Kerry receives Communion despite cardinal’s warning

DEMOCRATIC presidential candidate John Kerry received communion from a priest on Saturday, one day after a senior cardinal said politicians who support abortion rights should be denied the Eucharist.

Mr Kerry took Communion during the 6pm Mass at Boston’s Paulist Center. Spokesman David Wade said the pro-choice senator regularly worships there.

“We're following the directive of our archdiocese,” said Fr Joe Ciccone, who gave Mr Kerry the Eucharist. “They have said we should give him Communion.”

The Paulist Center attracts Catholics uncomfortable with some of the Vatican’s orthodox teachings.

The congregation includes gay couples, whose adopted children are baptized there, unlike in some other Boston parishes. In November, its leaders refused to read out a letter opposing gay marriage, as requested by the Massachusetts hierarchy.

The congregation is not geographical, but ideological, drawing people from as far as away as New Hampshire, said Drew Deskur, the centre's music director and a parishioner for 25 years.

“It’s not St Around-the-Corner,” Mr Deskur said. “It's an intentional community that draws people from all over Boston. It tries to make sure that everyone feels welcome and that everyone participates in the liturgy.”

The Archdiocese of Boston “does not hold to the practice of publicly refusing Communion to anyone,” said archdiocese spokesman Rev Christopher Coyne.

Last week Cardinal Francis Arinze warned that pro-Abortion politicians should not by allowed to receive the sacrament.

In the days before Mr Kerry attended Easter Mass, staff at the Paulist Center received threatening phone calls and e-mails from Catholics who thought the senator should be denied Communion.

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