Abortion? What About Divorces and a Third Marriage?

Unrepentant ex-politicians are ineligible, according to Cardinal Egan. I had always heard that Rudy Giuliani refrained from the Eucharist on his own initiative because, in the Church’s view, of his irregular marital situation. The cardinal says it was a negotiation over his stance on abortion.

This is a curious hierarchy of morality, pitting a theoretical viewpoint a person is in no position on which to act versus being in an active state of sin. Watch out: people who pay taxes to cooperate with evil governments that don’t outlaw abortion might be next.

Seriously, we’re in for another round of electoral fun, aren’t we?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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9 Responses to Abortion? What About Divorces and a Third Marriage?

  1. Anne says:

    “unrepentant ex-politicians are ineligible”

    hmmm…..what about unrepentant bishops?

  2. Randolph Nichols says:

    As one of the many divorced and remarried who abstain from communion,I find the Egan-Giuliani controversy particularly intriguing and puzzling. Granted abortion is the greater sin, but it was Giuliani’s three marriages that made his reception of communion such a public scandal. Cardinal Egan was right to respond, but surely there is more at issue than a private understanding over abortion rights. And what may I ask was going through Giuliani’s mind? I doubt he was caught up in a moment of religious fervor. Was it a lapse in judgment or a premeditated flaunting?

  3. Anne says:

    Or…could it be that his conscience is clear…church rules aside? How do we know that he is truly “unrepentant”? Should we judge him? Now don’t think for one minute I agree with 3 marriages or his stance on abortion, or his reception of the Eucharist in front of the whole world. Yet it’s puzzling to me to hear that a lay person is being “summoned”. If I were him and sure of my actions, I wouldn’t show.
    So how did the press get that info? Could it be the Archdiocese did this to satisfy complaints.

  4. Gavin says:

    This is a curious hierarchy of morality

    One might even think that some sings are MORTAL and others VENIAL! What foolishness!

    Sarcasm aside, it always seems to me the pro-lifers screaming for the heads of Giulliani, Kerry and Pelosi are just trying to publicly embarrass their political opponents. What was that about “be not conformed to the image of this world?” But… but… they’re CATHOLIC, so the bishop can humiliate- errrr discipline them to our way of thinking!

    Or does everyone already see through this nonsense?

  5. FrMichael says:

    Mr. Giuliani had no business to receive Communion based on his illicit and invalid marriage as well as his obstinate public support of abortion “rights,” thus violating canon 815. Looks like he flew the one-finger salute to Cardinal Egan who had privately counseled him, doing so in Egan’s own cathedral in the presence of the Pope.

    If this didn’t draw some sort of public rebuke, what would? Conducting an abortion during Mass?

  6. Tony says:

    Todd, do you believe that there is a requirement to be free of mortal sin before presenting yourself for Holy Communion?

  7. Todd says:

    Good question, Tony. I think I’d see it more as an obligation than a requirement. The Church does provide for circumstances in which serious sin may be confessed later.

    Guiliani’s divorces and remarriages objectively put him in a position in which he should not present himself for Communion. A violation of church law–twice–is generally considered serious sin. For it to be mortal sin, Guiliani would have to have a clear willful intent to separate himself from God. Remarriage is a serious matter, but I’m not sure it’s always mortal.

    As for his support of abortion rights, that’s less clear to me. His position is no different, really, from pro-lifers who pay taxes or insurance premiums that help support government-sponsored abortions. Or people who buy from China.

    If Guiliani actively assisted someone in procuring an abortion: that’s serious matter. It’s a mortal sin if the person is fully cognizant of what they are doing.

    The point of my post is that the former mayor is already ineligible, since his 1984 second marriage if I can trust wikipedia on the date. I don’t know why abortion support is being trotted out on this, that’s all.

  8. Tony says:


    If you were an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and someone presented themselves to you wearing a button on their lapel showing their support for abortion rights, would you give them communion?

    The point I’m trying to make is that Jesus ate with sinners. He forgave them their sins but adminished them to sin no more.

    The denying of communion for politicians (or anyone else who is in the thrall of mortal sin) is not so much because they are sinners (because even the pope has a confessor) but because the sin is both public, unrepentant and causes scandal.

    Mayor Giuliani, through his public support of abortion and presenting himself for communion gives the world the impression he is in communion with the Catholic church which he is not.

    To be fair, the papal mass was not the place to discipline him (like you would not scream at your daughter’s little brother at her first communion party. You don’t want to ruin her day, but he’ll “get it” afterward.)

    Cardinal Egan is taking the mayor out to the woodshed after the special event, which is the right thing to do in my opinion.

  9. Todd says:

    Tony, I guess my question is more subtle. Giuliani has had an irregular marriage situation for the past 24 years. As the Church sees it, that was his first problem. I don’t understand why the abortion thing is coming up. His marital status is a slam dunk, unlike his political advocacy for choice.

    I’m aware both situations are “disputed territory” for many Catholics. But let me offer another spin on public scandal.

    People who publicize their “ill-gotten” Communion might themselves be considered part of the serious sin of scandal. That would be true of a public figure’s media handlers as well as Catholic activists recording wrongdoing.

    To answer your first question, I might have a conversation with the person. I might have it on the spot. At issue would not be his or her support for abortion rights, but his or her implied statement in coming to Communion with at least a secondary motive of being provocative.

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