New York Cardinal Edward Egan says that former city mayor and presidential candidate Rudolph Giulani should not have received communion during a mass with Pope Benedict because of his open support for abortion rights.
The International Herald Tribune quotes Cardinal Egan as saying he had "an understanding" with Giuliani that he is not to receive the Eucharist.
He said Giuliani broke that understanding when he received the Eucharist during Pope Benedict's visit earlier this month. He received Communion during the April 19 service from one of the many clergymen who offered the sacrament.
Egan says he will be seeking a meeting with Giuliani "to insist that he abide by our understanding."
Giuliani's spokeswoman, Sunny Mindel, said he is willing to meet with the cardinal but added that his faith "is a deeply personal matter and should remain confidential."
Egan's statement does not address the fact that Giuliani is on his third marriage. Catholics who divorce and remarry without getting an annulment from the church cannot receive Communion.
A spokesman for Egan said the cardinal referred to the abortion issue rather than to Giuliani's marital history because the agreement that Giuliani would not receive Communion pre-dated his divorce from his second wife, Donna Hanover.
Giuliani's first marriage was annulled based on the fact that he and his wife were second cousins once removed.
Communion and abortion rights became a storyline in 2004, when Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, a Catholic, came under scrutiny for supporting abortion rights in conflict with Church teaching, the Herald Tribune says.
NY cardinal criticizes Giuliani for taking Communion (International Herald Tribune, 29/4/08)