Andrew Cuomo should be denied Communion. That’s the only conclusion I can come to after witnessing his brazen efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, directly ignoring and acting against the public pleas and warnings of the bishops of New York.
Andrew Cuomo already is known to be living in sin with his girlfriend. He’s an unapologetic proponent of abortion, and he just signed gay marriage into law. If this sort of person should not be denied Communion in the Church, simply no one can or should be.
And while the final gay marriage bill he signed into law last Friday does contain some measure of religious liberty protections, the original bill he supported had even less. So it’s not as if he even particularly cares that his actions could have immediate harmful consequences for Catholic institutions and individual Catholics.
My father has written at length this weekend about the canonical consequences Gov. Cuomo faces:
Cuomo’s concubinage gives prominent bad example against marriage, but his official actions in regard to “gay marriage” have changed the very definition of marriage in the populous state under his care; Cuomo’s living arrangements are of immediate canonical concern to only two of New York’s eight arch/bishops, but his political actions in regard to “gay marriage” negatively impact the pastoral mission of every Catholic bishop, parish priest, deacon, and lay minister throughout the Province of New York; finally, while most of the bishops of New York said little or nothing about Cuomo’s living with a woman not his wife, his long-standing actions in regard to “gay marriage” were challenged repeatedly, directly, and forcefully by the Archbishop of New York and by all his seven suffragans.
In light of the foregoing, I see no way, absent a public reversal of his public conduct, that Andrew Cuomo may present himself for holy Communion (per Canon 916), and, if he does present himself, I see no way that a minister of holy Communion may administer the sacrament to him (per Canon 915). Indeed, the only question in my mind is whether the ordinaries of New York should lift from the shoulders of individual ministers the burden of reaching this decision, by making a determination to this effect themselves and, assuming they do reach this conclusion, whether they should announce it publicly or in a personal letter to Cuomo. (Personally, I think a public announcement more befits the markedly public character of Cuomo’s conduct and responds better to the danger of scandal presented to the faithful by his actions).
Cuomo got into this himself (and he can get out of this himself). But in the meantime, I believe the Church owes it to him and to the Catholic faithful of New York to help him accept the consequences of his public actions by publicly denying him Communion the next time he presents himself to receive it.
I’ll conclude with a small observation. This Sunday was Corpus Christi – one of the highest feast days of the Church’s liturgical year, where Catholics celebrate the miracle of the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This Sunday was also the day of New York City’s Gay Pride parade. I’m not sure if Cuomo went to Mass yesterday, but I know what he did after (if he did):
Governor Cuomo has already chosen what banner he wants to march under. The Catholic Church therefore has a right and obligation to acknowledge the consequences of his choice publicly.