By John-Henry Westen

CNS photo/Paul HaringWASHINGTON, June 26, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - At the installation Mass of the new Archbishop of Washington, Donald W. Wuerl, Thursday, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the representative of Pope Benedict XVI, was seen giving Holy Communion to pro-abortion Senator and former Presidential candidate John Kerry. The incident was reported by the Catholic News Service (CNS), the official news service of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

CNS states: “During the Mass, Kerry, who supports keeping abortion legal, received Communion in the hand from Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States and Pope Benedict XVI’s representative to the U.S. bishops.”

LifeSiteNews.com formally requested a clarification from the office of the Apostolic Nuncio. No reply was sent from Archbishop Sambi’s office though LifeSiteNews.com was informed that the nuncio received the request for clarification.Â

LifeSiteNews.com also spoke with the Communications Assistant of the Archdiocese of Washington about the matter. Mark Adkinson indicated that the incident was likely not intentional by indicating that Archbishop Sambi was administering Holy Communion on the side where the dignitaries were seated.

CNS also reported that Archbishop Wuerl shook hands with Senators Kerry and Ted Kennedy as he processed into the church.“During his entrance procession, the archbishop shook hands with Democratic Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry of Massachusetts, seated side by side in the third row along the center aisle,” reported CNS.Â

However, Adkinson also downplayed the significance of the greetings telling LifeSiteNews.com that the Archbishop shook hands with “hundreds of people” as he processed into the church.

The issue of allowing pro-abortion politicians to receive Holy Communion has loomed large in the Catholic Church in the United States with a committee on the matter having been chaired by former Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick concluding only last week. While it was finally decided that bishops should decide for themselves on the matter, the church’s canon law and the man who now serves as Pope, Benedict XVI, have indicated that such politicians “must” be denied communion.

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
  Highest Authorities in Vatican Back Denial of Communion to Pro-Abortion Politicians
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2004/jul/04070501.html