The Cuomo Effect: Living ‘Above the Laws of the Church’

By Judie Brown | January 12, 2015 | 10:51am EST

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his mother Matilda Cuomo follow a casket containing the body of Mario Cuomo as it is carried from the church during his funeral in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Defending Christ in the Eucharist is something that no clergy should be afraid to do. When we receive His most precious body and blood, we must do so reverently and free from mortal sin. This includes all Catholics and anyone who calls himself a Catholic. To receive Our Lord in any other way is sacrilege.

Former New York governor Mario Cuomo was laid to rest Tuesday in a private service following a burial Mass at the Jesuit run St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Church in Manhattan. The selection of the church is particularly noteworthy, for as one reporter delicately put it, "The [Jesuit] order . . . has a certain degree of independence from the local diocese, which is convenient if the deceased had a reputation that might have created difficulties for the archbishop, in this case Cardinal Timothy Dolan."

What might these difficulties be? To begin, Governor Cuomo was pro-abortion. Because of his public support for abortion, he was among those who should have been denied the sacrament of Holy Communion by his bishop. When asked about this several years ago, the governor replied that in the case of obedience to canon law, it was "more of an issue for the theologians than for the politicians." In other words, Cuomo, a Catholic pro-abortion politician, apparently considered himself above the laws of the Church.

Let us not forget that Mario Cuomo carved out his carefully crafted position on abortion in the public square years ago during a well-known speech at the University of Notre Dame in 1984. At that time, Cuomo stated: "Abortion has a unique significance but not a preemptive significance."

After listing other concerns that he felt carried equal gravity, including praising the Bernardin "seamless garment" as an example for all Catholics in public life, Cuomo continued, "We cannot justify our aspiration to goodness simply on the basis of the vigor of our demand for an elusive and questionable civil law declaring what we already know, that abortion is wrong. Approval or rejection of legal restrictions on abortion should not be the exclusive litmus test of Catholic loyalty."

In reality, Cuomo was saying exactly what the devil would say. He set a tone that, to this day, is quite familiar, not to mention disturbing. Cuomo, his son Andrew, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and others represent Catholic politicians who do not see the act of abortion as being always and in every case wrong. Instead, such individuals see abortion as part of an overarching political agenda that includes countless other "issues" that are said to be of equal importance. This is precisely how the pro-abortion Catholic excuses himself from being complicit in an act that takes the life of an innocent person every single time it is carried out.

So where are the bishops? Why didn't his bishop confront Cuomo? My guess is politics trumped Catholic law once again. This is probably why Cardinal Dolan attended the wake for the governor.

Yet, this is exactly why Catholic priests and bishops like Cardinal Dolan and others should be compassionately but firmly teaching truth, obeying canon law, and doing all they can to save souls and eradicate the confusing messages being sent by pro-abortion Catholics in public life.

As Cardinal Raymond Burke wrote, referring to the writings of Saint Francis of Assisi, "With regard to the reception of Holy Communion, Saint Francis underlined two solemn moral obligations of the minister of Holy Communion: first, the obligation to be personally disposed to receive the body and blood of Christ worthily, and, second, the obligation to give Holy Communion with discretion, that is, with attention to those who, in a public way, have made themselves unworthy to receive the sacrament."

So where does that leave us today? Why are so many priests and bishops failing to defend Christ in the Eucharist? And how can we effectively bring about a change in this tragic situation? To do this we should begin with these simple steps:

1. Pray for the repose of the soul of Governor Mario Cuomo.

2. Demand—in letters, conversations, and personal visits—that ordained Catholic priests and deacons, including the hierarchy, defend Christ from sacrilege and valiantly take the actions needed to do so regardless of polls, media, or politics. Souls are at stake!

3. Ask your pastor and your bishop to preach frequently about the evils of abortion, contraception, and their progeny.

4. Become involved in the struggle to defend Catholic truth in your own community. If you cannot find an active group, we can help you start one.

Now is the time for faithful Catholics to step forward and be the light needed to expose the evil in our midst. The treachery that defies the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist—and consequently results in more preborn babies dying—must stop. Join with us today; boldly decry the wickedness perpetrated by politically correct members of the hierarchy and by "Catholic" politicians who proclaim Christ to get votes and then betray Him with their actions.

Defend the truth and never back down.

American Life League was co-founded in 1979 by Judie Brown, a three-time appointee to the Pontifical Academy for Life. ALL is the oldest national Catholic pro-life education and advocacy organization in the United States. For more information, please visit or call 540-659-4171.

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