Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, D.C., was named to head this new task force, created by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops April 23, the same day the Vaticanâs Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments issued a new document on the norms for the celebration of the Eucharist..- The cardinal in charge of a new task force, which will decide if Catholic politicians who advocate positions counter to Church teaching should receive the Eucharist, said he is not comfortable in denying the sacrament.
Francis Cardinal Arinze, prefect of the congregation, told reporters that day that bishops in each country are to decide who is eligible to receive Communion, according to the norms.
A debate in the U.S. Church about whether pro-abortion Senator John Kerry should receive Communion has been followed closely in the media.
"I have not gotten to the stage where I'm comfortable in denying the Eucharist," Cardinal McCarrick was quoted as saying yesterday.
He told the Associated Press that Catholic politicians who advocate policies contrary to Church teaching on abortion and other issues might risk lesser sanctions instead.
The possible "penalties" the cardinal mentioned include: no honorary degrees from Catholic universities, no honors from dioceses, and no invitations from Catholic institutions to speak publicly.