Wednesday, March 9, 2011



"According to St. Thomas (II-II, Q. liii, a. 1) scandal is a word or action evil in itself, which occasions another's spiritual ruin. It is a word or action, that is either an external act—for an internal act can have no influence on the conduct of another—or the omission of an external act, because to omit what one should do is equivalent to doing what is forbidden; it must be evil in itself, or in appearance; this is the interpretation of the words of St. Thomas: minus rectum. It is not the physical cause of a neighbor's sin, but only the moral cause, or occasion; further, this moral causality may be understood in a strict sense, as when one orders, requests, or advises another to commit the sin (this is strictly inductive scandal, which some call co-operation in a broad sense), or in a large sense, as when a person without being directly concerned in the sin nevertheless exercises a certain influence on the sin of his neighbor, e.g. by committing such a sin in his presence (this is inductive scandal in a broad sense)."
Catholic Encyclopedia

When reading about Gov Cuomo and the Archbishop this morning scandal is the first thing that came to my mind. Why? Simply because, and this is purely a guess on my part, the Gov., being a politician, is hoping to cut a deal with the Archbishop regarding his current fallout with the Church over the issue of communion and his lifestyle and the Archbishop, by agreeing to meet and discuss state support of Catholic education gives the impression that he he would be open to an accommodation.

Honestly, I don't know what the two men talked about. Maybe Dolan read him the riot act and stated unequivocally that the Church would have nothing more to do with Cuomo until he repented and confessed. If so I applaud the actions of the Archbishop. Unfortunately, based on the articles below, my guess is that this isn't the case.

"Dr. Edward Peters, a consultant to the Vatican’s highest court of canon law, told CNS News that Cuomo committed an “objectively sacrilegious” act that “produces grave scandal” when he received communion on New Year’s Day. Cuomo, a Democrat, is pro-choice and supports gay marriage, two positions the church vocally opposes. Of serious concern to Peters, however, is that Cuomo, who divorced Robert Kennedy’s daughter Kerry eight years ago, is currently living with Food Network host Sandra Lee...

...Peters says that Cuomo should be denied Communion under a rule known as Canon 915 from the church’s Code of Canon Law. According to the code, persons “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.” He also criticized the pastor who celebrated the mass, Bishop Howard Hubbard, for not challenging “the governor to begin his reform of the state with a reform of his person.”"
Daily Caller

"New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan emerged from a private lunch with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday with quips, quick reflexes to avoid tough political questions and a pledge from the governor to take a new look at the role of Catholic schools.

Dolan wouldn't discuss with reporters any private discussions he may have had about the recent ruckus sparked by a Detroit-based lawyer for the Vatican's high court. Conservative blogger Edward Peters criticized the governor, who is Catholic, divorced and supports abortion rights, for living with his girlfriend, food TV star Sandra Lee, and for taking Communion.

"That's the kind of delicate pastoral issue that this is probably not the best forum to speak about," Dolan told reporters afterward. "Do we dodge those issues? No, we don't. But there is a time and place for everything.""
The Republic

So how is this scandalous? To the average person it will appear that the moral depravity of the Governor is something that can be excused by the Church for a price. If the whole issue of refusal of communion unless the Governor repents is quietly dropped while the state somehow, again quietly, begins to support Catholic schools with tax dollars, it will be obvious to all that the leaders of the Catholic Church don't really believe the words they teach. And if they don't believe them why should anyone else?

Look, it was bad enough when the Vatican was selling redemption in the 16th century to fund the building of churches. But at least they expected people to use their own money. In this case, if the governor cuts his deal, it will appear that Cuomo is being allowed to purchase his salvation with the money of others, a double whammy of ugliness!

So, a word of advice to the Archbishop from out here in the cheap seats. Before you make a deal with the devil and let the state get its claws into our education system, address the personal problems of the Governor. You must separate the two issues because to leave it as it seems is to cause scandal and to potentially lead others into sin. And I'm almost positive that this is not part of your job description.


  1. Why are Catholic Schools receiving support from Caesar?

    Whatever happened to "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God"?

    Until we divorce ourselves from Caesar's money, we have no moral leg to stand upon.

  2. Sorry it took me so long to publish this. I've actually had some work this week and I'm finding that age is taking its toll. I get home at night and just collapse. I haven't been paying much attention to the blog.

  3. I'd be interested in seeing a more recent version of this given Archbishop Dolan's weak response to Gov. Cuomo's active role in making gay marriage legal

  4. The fact that there wasn't an immediate response from Dolan to such an egregious offense by Cuomo pretty much says it all to me. But, perhaps something is in the works. The following article gives us something to watch and see if anything happens: