On his radio show Jan. 29, Dolan said that sacramental disciplinary measures against the governor "would be completely counterproductive, right?"
"Especially if you have a governor who enjoys this and wants to represent himself as a kind of martyr to the cause, doing what is right. He is proud to dissent from the essentials of the faith. He's proud with these positions."
"For me to punish him for it? He would just say, 'Look at the suffering this prophet has to undergo,' the cardinal added.
Dolan said Oct. 31 that he frequently sees public figures at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, and that he "admires" them when they do not approach the Eucharist out of their own awareness of their sin and separation from the Church.
"They seem to know - 'I shouldn't do that. That could be hypocritical at this moment,'" Dolan said.
"On the other hand, we also remember Pope Francis. We...I personally can never judge the state of a person's soul. So it's difficult, that's what I'm saying. I'm not up there as a tribunal, as a judge, distributing Holy Communion, I'm there as a pastor, as a doctor of souls," Dolan said.
"So it's difficult to make a judgment on the state of a person's soul. My job is to help people make, with clear Church teaching, make a decision on the state of their soul and the repercussions of that."
When asked if priests could refusing other people communion because of their sins, Dolan said that communion is intended for sinners.
"If only saints could receive Holy Communion, we wouldn't have anybody at Mass, including myself, alright?" Dolan said.
"So sinners are who Holy Communion is for, it's medicine for the soul, it's an act of mercy, so it's intended for sinners...but sinners who want to, who are sorry and want to repent. Then anybody's welcome, come on up," he added.
Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law states that "Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion."
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Edward Peters, who teaches canon law at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit wrote in The Hill this week that "however the decision to withhold holy communion from Biden made headlines, it was unquestionably the pastor's decision to make and he made it, in my view, correctly."
"While there are relatively few examples of pastors withholding holy communion from Catholic politicians who support abortion, the refusal that Biden experienced should not have come as a surprise. He had been warned about approaching for holy communion in 2008 by Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, who told Biden that, because of his support for abortion, he would be refused holy communion if he approached that prelate, and by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput (then of Denver, now of Philadelphia), who implied likewise," Peters wrote.
While not addressing Dolan's remarks Peters addressed a point Dolan made during his interview, which Peters called the "reddest herring" in defense of Biden.
Specifically, he criticized the argument "which implies that withholding holy communion requires a minister to peer into the soul of a would-be recipient and judge it unworthy. Nonsense. To confuse the private examination of one's conscience as envisioned by Canon 916 with the recognition that some public acts warrant public consequences under Canon 915 is to show either ignorance of or indifference to well-established Catholic pastoral and sacramental practice."
In a memorandum to the U.S. Catholic bishops in 2004, explaining the application of Canon Law 915, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said "the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin."
The case of a "Catholic politician" who is "consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" would constitute "formal cooperation" in grave sin that is "manifest," the letter added.