Boy am I out-of-it. Did you know that they made a movie about Dr. King’s speech? Apparently, it is really good, won an Oscar, and stars someone named Colin Firth, who I don’t think is even black.
But I am not completely out of it. I do know that last week Whoopi Goldberg opined on the subject of Governor Cuomo of New York receiving Holy Communion.
But look. This is a golden opportunity for a metaphysical analysis of a moral choice.
For obvious reasons, I will approach it here from the point-of-view of the person giving out Holy Communion.
Crucial point #1: Whenever moral evil of any kind presents itself, perhaps the first question a person should ask himself is, “Whose conscience is this going to be on?”
Aha! We have found the Original Metaphysical Principle for morals: I am morally responsible only for those acts or omissions which are imputable to me.
(In my limited experience with helping people exercise moral discernment, the clarification of who is morally responsible resolves the matter 95% of the time.)
Let’s apply this to the matter at hand. If I am giving out Holy Communion, there are various ways I could do evil. Interiorly, I could doubt the Real Presence or fail to adore the Lord in the sacrament. I could let my mind wander. If I weren’t a priest, I could absurdly think of what I am doing as “my” ministry, rather than as a simple act of charity to help Father in the interest of time or convenience. I could vainly focus on myself instead of trying to disappear behind Christ.
Exteriorly, I could imprudently misjudge my physical or psychological capacity to perform this ministry. I could be negligent in my handling of the vessels. Probably the gravest evil I could do—short of intentionally desecrating the sacrament—would be to act out of human respect in giving out communion. It pretty much goes without saying that the duty of a minister of Holy Communion is to minister the sacrament to those who approach to receive it, no matter who they are, what they look like, how they smell, how they are dressed, etc.