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In the Feb. 23 New York Times’ first section, there is a three-column photograph of New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

He is shown coming out of one of Albany’s Roman Catholic churches.

He is accompanied by what the AP identifies as his daughters, and, this is a quote, “his girlfriend Sandra Lee” – who is strikingly pretty.

But, the headline in this New York Times report is as follows: “Call to deny communion to Cuomo.”

The Times’ Thomas Kaplan reports:

“A consultant to the Vatican’s highest court is calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to be denied holy communion because he lives with his girlfriend without being married to her.

“Edward N. Peters, a professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, who last year was named by Pope Benedict XVI as a consultant to the Vatican court, the Apostolic Signatura, called the governor’s living situation ‘public concubinage’ and said in a recent interview that Mr. Cuomo, who is Roman Catholic, must refrain from taking communion under canon law.

“‘The governor, with complete freedom, is publicly acting in violation of a fundamental moral expectation of the church,’ Dr. Peters wrote in response to written questions from Cybercast News Service, a conservative website which published his remarks Monday.

“‘On these facts alone,’ Dr. Peters added, ‘his taking holy communion is objectively sacrilegious and produces grave scandal within the faith community.’

“Mr. Cuomo’s marriage to Kerry Kennedy ended in a bitter, highly public divorce in 2003. When he is not staying at the Executive Mansion in Albany, Mr. Cuomo lives with Sandra Lee, a Food Network celebrity, at her home in Westchester County.”

A spokesman for Mr. Cuomo, Josh Vlasto, declined to comment on Dr. Peters’ comments.

Ladies and gentlemen, think about that! New York’s chief executive not only shacks up with this woman – but he brings her to Mass! How long will this be allowed by the Holy See in Rome?

The New York Times also reported:

“In his written responses, Dr. Peters also criticized Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, who presided over the Mass that Mr. Cuomo attended with Miss Lee and his three daughters on Jan. 2.

“A spokesman for Bishop Hubbard could not be reached for comment.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, raises yet another question: Why could this spokesman for Bishop Hubbard not be reached?

Is it possible that he was really busy receiving a long-distance phone call from Rome?

Based on this news, I went to the White House daily news briefing on Feb. 23, prepared to ask the following question:

“This morning, the New York Times reported that professor Edward Peters, who is a consultant at the Vatican court, has said that Gov. Cuomo is, quote, ‘publicly acting in violation of the fundamental moral expectation of the church, and therefore his taking holy communion is sacrilegious.’

“Question: Does the president believe it is right or wrong for Gov. Cuomo to live with a woman who is not his wife?”

But President Obama’s new press secretary, Jay Carney, would not allow me, as second-most senior White House correspondent, or Connie Lawn, the most senior correspondent, to ask any questions at all – even though he allowed NBC and Fox News to ask six questions each, CBS to ask four and three each for AP, ABC and CNN.

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