Vatican Advisor: Deny Gov. Cuomo Communion

Says By Living With Girlfriend Sandra Lee He's Not Eligible

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — According to church canon, is New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo eligible to receive communion?

Dr. Edward Peters, American lay canon lawyer and advisor for the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court, says no.

In an email interview with Monday,  Dr. Peters argued the Roman Catholic governor should refrain from receiving communion, and he should be denied the sacrament, given that he lives with his girlfriend, Food Network hostess Sandra Lee.

RELATED: Sandra Lee’s Tips On Cooking, Cocktails & Convenience

Dr. Peters cites canon 915 from the Church’s Code of Canon Law, which says people “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion,” and contends that Cuomo’s living with Lee, despite not being married, meets the requirements of this law.

Should Cuomo be denied communion? Is he living in sin? Leave a comment below

“The governor, with complete freedom, is publicly acting in violation of a fundamental moral expectation of the Church. On these facts alone, his taking holy communion is objectively sacrilegious and produces grave scandal within the faith community,” Dr. Peters wrote.

The governor refused to address the issue Wednesday, reports CBS 2’s Don Dahler. During an appearance regarding the budget proposal at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, Cuomo said, “I choose to keep my religion and my religious practices private, and not discuss it in the political arena.”

Aside from cohabitation with his girlfriend, Dr. Peters argued that another of Cuomo’s actions should disqualify him from eligibility: support of abortion.

“Does Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s public policy of supporting abortion and passage of the Reproductive Rights Act constitute — in the objective order – ‘persevering in manifest grave sin’ and should Cuomo therefore not ‘not be admitted to holy communion’?” asked Dr. Peters.

“I would want experts on New York law and politics to verify a few facts here, but based on what is widely reported about the governor’s consistent support for abortionism in New York, I see no other way to interpret his abortion-related conduct except as sufficient to warrant withholding of holy communion from him under Canon 915,” Dr. Peters said.

The diocese in Albany, where Cuomo recently received communion, released the following statement:  “There are norms of the church governing the sacraments which Catholics are expected to observe. However, it is unfair and imprudent to make a pastoral judgment about a particular situation without knowing all the facts. As a matter of pastoral practice we would not comment publicly on anything which should be addressed privately, regardless if the person is a public figure or a private citizen.”

Many of the faithful at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Wednesday said it was a non-issue.

“I think he should be allowed to take communion, absolutely,” Mary Jean O’Brien of the Upper West Side told CBS 2’s Dahler.

“I just think the Catholic Church needs a lot of changes. A little of our beliefs are outdated and I just think we have to move with the times,” another woman said.

The website which posted the comments has also been critical of abortion rights and same-sex marriage. The professor might have found the message of Wednesday’s mass ironic.

“And so Jesus was easily ready to embrace the people that the scribes and the pharisees condemned,” Reverend Msgr. Robert Richie said.

What do you think? Tell us your opinion in the comments section below.

  • robe

    This is the first time I comment on your site, but I’ve been reading your posts for a while now. I admire the passion with which you write the articles and dream that someday I can do the same. Love

  • Eric Berg

    1. Cuomo isn’t doing anything wrong by living with his girlfriend. They’re consenting adults and their relationship is their own business.

    2. If the Catholic Church is going to put direct pressure on politicians, it is engaging in lobbying and should lose its tax exempt status.

  • Greg Portman

    Love the debate over this one. I personally think our governor has more to worry about to fix this state than a controversy over Communion. Here is another take on it that is interesting.

  • Mary Grow

    He is Catholic in name only. Why doesn’t he join another church if he can’t follow the rules of the RC Church. There are lots of churches to choose from. The RC Church will never change despite public opinion.

  • Rodin

    Oh, one more thing. I think they’re a beautiful couple, much cuter than Timothy Dolan and Bill Donohue.

  • Rodin

    I’m old. Time for my nap. Time to quit this thread. It’s been fun on my day off (which is just like every day I’m not off). See yah when I see yah, next time there’s a fun subject. Don’t hold your breath. Mostly, these bore me.


  • ratso

    Keep the communion….his girlfriend is way hotter..!!

    • Rodin

      A bland wafer vs. a tasty fish? NO CONTEST!

    • bman

      But if you are Catholic and believe that it is GOD well the choice would make more sense. If he is going to receive a Catholic sacrament he is expected to follow the law that is binding to Catholics. If he doesn’t share the beliefs of the church he should stop claiming to be catholic and stop desecrating something that means so much to Catholics. The beliefs will not and cannot change.

  • Mr HOP

    Well … at least it wasn’t an altar boy

    • Mr HOP

      Would you pick Communion over that blonde?

  • fern

    Thanks to all of you I always enjoy an intellectual exchange on the existence of God.

    • Rodin

      I’m back from lunch.

      An “intellectual exchange on the existence of god”? Like having an than “intellectual exchange on the existence of ” the cabage. Sorry, the Cabbage is reality. Thuso, it can be subject to intellectual rational analysis and debate.

      I quote Penn Jillette, “I believe there is no god.”


      • fern

        The thinker one of Rodin’s masterpieces, have you ever heard of the double negative?
        In other words by finding anything intellectual in this forum you prove the existence of God. Besides that I talk to God and invoke his name, usually after ma second fifth of Jack Daniels or when calling Ralph.

  • Rodin

    Taking a break. I need a beer and a shot. Back later.


  • Michael

    I know you can’t prove there is no God, but I am completely baffled by people, especially highly intelligent and educated people, who subscribe to religions/churches, mainly those based on the Old Testament, alone, or plus the New Testament or the Quran, claiming to live by rules dictated by their, all-powerful and all-knowing, God (even though some of His rules are contradictory), yet have continually “modified” those rules to suit their current convenience. They explain/excuse this by saying that the, lesser, intelligence He endowed them with has now revealed to them that He didn’t really mean, or couldn’t really have meant, what people previously thought He did.
    Why do “believers”, Muslims even more than Jews and Christians, say that everything that happens or has happened is governed by this all-powerful God but that He still needs their puny help to ensure the performance of His will, such as by blowing-up the Twin Towers or gunning down people who work in abortion clinics or pray in a mosque?
    Why do we have inter/national Constitutions/Conventions giving special protection to the advocacy of and indoctrination (It is literally that for children) into beliefs which give rise to such murderous actions?

  • Pete Kent

    Cuomo’s celebration of sin, especially his support for the slaughter of innocent life particularly among America’s racial minorities, makes him inelligible to receive the sacraments and he should refrain from their receipt.

    petekent01 (on twitter)

    • Bryant S

      Well put! By receiving the Eucharist, while publicly living with his girl-friend and also openly supporting abortion, flaunts natural law, the Commandments, and Church Law. It is NOT a “private” matter, because Cuomo is a public figure. Every time he presents himself for the Sacrament he commits a grave sin and gives public scandal. When bishops who should know better temporize on this issue, they JOIN in giving scandal. Where is their regard for the souls of their flock? Or for their own?

      • Rodin

        “Where is their regard for the souls of their flock? Or for their own?” … when they cuddle and protect and hide the perpetrators and the atrocities to which they subject the born, innocent and young “souls of their flock?”

    • Rodin

      Good morning, one and all.

      I’m back after a wonderfully restful sleep in the assurance that, if I died in my sleep, I’d be cremated, my ashes scattered, and I would live eternally in the soil and wind and leaves of grass and in the birds that eat the seed and in the water that flows when it rains and in the rivers and streams and deep in the earth.

      But I digress.

      Mr. Kent, Cabbages are innocent too, in-so-far as they have no capacity to sin. I suggest we start a pro-cabbage movement to protect them from harvesting.


  • Thomas

    But the priest, still go after the young boys, that excepted for them, and covered up .

  • MaryO

    Look, the Roman Catholic Church has rules, like most private clubs. If you don’t want to play by the rules, leave. It’s that easy. I left because I didn’t believe some of the things the Roman Catholic Church says are necessary for salvation–but didn’t get formalized until the 19th century.

  • JD

    No other religion changes it’s sacred tradition, the Catholic church should not keep changing their canon in order to please everyone. Gov. Coumo should not be receiving Holy Communion.

  • fern

    As I talked with God this morning he let me know of the problems facing the Roman Catholic Church, the only true faith. These problems all come from Hell he told me, Hell is overcrowded, they have the best lawyers, politicians and financiers, with oil crisis looming temperatures there have been lowered to a comfortable 70°. Due to a few bad investments God had to sell substantial parts of heaven to Lucifer, even the saints are grumbling and talk about Tunisia and Egypt.

  • the unifarmer

    Ah yes, religion and politics. They mix so well together, don’t they?

    I love reading threads like this … the anti-religion vs. pro-religion duking it out. Great stuff.

    Besides, I’m pretty sure I read somewhere online that God is a sock. You can Google that – there’s a good photo as well.

    • Rodin

      Thanks for the heads-up! I already downloaded it and will be adding it to the freedom from religion quotes page on my website as soon as I finish playing these minds.

      You can view it and related pages by googling “The Anasagasti List for Caninist instruction”. I don’t know that they allow URL’s here.

  • Ryan

    or the Vatican could deny the prosecution of many pedophile priests who should be rotting in prison for the rest of their “holy” days…..OH WAIT I FORGOT….the church is like any other organization that looks after it’s own. there is nothing special about religion only that it divides humanity, causes conflicts, places judgment on EVERYONE and in the case of Catholicism, HARBORS CHILD MOLESTERS! yeah Jesus! helluva church you started…maybe old men priests should be able to behave healthy and procreate like the rest of us instead of covering up crimes against our youth

  • Rodin

    Can’t say this has been much of an intellectual challenge but it’s been fun. It’s past midnight. Time to go to bed. I sleep with a clear conscience and the knowledge that I’ve been good without gods.

    I believe in Dogs.


    • bilgistic

      dogs are cool. they’re smarter than people, you know. dean koontz wrote a great book about that.

      • Rodin

        “So many get reformed through religion. I got reformed through Dogs.” – LINA BASQUETTE
        American Zigfiled Follies dancer, silent screen actress;
        Great Dane breeder, pro handler, and AKC Judge


      • Rodin

        “The more I see of men, the more I admire Dogs.” – JEANNE-MARIE ROLAND, French revolutionary

        “The average Dog is a nicer person than the average person.” – ANDY ROONEY

  • William

    I always support the Roman Catholic Church 100%. May the Church, the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ present on Earth, determine this religious matter.

    • fern

      Me too, where else can I fondle little boys and get away with it.

  • Hanan

    The Vatican is a glass house with little credibility beyond dogma. Wasn’t the current Pope involved with the Nazis when he was young? Weren’t the Nazis involved in mass slaughter of people? Go figure. Fornication might be one thing; killing people and turning a blind eye to the molestation of children is entirely different from an institutional perspective. Again, I repeat: its a glass house.

    • fern

      He was a member of the Hitler youth but you have to realize that by not sending your kids into this outfit you attracted attention and a good chance for a ticket to Dachau concentration camp.
      The Hitler youth was like the boy scouts and it is only toward the end of the war (1943?) that they were sent to battle.

      • Rodin

        For a GREAT photo of the young seminarian Ratzinger google “Benedict Hitler salute” in Google Images.

    • William

      Benedict XVI, as a young Josef Ratzinger, was forced in the Hitler youth against his will as a citizen living in Germany during the administration of Adolf Hitler. Ratzinger did not wish to be a member, and never attended any Hitler youth meetings. Benedict XVI was not involved in any of the slaughter of the Second World War, and came from a strong Catholic family; his father, a police officer, was strongly adamant against the Nazi ideology and party.

  • Doug

    “Oh, my God! I can’t take communion. Does that mean I’m going to die?”

    “Yes, my son, and so will I.”

  • cygon

    they can take all the communion they want and the priests do not have time to fight over this in front of everyone. But they must know that they are committing the sin of sacrilege on top of whatever it is that they have committed before. Anyways, it is a sin that most catholics commit every sunday. they may think it does not matter, until they meet Jesus Christ, whose body they profane everytime they do this. IF you cannot follow the teachings of the catholic church, you are not catholic and why the hell are you taking communion??? Communion means you agree with everything they teach. that goes for the sinful priests and cardinals as well.

    • thomas

      Nonsense, the story of the last supper and bread and wine was a story taken from the Mythra religion that predated Christianity. It was invented, like going to confession…show me in the bible where that is mentions as a sacrament!

  • angelina

    Why would he care The catholic church does not have a clue what christianity is about. They are fruads. They only know about raping young boys..

    • fern

      This is not true. They like little girls too.

    • Rodin

      “fruads”. Is that something like Druids?

  • thomas

    where were these zealots when the popes and cardinals had girlfriends and children? Where were these zealots when priests molested the children? What did these zealots do to help turn over pedafiles to the police…nowhere thats where. They are corrupt and just a bunch of old men dressing daily for halloween. Herny the 8th finally showed them who was boss.

    • Rodin

      ‘scuse me. Point of information: to be Pope you had to be a Cardinal. To be a Cardinal you DID NOT have to be a priest. Celibacy was not an issue. That came much later so the Church could keep its land holdings from clergy’s offspring.

      “As two of the very few working communities in Rome, artists and prostitutes had a lot in common, not least their common intimacy with men of the cloth.”

      ~ PETER ROBB
      Australian author and biographer

  • GoodCatholicGirlNOT

    But the Catholic Church is okay with priests molesting children. Maybe we should all pray before the raised coffin of Pope John Paul, huh? The Catholic Church/Vatican is criminal, a cult. Who cares what the Vatican says? They’re all going to hell.

  • M. B. Zurich

    Cardinal Egan told Rudy Giuliani & Ms.Rooty Tooty not to take holy Communion
    when the Pope was in town but Rudy di anyway for the photo-op.
    Cool,that’s what it is all about ,nasty power over people,
    The vatican could have saved many schools and hospitals from closing
    by selling some of their art in the vatican ,but no they like the decoration
    better than saving hospitals and paying out victims of their priests sexual
    Why is not anyone investigating how the RC church spent over 700
    million dollars of our money and still managed to bankrupt St.Vincents hospital?
    Now that would be news, The NY clergy got off easy on this scandal.

  • Rich Franz

    No one should be denied Communion. Jesus instituted The Eucharist for all to share in His love. Straight, gay married, divorced and sinners who partake of Communion form a bond with God . IT WAS MEANT FOR ALL

    • Donnie Most

      APPLAUSE :)

  • Travis Powell

    An antiquated religion so cruel as to say a new born baby is
    born with original sin and somale dominated has to ask itself
    seriously,why so many of us have left the church while the
    Vatican State stuffs it’s pockets with Gold.

  • Bernie

    There are some wise people engaged in this conversation. The others are mean, misinformed and hateful. The Catholic Church is here to stay, warts and all. It is an institution made up of human beings who sin, ask forgiveness and sanctified by God’s grace.

    • Rodin

      All religions die of one disease – that of being found out.” ~ JOHN MORLEY

    • SZSmith

      And who do they ask forgiveness from? A preist?!? Say 5 Hail Mary’s and 5 Our Father’s and you will be forgiven, right?

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