Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hubbard to Cuomo: Heading for Hell? Need a lift?

Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, New York, has announced that a provision of Canon Law won't be enforced by the bishops of his state. That would be Canon 915, of course, which states that those "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."

The person who will benefit from this episode of clerical nullification is the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, who is both a supporter of abortion like his father, Mario, and also living with his girlfriend.

Bishop Hubbard says:
there are norms for all Catholics about receiving Communion and we have to be sensitive pastorally to every person in their own particular situation.
He goes on to say:
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.
All right, step by step.

First, both conditions of the severity of the act are met. Both the fornication and the complicity in the vast murder operation represented by legalized abortion are "manifest" (since both are widely reported in the popular press), and both are publicly defended by Mr. Cuomo, contrary to the teachings of the Church.

Second, they're certainly "grave." I hope there wouldn't be too much disagreement here among Catholics.

Third, though I suppose opinions might differ on how to interpret "obstinately persevering" (e.g., how many times do you have to ignore warnings before you become obstinate? And how long can you draw out your defiance before you can be said to be persevering?), Mr. Cuomo's track record amply shows that he's been at these things for years.

Before anyone tries to avoid conflict by leaving it all up to Mr. Cuomo's conscience, we should take careful note the language of Canon 915. It doesn't say that those who do what Mr. Cuomo's doing shouldn't come up for Communion, but if they really really want to, and they feel that it's right, it's up to them. It says that they are "not to be admitted" to Communion.

And by whom can they be admitted or not admitted? The bishop, represented by the priest.

Bishop Hubbard says we must be "sensitive pastorally" to each person's situation. Fine. Could the laity then please have an explanation of the pastoral conditions to which he is being sensitive? Does Mr. Cuomo get his feelings hurt easily? Would it harm his self-esteem? Would some elderly relative be shocked into apoplexy if little Andy were publicly disciplined by a Bishop? What? Why does he get a pass?

I can hear some people already dragging out the tattered (and wrong) "judge not lest ye be judged" excuse. I'm not condemning him to Hell. That's up to God. But I am judging his public actions and his bishop's public pronouncements against the established moral and legal standards of our Church.

I would like to see Mr. Cuomo repudiate his previous pro-abortion stance, and at least get his live-in girlfriend to live out until the Church allows him (a divorced man) to marry again.

Because until Bishop Hubbard, and all the other bishops, begin denying him Holy Communion, the terrible words of 1 Corinthians 11:27 will hang over him:
Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.
So who is being careful and "pastoral" of the soul of such a man as Mr. Cuomo? Not the one who willingly gives him the Holy Eucharist and abets the destruction of his soul, that's for sure.