During the recent plenary meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, my brother bishops and I, after a robust and respectful conversation, approved the future development of a teaching document on the Eucharist. I support the decision of the body of bishops to provide clear teaching on the beauty of the Lord Jesus’ merciful gift to his Church found in the sacramental mystery of his most precious body and blood offered for us on the cross.
Over the coming months while this document is developed and discussed, I invite the faithful in the Diocese of Sacramento to pray and reflect on our relationship with the Lord Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Jesus has given us the great Sacramentum Caritatis, the Sacrament of Charity. The familiar refrain from a contemporary Eucharistic hymn reminds us that we must become what we receive. (Amén. El Cuerpo de Cristo, John Schiavone) The Lord Jesus, himself, invites us to be conformed to the truth of his awesome charity, poured out from his Most Sacred Heart.
The ineffable mystery of the Eucharist cannot be defined by the political rancor of this moment. The Most Holy Eucharist defines us and commands us to love one another as he has loved us. The Lord can command to love in truth because he loved us first in truth, the trembling truth of the cross. His arms outstretched on the wood of the cross attract us to communion with him. To approach him in Holy Communion we are also drawn into a communion of both mind and heart in Christ.
The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world judges us. Our sins are revealed by his wounds and by his wounds we are healed. (I Pt. 2.24) He is the spotless victim, who bore the weight of all human sin. He suffers with all victims of sinful human degradation: abortion, racism, war, and abuse. To open our hearts to the Lord in Holy Communion we unite ourselves in solidarity to his saving sacrifice so that all might live in fullness of his charity. By doing so we become his friends. “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” (Jn. 15.14)
Join with me in contemplating the charity of the crucified Lord and praying for the wisdom and mercy of Jesus to harmonize our lives with the truth of his divine charity. Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, reflecting on the too prevalent rupture between the Eucharist and Christian living said, “’Worship’ itself, Eucharistic communion, includes the reality both of being loved and of loving others in turn. A Eucharist which does not pass over into the concrete practice of love is intrinsically fragmented.” (Deus Caritas Est, 14) Healing the wound of this moral fragmentation is the task before us. This is the Eucharistic coherence we must seek for ourselves and our world so that all may be one in Christ….
The above comes from a June 22 statement issued by the Diocese of Sacramento.
This is beautiful.
Hey, the USCCB issued a statement about the Eucharist back in 2006:
Problem solved. Already done. Maybe a few edits to address current circumstances, but it’s already been issued, so what’s the fuss? Did the bishops who disagreed with and voted against working on a document like this not know that one was already issued in 2006?
Between now and when/if the new document is completed, why don’t the bishops promote this one?
Thanks for that link. Everyone should read it.
I have never seen a priest celebrating Mass not give himself the Eucharist because he’s in mortal sin. Are we really to believe that priests are never in mortal sin when they celebrate Mass? We know that’s not true because of all the examples of disgusting things that priests have done while pretending to be holy and celebrating Mass then going off to commit mortal sin later and then coming back to celebrate Mass. So plenty of priests have received the Eucharist while in mortal sin, committing sacrilege.
So until I see a priest withhold the sacrament from himself, all this talk about denying the Eucharist to lay people who are “in mortal sin” is not something I’m going to take seriously.
Do priests and bishops think lay people are dumb sheep?
Please forgive my presumption, but I get the sense that you know better than to ask that question. Regardless, here’s the answer:
First, gay priests who covertly advocate for the gay lifestyle and engage in such activity disregard much of the Church’s teaching. Therefore, if they respect little else, why would they respect the Eucharist?
Second, priests are well aware of the problem of the faithful being denied the Eucharist because the priest is in mortal sin. The provisions for saying Mass for the sake of the Faithful are given in Canon 916 and require a) a grave circumstance and b) that the priest makes an act of perfect contrition before Mass with the intent to receive a timely sacramental confession after Mass.
Re priests or bishops or Catholics who sin: The difference is manifest public sin. Of course private sin is just as bad, but we are not called to
address it on the same way as manifest public sin and sacrilege. Those who thumb their noses publicly transmit a scandalous message and model of Catholicism; or false Catholicism. Some people sin in private and may actually be ashamed, or receive communion, possibly with a conflicted conscience, because they see everyone go to the communion line. That is different. But those who sin gravely and publicly, and proclaim the sin as a right, and treat the Eucharist as their entitled reception or right; they force our hands, requiring that we (priests or bishops) respond publicly.
“We” priests or bishops? Your name is Nancy. How does that work?
Nancy. Mary. What’s the difference?
Does anyone read or refer to “Economic Justice for All” or “The Challenge of Peace” anymore?
I read “The Challenge of Peace” by the UCCB a long time ago. It was broken into two sections. The first section gave Catholic moral doctrine regarding war and peace. The second section was the UCCB’s opinion about how that teaching applied to the Cold War/nuclear weapons.
I found the first section (e.g. doctrine) to be excellent and illuminating. I found the second section (e.g. opinion) inferior, somewhat contradictory, and dangerous to peace. While other, non-UCCB opinions also had their flaws, I felt that they were superior to the UCCB’s official opinion.
In the 1980s “The Challenge of Peace” was the US bishops’ direct attack on Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party’s strategy of nuclear deterrence.
Funny how back then the bishops were almost unanimous is supporting a document that essentially stated the Republican president and party were pursuing immoral actions, but now you can’t get a bishop to say much of anything against a Democrat politician nor the party about their promotion of the culture of death.
Bishops regularly have spoken out against immoral policies, be in nuclear buildups, abortion, reproductive matters, disregard for the environment, etc. what fuels fears this time is that the bishops seem to be taking public aim at individual politicians personally.
Not personally… because they advocate and enact evil in society.
“what fuels fears this time is that the bishops seem to be taking public aim at individual politicians personally.” Oh pardon the Bishops but how many years has pro-abortion Nancy and the other pro-aborts been advocating and voting to kill the innocent unborn? Advocating for sodomy? Denying people of faith their religious freedom? Too bad if the Bishops seem to be taking public aim at those poor baby killing advocates. It is a “public sin”! And a very serious one.
In order to receive Holy Communion we must be in communion with God and with the Church.
As Catholics we believe what the Church authoritatively teaches on matters of faith and morals, for to hear the voice of the Church, on matters of faith and morals, is to hear the voice of Christ himself.
To give selective assent to the teachings of the Church not only deprives us of her lifegiving message, but also seriously endangers our communion with her.
If a Catholic in his or her personal or professional life were knowingly and obstinately to reject the defined doctrines of the Church, or knowingly and obstinately to repudiate her definitive teaching on moral issues, however, he or she would seriously diminish his or her communion with the Church. Reception of Holy Communion in such a situation would not accord with the nature of the Eucharistic celebration, so that he or she should refrain.
From the document that Kevin T. linked to above. It is from 2006 (the John Kerry era.)
Anonymous at 8:30, or whomever you are in real life — excellent observation.
So with humility, charity and faith yore standing in line to receive the Eucharist, but while in line you see someone whom you know practices against church tenets. Maybe they practice birth control, or work in a hospital where one can receive an abortion under given protocols. Maybe it’s your neighbor, or maybe it’s your senator or even President. But in your mind and heart, you judge this person, condemn them under your breath, maybe talk about it later on the car ride home.. You take pride in how you’ve committed no sin compared to these wrongd-doer, and expect a high reothers. Heavenfor your holiness because you enough to condemn the sins of others. You are consumed by your internal disgust. Now imagine you pass from this life that very day, and face God’s eternal judgment. Maybe you proudfully point out the times you cleaned the church, or taught CCD, sponsored a child, etc. But Jesus sadly points out when you judged others vainly, stood self-righteously praying rosaries near Planned Parenthood, believing and again condemning every woman going in, whether for an abortion or other gynecological procedure. “Judgment is MINE, safety the Lord”, Jesus quips. Your arrogance and piousness were amiss because it lacked compassion, and you can how God is going to throw you into the painful depths of Hell. “I know you erred, I feel your repentance, therefore I will that which you CHOSE not to… I forgive you!”.
Bears no resemblance to the Gospels nor to Catholic faith. Completely made up silliness. A distortion of Christianity.
I pay no attention to who is receiving or not Communion unless I happen to look up in passing by, but make no judgement about why they do or do not receive. If there is someone in the pews who is outrageously dressed or making a big scene, I do expect the ushers to usher them out as best they can.
My husband and I once saw two priests refuse a young woman Communion, we just said to each other afterward, “They must know something we do not know,” and left it at that. Notorious widely known sinners who cause or demand serious sin in others are a whole different matter.
Fantasies about what other people are thinking become easier when you disdain them.