During an appearance on the television news show Face the Nation, Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago appeared to say that he would allow the reception of Holy Communion by pro-abortion politicians. However the archbishop's words left his message uncertain.
Asked, “You haven't been particularly confrontational with politicians who disagree with you on issues like abortion, for instance. Do you think the Eucharist has become too politicized?”, he replied:
Well, I think that is important always to begin with an attitude of dialogue. It's important to listen to people and it's very hard to have dialogue because in order for someone to tell you why they think you are wrong, you have to sit in patience to allow that to happen. The community -- as I say, cannot be the place where those discussions are fought, but rather we have to look at how we're going to deal with the tough issues of the day in a constructive way and as adults who respect each other.The prelate was then asked, “So, when you say we cannot politicize the Communion rail, you would give Communion to politicians, for instance, who support abortion rights?” He replied:
I would not use the Eucharist or as they call it the Communion rail as the place to have those discussions or way in which people would be either excluded from the life of the Church. 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.
My question: Why are those who hold to church teaching accused of politicizing the communion rail? Are not those who flaunt the teachings of their own churches more guilty of politicizing the rail? It would seem to me that by your act of communing at an altar, you are publicly submitting to the teachings of the church whose sacraments are being offered. It would seem to me that if you are opposed to those teachings and believe them to be wrong, you are not communing as a member of the faithful but making a political statement.
I further would challenge the good bishop about the statement of respecting each other. Where is the respect for church teaching and tradition among those who have decided their church is wrong on abortion, gay marriage, etc...? If there is to be respect, respect has to go both ways. The church respects the rights of people to disagree but if they are in conscientious disagreement with such basic church teachings, is not the honorable thing to do to refrain from communing -- dare I say it, to leave for a church that embraces their point of view (Lord knows there are enough of them!).
So there you have it. What is gained when people who have obvious disagreement with basic church teachings are determined to flaunt their opposition and show up at the rail? There can be only one thing. They are doing so not as the faithful in submission to the Word of God and confession of the faith but as political people making political statements to others. No matter who does this, it demeans the Table of the Lord and is a great offense and scandal both to Christ, whose table it is, and to the faith and witness of the church to the world.