re going to church, presenting himself to receive, etc. Absolute refusal. But he still calls himself a Catholic. I guess he still is one unless he disowns the Church, since he could always go to Confession, get right with God, and receive.
That tells me that all he wants is to call himself Catholic to snag the paisano vote. He probably isn't even going to Mass, let alone going up to receive.
That's another issue. Giuliani seems to be deliberately obfuscating the fact that the bishop is acting rightly, under Church law.
But your question is equally important. And the only answer I can come up with is cowardice. There may be extenuating circumstances in some cases, but they would be very few.
i totally agree. he knows enough to know he shouldn't and i don't think he would attempt to receive. but yes, he won't give up the appellation of Catholic, bc he can still attract the lapsed who see him as one of their own.
it is an absolute necessity, and not done nearly enough. i am floored to hear people saying that the bishop should just SHUT UP. what is the function of a religious leader other than to LEAD?
In short, Burke is just answering honestly, according to canon law. In his memorandum entitled Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion General Principles, Pope B16 (when he was Cardinal Ratzinger) said without ambiguity:
The minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it [Holy Communion] when warning and counsel given to the manifest sinner have not had their effect.
Neither Burke nor Benedict invented this as some kind of political novelty. It's the unremarkable enforcement of ecclesiastical law, which you can see quoted verbatim at post#7.
The only "remarkable" thing is how so few bishops bother to heed the law. That's been the shame and the bane of the Church for decades: long on doctrine, short on discipline.
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