Matt C. Abbott
Reaction to Chicago archbishop's remarks on pro-abort pols receiving Communion
By Matt C. Abbott
December 3, 2014

From (Dec. 1):
    In a radical departure from the position of Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Blase Cupich – said to have been handpicked by Pope Francis for Chicago – has presented giving Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians as a positive move. Asked Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation if he would give Communion to pro-abortion politicians, the archbishop said he hoped the grace that comes to people from the Eucharist would bring them to the truth....

    'I would not use the Eucharist, or as they call it 'the Communion rail,' as a place to have those discussions or way in which people would be either excluded from the life of the Church,' replied the archbishop. 'The Eucharist is an opportunity of grace and conversion; it's also a time of forgiveness of sins, so my hope would be that that grace would be instrumental in bringing people to the truth.'
I asked two Catholic pro-life leaders to comment on Archbishop Cupich's remarks.

Judie Brown, president of American Life League, responded as follows:
    The theological errors in [Cupich's] statement are so numerous I could write a book! In fact, I did. The first thing, the most important thing, about the Cupich interview is that in his statement he dehumanized Christ, truly present in the Eucharist, by discussing Him as 'it,' as a 'place,' and as an 'opportunity.' Where is the profound respect for the person of Christ? It simply is not in the Cupich response. I am personally appalled.
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, responded as follows:
    The debate on the reception of Communion by pro-abortion politicians has its roots in two bigger issues.

    One is what the conditions are for receiving Communion in general. In other words, if we acknowledge that an abortion-supporter is contradicting the meaning of Communion but that we should let him or her come to Communion for the grace and forgiveness the sacrament brings, then there's no reason to limit that attitude of welcome, grace, forgiveness just to the sin of abortion. I would think it would apply to any kind of sin, crime, terrorism, or any other departure from the Gospel. The Gospel message is not that we should reach out just to those who sin by their involvement in abortion; it is that we should reach out to all sinners.

    The other even larger issue has to do with the continued obscurity in our society – and not least of all in the minds of the politicians who support the legality of abortion – as to what abortion is in the first place. It's a blind spot affecting both Church and state, as I point out in detail in my new book coming out in the summer of 2015. It's hard to understand why support of abortion is so inconsistent with the reconciliation with one's neighbor that the Lord says is necessary before we bring our gift to the altar (much less receive His gift from the altar; see Mt. 5:23-24) if we don't see abortion as the killing of our neighbor; and tolerance for abortion as the kind of disdain for our neighbor that the Lord warns us about when he says that we cannot even call someone 'Raca' (see Mt. 5:22), much less a 'non-person' (see Roe vs. Wade).

    But to me the biggest mystery of all is why these pro-abortion politicians should want to receive Communion anyway. How, after all, do they know it's the Body of Christ? All human evidence says it's bread. It's much easier to come to the conclusion that abortion is wrong than it is to come to the conclusion that bread and wine become the Body and Blood of the Risen Christ. If these politicians believe that, isn't it because it is the authority of the Church that tells them? And, of course, it's the same Church that tells them abortion is wrong. How, then, can they accept that authority and reject it at the very same time?
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.

© Matt C. Abbott


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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, WOSU Radio in Ohio, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at

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