A Chicago police chaplain says he is “mortified” that he mistakenly gave Holy Communion to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a non-Catholic Christian in a same-sex marriage, during Thursday’s funeral Mass for fallen Officer Ella French.
In an interview Friday with CNA, Father Dan Brandt said just moments prior to Communion he was asked by Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, the main celebrant, to take his place distributing the Eucharist and became flustered when he saw the mayor step forward as the first in his line.
“You know something, I am to blame for that, and I am mortified,” Father Brandt said.
“I actually gave her Communion, but she was the very first one up there, and I wasn‘t supposed to give out Communion, and at the last second Cardinal Cupich said, ’I‘m going to sit out Communion; you take my spot.’”
“And so, I didn‘t know where I was going. I mean, I was totally, the whole weekend was a blur. I was going on very little sleep,” the Catholic police chaplain explained. “And, anyways, I’m making excuses, but, yes, she came up, and I put the sacred Host in her hand, and I was like ‘Oh!’ — and, of course, it was too late at that point. And I was like, ‘Oh, dear God, have mercy.’”
Father Brandt added that he is deeply apologetic toward those who were offended by the mayor receiving Communion.
“I apologize for any scandal that my absentmindedness may have caused. It was certainly not intentional and wish I had my wits about me. Or better yet, I wish the cardinal had just given out Communion because I was planning on going back and sitting for the next portion of the Mass and procession,” he said.
“I can‘t apologize enough for anyone who’s upset by the fact that she received the Eucharist. That is totally on me, and I own it,” he said. “And it was an honest mistake, and I pray that your readers have the same mercy that I hope the Lord gives me.”
The USCCB posts the guidelines for reception of Holy Communion.
I feel badly for the priest; this seems to have been an honest mistake. Frankly, the mayor should not have gotten into the Communion line in the first place — but in a crowded and stressful moment, anything can happen.
But: Grace abounds. Mercy endures. Jesus will not be outdone in his generosity.
Perhaps she needed this.
The one who stretched out his arms for a brutal and sinful world on Calvary — a world that would not make room for him, even at the moment of his birth — continues to give himself to those in need, even to miserable sinners like me.