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David wrote:

Hi, guys —

I was just listening to Fox News (1:30 PM, Sunday, July 18). The woman reporter said that at a morning Mass in Hyannisport, Senator Kennedy distributed Holy Communion to members of his family along with the priest.

If this report is true, this is the final straw for myself and my wife. I don't know how I can remain a member of a Church that has a pro-abortionist distributing the Holy Eucharist.

  • What's your opinion on this issue?


  { What is your view on Kennedy distributing Communion to members of his family with a priest? }

Richard replied:

Hi, David —

The Church has spoken explicitly on the point. In the 1973 document "Immensae Caritatis", which instituted the practice of appointing lay persons to distribute Holy Communion, the Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments wrote that the person appointed to that sacred duty must be someone distinguished by his Christian life and morals.

In my opinion, the bishop of Fall River, the Most Rev. Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap., is known for orthodoxy, piety, and a pro-life commitment, so I hope that he would also not approve permitting Senator Kennedy to distribute the Holy Eucharist. For now, I presume he was not consulted in the case. If the report turns out to be true, you have every right to let the bishop know how scandalous the event was.

Nevertheless, we have a duty to belong to the Catholic Church because of the *truth* of the Catholic Faith, and because of the *identity* of the Church as the Communion founded by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Neither of those aspects is negated by the scandalous actions of erring Catholics, whatever those actions may be.

Yours in our Lord,

Richard Chonak

Mike replied:

Dear David —

We should not let the scandal of fellow Catholics effect our salvation. We should focus on our Particular Judgment and let Senator Kennedy focus on his — if he knows what his Particular Judgement is. I don't mean to be a sarcastic.

For us to assume we know the:

  • religious background
  • educational background
  • mental and emotional state, and
  • culpability

of any well-known dissenting Catholic would be erroneous.

  • I'm not condoning the public sin and the gravity of sins publicly committed by dissenting Catholics.
  • I'm questioning the extent to which the sinner is culpable for their sin.

If someone knows Senator Kennedy, [he/she] should correct him once, in charity, then go back to focusing on their salvation.

Hope this helps,


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