It seems the so-called bishops of the US have a lot of time, reportedly having met to discuss conditions under which so-called catholic politicians who support abortion may be denied holy communion. They voted to proceed drafting a document. At least they managed that.
One can see the “controversy” since targets include the likes of Biden, Pelosi, Kerry etc. And not surprisingly, the liberalist progressivist Francis objected from the Vatican. Well, that’s news.
All this is very funny because I thought the conditions have been sufficiently clear regarding holy communion for almost two thousand years. Consider what St Paul wrote, presumably before 67 AD when he had his head chopped off. From 1 Corinthians 11:27–29:
Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgement to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.
Below is the Canon Law (formulated over the centuries):
Can. 915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.
Can. 916 A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.
One could argue that no one is ever worthy to receive communion. Even for someone who tries to be in the proper frame of mind, even for one who confessed their sins less than 30 minutes prior, chances are that their mind wanders whilst in the pews—I mean, the priest has a heavy Vietnamese accent and I can’t even tell whether he is using English or Latin, the choice of music is uninspiring, and what’s-her-name two pews in front is pretty hot.
When I line up to receive communion, chances are that the guy at the front will just give it to me like he would to anyone else. Assuming he takes his job seriously, he has a responsibility to act on what he already knows, but he also has to give each person the benefit of the doubt insofar as he doesn’t. And he probably can’t tell the difference between a half-decent person and a lazy middle-management scumbag anyway, at least not with enough confidence to act on it.
The responsibility also rests on each individual to examine his/her own conscience. What’s-her-face is there, but I make a real effort to focus on anywhere but her and besides, I would honorably marry her if given the chance so there’s nothing dirty about that. On balance, I know I can approach the Sacraments in good faith. I am not denying objective morals here, but there is a degree of subjectivity and relativity involved.
However, when a person publicly supports something the Church is explicitly against (or supposed to anyway), it is hardly arguable. And in this case, it is not merely “a personal thing”, the person is in addition a public figure acting in the context of his/her office; their stance impacts government policy and public opinion. The fault is no longer hidden and private since the person has willingly revealed it in the context of public office and, as such, the subjective and relative aspects are a lesser consideration.
More fundamentally, notice that St Paul does not actually state we must be “worthy” but rather a warning to not be “unworthy”. This is an important distinction because some use the argument that if no one is ever truly “worthy”, then we shouldn’t withhold communion from anyone; after all, we’re all perverts here.
That being generally true, St Paul warns of the negative, not stipulates the positive. Of course we should be worthy and by the grace of God strive to be worthy but, as a very important starting point, at least don’t be unworthy. And sometimes, it is clear when that is the case, especially when people are indifferent and/or proud of their stance. So yes, there is a difference between a pervert who tries not to be and a pervert who doesn’t care.
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