My wife held my hand tightly. We looked at each other in disbelief.....My offense? Endorsing Senator Barak Obama for President of the United States....I was not to receive the Eucharist that evening. ...My hand outstretched, the priest shook his head from side to side. Was that a no? ..... I pleaded with empty hand outstretched: "I think you're making a mistake, Father." His red complexion redder now, betraying righteous anger. His stretched hand over...the container for the consecrated bread as if I was going to grab a handful and make a run for it, and then the pronouncement: "No, you are the one who made the mistake."
From the back of the Communion line someone shouted out, "Are you judging this man, Father?" I was grateful for the intervention. Will the Last Day be like this? One friend making an appeal for another? The response was cold: "He has judged himself and been found unworthy."
With no further appeal possible and with my wife exiting in confusion, tears, and offended embarrassment, I returned to my place along. My place? Did I have a place any longer? Was I expected to leave? The double significance of losing the body of Christ--of not having ingested and no longer standing among "the body"--was suddenly all I could think of. Condemned for announcing to the world that I intended to vote for a man who I thought lived the Beatitudes.....
..... After the even became public, Cardinal Mahoney called the priest into his office, and several months after that meeting, Father ______sent Carol and myself a letter of apology. The letter is thoughtfully written and the apology accepted. Perhaps there was a Providential hand at work using the two of us to teach a lesson to a larger congregation. The lesson? Any Voter Guide even hinting at a Catholic duty as a matter of faith and morals to vote against Senator Obama is seriously in error.