Governor Cuomo, Wake Up and Stop Insulting Christ

June 8, 2011 09:00 AM

Arrogance among politicians is like fine wine: the longer it has time to breathe, the uglier it becomes. This is the problem with Catholics-in-name-only—folks like New York governor Andrew Cuomo. He is in need of a wake-up call, but then again his ego may not acknowledge it.

It is astounding to me that Brooklyn’s bishop, Nicholas DiMarzio, had to step forth to enunciate what Mr. Cuomo should already know. Speaking about the recent homosexual marriage proposal that was signed into law by Cuomo, the bishop said, “More than half of all New Yorkers oppose this legislation. Yet, the governor and the state legislature have demonized people of faith, whether they be Muslims, Jews, or Christians, and identified them as bigots and prejudiced, and voted in favor of same-sex ‘marriage.’”

While the bishop has called on Catholic schools and other institutions to avoid inviting those Catholics who support such contradictions to Catholic teaching as speakers, he has evaded the one thing that really applies most in cases like this. It is clear that the best action the bishops could take in their efforts to bring Cuomo to his senses would be for them to make it clear—in a statewide unanimous declaration—that until such time as Cuomo publicly repudiates his persistent embrace of evil, he will be denied Holy Communion. 

As Cardinal Raymond Burke has taught in so many documents, to do otherwise is to simply refuse to help these elected officials who claim to be Catholic, yet act otherwise, save their immortal souls. After all, the first role of the shepherd is to strive to help his people attain heaven, is it not?

This recent situation involving Cuomo and his dalliances with the profane remind me of a CNS interview which addressed the Cuomo Catholic-teaching-coma. In this interview, CNS discussed this issue with Dr. Edward Peters, an expert in Church law. The CNS article states, “In receiving communion at a Mass offered by the Roman Catholic bishop of Albany, NY, that state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, who supports abortion, gay marriage, and lives with his girlfriend, committed an ‘objectively sacrilegious’ act that ‘produces grave scandal,’ according to Dr. Edward Peters, a top expert in Catholic Church law and a consultant to the highest court at the Vatican.” 

In the interview, CNS asked Peters, “Does Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s public policy of equal marriage rights under the law for same-sex couples constitute—in the objective order—‘persevering in manifest grave sin’ and should Cuomo therefore not ‘be admitted to holy communion?’” 

To this, Peters responded,

Canon 915 requires the demonstration of certain facts in order for the obligation to withhold Holy Communion from a member of the faithful to apply. Among the facts that need demonstration are that the action be objectively “gravely sinful” and that the conduct be “obstinate.”

As for the objective wrongness of policies that treat homosexual unions as if they were the same thing as “marriage” (whether natural or sacramental marriage, it doesn’t matter), that depends on the actual wording of the policies of course, but, in general, such polices tend to distort the character of a basic human institution and therefore damage society. … It is, of course, wrong for public officials to lend support to programs that damage the foundations of the very societies they govern.

As for whether Cuomo’s conduct is “obstinate,” again, it depends on the degree of real understanding that the governor has regarding the scope of his policies—and never underestimate how little adult Catholics today know about natural law or Church teaching—but ascribing to homosexual unions the same characteristics that have long been associated only with “marriage” is a pretty basic error. … In any case, if the governor wants a reliable refresher session on what human history and Church teaching regard as “marriage,” he can easily secure one.

To this we can only add: We urge the bishops of the state of New York to begin today to provide Governor Cuomo with that refresher course. Maybe then his insults to Christ would cease.

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