Wuerl is considered less political than McCarrick, but he is hardly less averse to colliding with powerful laymen. He could have avoided any confrontation at Nationals Park by simply not inviting the pro-choice politicians to a mass where there was no room for the vast majority of Catholics who wanted to attend. The five pro-choice Catholics took Communion from the hand of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the pope's representative to the United States as apostolic delegate.
In New York, Giuliani receiving Communion was even more remarkable. Unlike Pelosi and Kennedy, who are regular Mass attendees, the former mayor of New York says he goes to church only "occasionally," usually for holidays or funerals. Abortion aside, Giuliani's third marriage would make him ineligible for Communion because his second marriage was not annulled by the church. But in New York, Cardinal Egan is no more apt than Cardinal McCarrick was to offend the powerful, and Giuliani was invited to the Mass.
There are devout pro-life Catholics who oppose rejection of any worshiper at the Communion rail, but they believe bishops should publicly manifest disapproval of Catholic politicians who support abortion rights. The bishops of Washington and New York do not. During Wuerl's installation mass as archbishop of Washington in 2006, he shook hands with Kerry and Kennedy, seated side by side.
At Yankee Stadium, Benedict spoke of the "inalienable dignity and rights" of "the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother's womb." In parishes across the country, the faithful hear their priests echo the Holy Father's words. Those professions ring hollow when pro-choice politicians are honored as they were during the pope's visit.