WASHINGTON (AP) Washington Roman Catholic Archbishop Donald Wuerl, responding to questions about the pro-abortion rights Catholic politicians who accepted Holy Communion during Pope Benedict XVI's American visit, said any decision about denying the sacrament to those politicians should be made in their home dioceses.
Wuerl wrote in his archdiocesan newspaper column that he does not believe the Washington Archdiocese should intervene when such a public figure is taking Communion in the nation's capital. He suggested that doing so would supersede the authority of those politicians' bishops in their home districts.
"A decision regarding the refusal of Holy Communion to an individual is one that should be made only after clear efforts to persuade and convince the person that their actions are wrong and bear moral consequences," Wuerl wrote. "Presumably this is done in the home diocese where the bishops and priests, the pastors of souls, engage the members of their flock in this type of discussion."
Wuerl's comments came after New York Cardinal Edward Egan issued a statement saying former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, another abortion rights supporter, had broken "an understanding" the two shared by accepting Communion at a papal Mass in New York. The former Republican presidential hopeful responded that he was willing to meet with Egan, but his faith "is a deeply personal matter and should remain confidential."
In Washington, a number of Catholic lawmakers who support abortion rights, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. John Kerry, the former Democratic presidential candidate, attended a papal Mass at Nationals Park. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, took Communion from a priest far from the papal altar.