Pro-Abortion New York and Nevada Governors Get Catholic Mass

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 4, 2011   |   4:25PM   |   Washington, DC

The newly-minted governors of New York and Nevada have received a Catholic Mass in their honor and the events are coming under fire from pro-life Catholics.

Andrew Cuomo and Bob Duffy, the new governor and lieutenant governor of New York, celebrated Mass at Albany’s cathedral, where they received a glowing homily from Bishop Howard Hubbard as Sandra Lee, described by the New York Daily News as his “live-in girlfriend,” sat in the front pew, according to the New York Daily News.

“We know they, over the next four years, will be deeply immersed in the work of evangelization by bringing about the transformation of our state and our society, and we assure them of our prayers, of our support and of our best wishes for challenges they will face,” Bishop Hubbard said.

Though Cuomo and Duffy both support legalized abortion, Cuomo received Holy Communion at the Mass, which upsets Thomas Peters, a Catholic Vote official who writes at American Papist, a popular blog.

“I’m not surprised that Bishop Hubbard would do this. This is the same bishop who approved the free distribution of needles to drug abusers,” he said.

“Still, whenever a bishop clouds the Church’s clear teaching on the life and dignity of the unborn, and whenever he gives Communion to a politician of prominence who is clearly violating the precepts of the Church (and God), scandal is caused among the faithful and the Church’s moral witness is harmed,” Peters said. “There simply aren’t “two ways” of living our faith. Failing to mention the egregious disregard for the unborn exhibited by Cuomo and Duffy is the wrong way to express our faith.”

“I’m not surprised by Bishop Hubbard’s actions, but I am deeply disappointed in them,” he said.

Peters says Cuomo’s live-in girlfriend, Sandra Lee, is Catholic as well.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Culture web site is upset by the concelebrated Mass that Bishop Joseph Pepe of Las Vegas and retired Bishop Philip Straling of Reno celebrated with the inauguration of pro-abortion Catholic Governor Brian Sandoval.

During his homily, Bishop Pepe advised Sandoval to maintain “a closeness to the people we serve. We have to listen and we have to listen carefully.”

The web site notes Sandoval says on his own web page that he is “pro-choice,” but a spokesman for the governor said he “takes his faith personally, and it’s important to him.”

Brian Burch, president of Catholic Vote, told in response: “We are pleased to hear that Governor-Elect Brian Sandoval chose to begin this day by attending Mass.”

“Regrettably, Sandoval also persistently claims the legal right for women to kill their unborn children, a clear violation of the Fifth Commandment, and the constant teaching of the Catholic Church,” he said. “Because of his advocacy for legal abortion, Sandoval is clearly not in communion with the Church.”

Media reports did not make clear if Sandoval presented himself for Communion. The U.S. Bishops have left the decision of whether to withhold communion up to the local ordinary.

About Pep and Straling, Burch said, “We pray and hope that they made clear that those political leaders who persist in opposing the right to life of the unborn should abstain from receiving
the sacrament.”

Cardinal Burke recently reaffirmed the Church’s teaching on how public defenders of abortion cause division in the Church:  “On the question of a person who publicly and obstinately espouses the right of a woman to choose to abort the infant in her womb receiving Holy Communion – strikes me as something very clear in the 2,000 years of the church’s tradition – she’s always firmly held that a person who is publicly and obstinately in grave sin should not approach to receive Holy Communion and, if he or she does, should be denied Holy Communion.”