"Wafer Wars, Wedge Issues and the Pope’s Visit" [UPDATED]
From the Reuters blog Faith World:
Remember back in 2004 when some U.S. Catholic bishops declared they would deny communion to the Democratic candidate, Senator John Kerry, because he supported abortion rights? Reporters spied on him in church to see if he received or not. Pundits dreamed up terrible catch phrases like “wafer watch” and “wafer war.” The issue became part of the campaign that year.(emphasis added)
Now, four years later, Pope Benedict is visiting the U.S. and three prominent pro-choice politicians — Kerry, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani — have stepped up and taken communion at his Masses with a minimum of fuss. Pelosi kissed his ring at the White House as President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice looked on. Apart from his pro-choice stand, Giuliani is also twice divorced and remarried, which according to Church rules should bar him from taking communion. When our Vatican correspondent Phil Pullella asked him if he was uncomfortable with that, he said “No.”
As the National Catholic Reporter’s John Allen observed, “In none of these cases did the politicians receive communion directly from the pope, but it nonetheless happened during a papal Mass, and it took no one by surprise … While it would be a stretch to say that Benedict XVI authorized what happened, one can at least infer that the pope did not issue strict instructions to the contrary. The cumulative effect of these events will likely be to weaken the case that the Vatican wants the American bishops to take a stricter stance against communion for pro-choice Catholics in public life.”
"The cumulative effect of these events will likely be to weaken the case that the Vatican wants the American bishops to take a stricter stance against communion for pro-choice Catholics in public life."
That's what John Allen and his cohorts at National Catholic Reporter wish would happen.
In fact, it is CLEAR that politicians who dissent from Church teaching on abortion are not to present themselves for Communion. That is the Church's stance, and one that has been recently reiterated by the Holy Father himself. The only question over the last few years has been whether bishops and priests should be proactive in denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians.
Christopher Blosser offers his analysis of Allen's NCR piece at Catholics in the Public Square.
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Twice-Divorced, Pro-Abort Rudy Giuliani Receives Communion at Papal Mass
Pro-Abort Catholic Politicians to Receive Communion at Papal Mass [UPDATED]