On Ash Wednesday, I noticed that a prominent Catholic politician had the ash smudge on his forehead during a news conference. Since this man supports abortion, how can he be given blessed ashes?
Blessed ashes are distributed at the start of Lent as a sign of penance and as an acknowledgement of sinfulness and the need for repentance. Ashes are a sacramental, not a sacrament. While there has been controversy over whether a public supporter of moral evil should be given Communion, there has been no similar consideration of whether he should be denied sacramentals such as blessed ashes. The Church calls such people to repentance and hopes that whatever actual graces may be received by the use of sacramentals will be salutary for the soul of someone who needs to repent of supporting moral evil.