Opportunity Missed...

One month ago a Canon Lawyer, Dr. Edward Peters, cited Canon 915 and section 2390 of the Catechism as to why Governor Andrew Cuomo should be denied Holy Communion. The new governor’s public persona has certainly tested the limits of what constitutes “manifest grave sin” and has made it very difficult to claim that his religion is a private matter. Interestingly, it is OK for the sin to be public but the challenges are to remain private. On this specific issue, there have been many who commented on it and made it clear that there are sufficient grounds to hold the governor accountable, as well as many other notorious Catholic figures whose public policies and lives make a mockery of the Church’s Teachings.

While issues of faith and morals are difficult in the public forum and need to be treated with proper sensitivity, the bishops of New York State were once again given an opportunity to teach the faithful and did not take it. Many of the faithful today have not been taught the sinful gravity of “public concubinage” and sexual relations outside of the Sacrament of Marriage. This is the result of decades of failed catechesis. Regardless of the specific circumstances regarding the new governor and the many reasons why he and other Catholic politicians should not receive Holy Communion, public situations like this one are prime opportunities for instructing the faithful.

Marriage is a primordial reality that was established by God at the very beginning of Human existence. Its permanence and indissolubility are part of the constant teaching of the Church. In an era where this teaching is being questioned daily and there are calls to “redefine” marriage, there has not been a clear statement by the bishops with regard to why these politicians are in violation of Church Teaching. As public as the sin should be the Teaching. The depth of the Church’s Teaching on Marriage is relatively unknown by many of the faithful and it is time to make this Teaching clear. Case in point, the new Governor has publicly declared his support of gay marriage, a stance that further betrays his Catholicity.

Strong statements on the gravity of acts that betray Marriage are needed now more than ever and the bishops should use these opportunities to instruct the faithful. Unfortunately the bishops often engage in the “numbers game” and fear a mass exodus if they were to challenge Catholics on issues that disparage Marriage. In this regard, however, there are many Catholics who are not living out the Faith in its fullness and have already objectively separated themselves from the Church.

Maybe it is time once again to recapture the spiritual work of mercy and begin instructing the ignorant.