By John-Henry Westen

  NEW YORK, April 28, 2008 ( – The decision by several prominent pro-abortion politicians to publicly receive Holy Communion at papal Masses during the recent visit of Pope Benedict XVI, despite clear Church teaching that says that their reception of Communion would constitute a grave sacrilege, may have backfired.  While at first it seemed like it would be business as usual, today Cardinal Edward Egan of New York issued a statement condemning the reception of Holy Communion by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

  The Archdiocese informed that the issue is being brought forward publicly at this time “because it has become a public issue and a public question.”

“The Catholic Church clearly teaches that abortion is a grave offense against the will of God,” said Egan.  “Throughout my years as Archbishop of New York, I have repeated this teaching in sermons, articles, addresses, and interviews without hesitation or compromise of any kind.”

  He continued, “Thus it was that I had an understanding with Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, when I became Archbishop of New York and he was serving as Mayor of New York, that he was not to receive the Eucharist because of his well-known support of abortion.”

“I deeply regret that Mr. Giuliani received the Eucharist during the Papal visit here in New York,” said Egan, “and I will be seeking a meeting with him to insist that he abide by our understanding.”

  Responding to the matter in the press, Giuliani said that his faith “is a deeply personal matter and should remain confidential.”

  Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, responded, “The Catholic faith is not simply about one’s private and confidential relationship with God. It’s public, as evidenced by the fact that Mr. Giuliani received Communion in public. Mr. Giuliani’s support of legal abortion is also public. That’s why Cardinal Egan’s remarks are entirely appropriate, as is his expectation that Mr. Giuliani abide by those remarks.”

  The Pope, just prior to his elevation to the pontificate, issued a document to the US Bishops which outlined that in keeping with Church teaching, pro-abortion politicians who present themselves for communion even after being warned not to “must” be denied communion. asked Joseph Zwilling, Director Office of Communications at the Archdiocese of New York, if there had been any communication on the matter between the Pope or Vatican and the Archdiocese.  Zwilling replied, “No.”