Catholic-bashing was in vogue on ABC’s The View on Thursday. St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke’s announcement that he would not offer communion to GOP presidential contender Rudy Giuliani – an ardent supporter of abortion embarking on his third marriage – upset Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg."It seems that the Catholic God always says judge,lest ye be judged," complained Goldberg, who also complained the church should punish proponents of the death penalty and the Iraq war. Even Elisabeth Hasselbeck denounced Archbishop Burke as a publicity hound.
The View crew doesn’t seem to think anyone should be refused communion – even if by rejecting Catholic teachings, politicians like Giuliani and John Kerry are clearly not communing with the faith of their youth. MRC's Justin McCarthy provided the transcript.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back. I don't know if you guys are aware of this, but, you know, often times when our politicians are running, you know, the Church gets a little aggravated with that because there’s quite a few of them have different pasts and sometimes the Church wants them to be more perfect.
JOY BEHAR: When you say "the Church" which church are you talking about?
GOLDBERG: Well, it’s, it’s all churches seem to have all kinds of problems with all kinds of candidates. But this particular problem comes when Archbishop Raymond Burke says no communication --
BEHAR: No communion, communion.
GOLDBERG: No communion for Giuliani.
BEHAR: Holy communion on Sunday.
GOLDBERG: Yes, holy communion, you know what holy communion is. For the Catholic Church, you go in on Sunday, you've confessed everything on Friday or Saturday, you're clear, they give you the host, they say you're cool.
BEHAR: Then you get drunk and go out and have fun.
That may have been the Catholic tradition in Behar’s neighborhood, but not in most. Traditional churches teach that any serious sins should be confessed before coming forward to receive communion, but that certainly does not mean that Catholics in general attend weekly confession, as Goldberg implies.
GOLDBERG: Yeah, you’re done. But because of Rudy's stance on abortion, he says he can not give him communion and he is persisting in a very serious sin. When asked if the Archbishop would deny those pro-death penalty, pre-emptive war, he says it's a little more complicated in that case.
BEHAR: Because they're adults and they've committed some crimes, they feel that, that's a legitimate reason to kill someone.
While Pope John Paul II was a prominent public opponent in many death penalty cases, the church does not define opposition to death penalty as a requirement for all Catholics, unlike opposition to abortion.
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: I always had an issue with priests denying communion. I remember someone in my family went through a divorce. Unless she got her marriage annulled, she wasn't allowed to receive communion. Her ex-husband wouldn't give her an annulment. He wouldn’t show up for the annulment. So, then she was shamed, in other words, for not being --
BEHAR: Excommunicated, yeah.
HASSELBECK: -pretty much not able to walk down and receive what is to be the most intimate, you know, part of the week with God and taking Jesus into your body.
BEHAR: What about Giuliani? He's been divorced three times at least.
SHERRI SHEPHERD: Has he had communion prior to this? Have they been giving him– is this an everyday thing?
GOLDBERG: I assume in other churches he wasn't having an issue or we would have heard about it.
BEHAR: Well, they don't exactly interview you when you’re at the rail. The priest doesn't say how many times have you been divorced? They don’t do that.
GOLDBERG: But if the archbishop is making that much noise, I assume that this is not the kind of story that would disappear. We would have heard something because it happened with John Kerry, didn't it?
BEHAR: Well, you know, just, just speak to the annulment problem. I remember when the Beatles were around, that you could, that you could buy an annulment. People used to buy annulments.
BEHAR: You know, the Kennedys and people like that could buy annulments, so it meant really nothing.
HASSELBECK: Our family didn't come from a lot of cash, so they weren’t buying an annulment.
BEHAR: Well, that's my point. So, I mean, it's not exactly the most moral position.
I can believe that some people face ex-spouses who refuse to follow the annulment procedures to deny the sacraments to their bitter marital enemy, and that can be a very frustrating predicament. But even the Kennedys have had problems with annulments: when Rep. Joseph Kennedy Jr was granted an annulment from his wife Sheila Rauch Kennedy, she made a major stink, writing a book called Shattered Faith that denounced the Church for granting the annulment. The Vatican reversed that decision this summer, so even though Kennedy re-married, he is now once again seen as married to Rauch within the church. Back to the lip-flapping:
GOLDBERG: It's very strange that when, when the Catholic God, you know, because there are so many different gods. I'll refer to the Catholic God at the moment. It seems that the Catholic God always says judge lest ye be judged. And always says if I-
BEHAR: They always say that.
GOLDBERG: If you come to me, I'm the only one who can forgive you. It doesn’t matter what everyone else says. And yet a priest, the mouthpiece to God, would say you can't --
BEHAR: There are amendments. Unless you do this. Unless you do that. (hand gesturing)
SHEPHERD: The priest has absolute say, because I don't know about Catholicism –
BEHAR: No the Pope does.
SHEPHERD: The Pope, okay.
HASSELBECK: No, the Pope does. The bishops are an extension of his, his abilities to say yeah or nay to certain things. There are a lot of rules in the Catholic, you know, Church.
SHEPHERD: So if he says I don't believe in abortion anymore, then he can take communion?
BEHAR: Well, the thing about is that Rudy Giuliani hasn't necessarily had an abortion himself. His wi- you know what I mean? His wife hasn't had one. I don't know if she has or not. He's not saying I'm going to get it or you should get it or you shouldn't get it. He's saying people should have the right to choose whether they want this or not. And that's his position is. The Church doesn't have that position. [Applause]
SHEPHERD: But did they deny him for leaving his wife or cheating on his wife and marrying another woman?
BEHAR: No, no, no.
SHEPHERD: Why don't they deny him for that? Is that not a sin any more to leave your wife? Excuse my anger, but is that not a, not a --
BEHAR: It is a sin. But he wasn't running for president at the time, so there wasn't an issue.
Adultery is certainly a serious sin that could cause the refusal of communion, but most adultery practitioners aren't revealed in the newspapers, unlike the public positions of presidential contenders.
HASSELBECK: I seems this archbishop needs a little pub. You know what I mean? He wanted a little publicity. He thought slamming Giuliani would get him into the limelight.
BEHAR: You think that’s it?
HASSELBECK: Yeah, they’re all about it.
BEHAR: What about the vows of modesty? Don't they take that also?
HASSELBECK: Some don’t. You should see the jewelry they wear. They’re, you know.
SHEPHERD: Blinging! Bling, bling!
GOLDBERG: I just find it very interesting that, that, you know, it's like closing churches. I don't understand people who close churches because there’s so many, you know, folks that go to church. You know, it’s really a big deal for a lot of people. How can you live at the Vatican and say we have to close these churches because there's not enough money when we could, like, sell some stuff?
BEHAR: Well, the Catholic Church is, is in debt now for paying off a lot of the pedophile cases and they have to close all these churches.
GOLDBERG: There's a lot of stuff they could be selling.
HASSELBECK: And they were handing out communion to all those men who were molesting all the boys out there and they didn’t have a problem giving them communion.
BEHAR: We were all raised Catholic here, so this is not some anti-Catholic rant that we're on. This is just factual information.
GOLDBERG: No, I’m a little bit on a rant. No you’re right.
BEHAR: You can rant. But I was raised -- I had communion every Sunday. I received my communion, my confirmation, all nine yards. My daughter’s been baptized, just in case, you know?
GOLDBERG: You are so funny.
BEHAR: And so this is just- these are facts about the Church right now that people have to either live with or reject.
HASSELBECK: That's one area. That's the Catholic Church. There are many other divisions of Christianity.
SHEPHERD: If you’re a Christian, you can do communion if you sin.
GOLDBERG: Not in the Catholic Church.
Again, Goldberg is completely misconstruing Catholic teaching. You can certainly come to communion with your minor everyday sins, and receiving the Eucharist helps clear away those sins. But you should not come forward with serious sins like enabling abortions, especially if you have no intention of repenting and changing your position.