Vice President Joseph Biden blesses himself after receiving communion at the memorial Mass for Archbishop Pietro Sambi on 14 September 2011.
My reaction to pictures like these is sadness. It seems so abundantly clear that few of those in authority really care if our politicians who not only support abortion but are instrumental in funding and abetting it are eating and drinking condemnation upon themselves at the holy altar. The same thing is true for those political or public figures who receive Holy Communion despite adulterous relationships (even when those relationships involve civil marriage) and other grave problems which place the person in the position of being in manifest grave sin who ought to be barred from causing scandal by their reception of Holy Communion.
Alas, the comments at Deacon Kandra's site show an almost abysmal ignorance of the whole question of Canon 915, the notion of obstinate perseverance in manifest (public) grave sin, or even the idea that people who are themselves conscious of mortal sin must refrain from receiving Holy Communion so as not to commit the additional grave sin (mortal, under the right conditions) of sacrilege. This is also deeply sad, but not surprising. I, too, grew up in the era of the smile-button/felt-banner catechesis, and was led to believe on more than one occasion that short of deliberate homicide mortal sin was almost impossible to commit, and that even if one did do something rather wrong, one ought to decide for oneself if one felt "okay" about going to Communion--nobody could, or should, stop you or ever tell you that you really ought not do so without sacramental Confession first. It was enough to think about one's sinfulness and be sorry about it in a vague, general way.
Which is bad enough, of course. But in the case of someone like Mr. Biden, there's no evidence whatsoever that he's even remotely sorry for those actions and votes of his which have, over his career, helped to kill countless innocent unborn human beings. Mr. Biden quite likes abortion, by all evidence; he's certainly committed to its continuation and to the idea that taxpayers ought to pay for it and that women need, really need, the ability to rip their unborn offspring to shreds on the taxpayer's dime--in the name of freedom, of course. So the sight of him receiving the Body of Christ, Who innocently bore tortures not unlike those endured by our suffering brothers and sisters in the womb, is unsettling at least, and may be a scandal to many.
Beyond that, though, there is the harm potentially being done to Mr. Biden's own soul, as he takes Holy Communion without really being in communion with the Church on an important teaching of grave importance to our age. And thus, sadness is my reaction to the photo--sadness for Mr. Biden himself, and for those he may be leading astray by his thoughtlessness in this serious matter.
What do you, especially my Catholic readers, think of this picture?