The Corner

Sally Quinn’s Communion

Apparently, Sally Quinn has gotten some nasty voicemails after writing about her decision to receive communion at her friend Tim Russert’s funeral Mass. That is too bad. So many people do not understand the Church’s teaching that it is best to treat this sort of thing as a well-meaning act based on a misunderstanding. It is hard to believe that Quinn was deliberately trying to register her disagreement with the Church at the Mass. That said, if she does not understand the affront she gave then perhaps regularly blogging about religion for a major news outlet is not the right job for her.

No doubt she has her back up. But her explanations and self-justifications compound rather than mitigate the problem. She says that Catholics should be inclusive rather than turning people down who present themselves for communion. Perhaps. She talks, quite a bit, about her feelings. But the Church does not view communion as primarily an opportunity to elicit warm feelings of community. The unity of communion is altogether deeper. The Church invites outsiders into that deeper unity by refusing a simulacrum of it.

Quinn invokes the vulgar phrase, “What Would Jesus Do?” What Jesus would have us do is a question Christians should always ask. It is within the realm of possibility that the Church, and the current pope, whom she singles out for criticism, have given at least as much thought to the question as she has. While asking, quite rightly, for charity, she should consider extending it.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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