THE EUCHARIST: WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY TO DENY and TO WHOM?

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Elizabeth

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Forgive me if the following questions have already been raised/ answered in another thread.
  1. Re pro-choice Catholics: Is it the responsibility of the priest to deny the Eucharist or that of the individual to deny himself? Does the denial affect all pro-choice Catholics or only Politicians?
  2. Does the witholding of the Eucharist from Catholics extend to other areas of sin, e.g. is it denied to those known to be practising contraception? (I know it is the case with those who have not yet had their first marriage annulled and are re-married.)
I am not trying to play ‘devil’s advocate’ : I am new to Catholicism and genuinely wish to know.

Thankyou,
 
Canon law number 916 describes when people are to self-refrain from Holy Communion:
Canon 916 Anyone who is conscious of grave sin may not celebrate Mass or receive the Body of the Lord without previously having been to 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 resolve to go to confession as soon as possible.
Canon law number 915 describes when the priest is to bar people from Holy Communion:
Canon 915 Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.
 
Anyone conscience of grave (serious, mortal) sin should “deny himself” Communion. To receive Communion when not in the state of grace is to commit the sin of sacrilege.

The use of contraception is gravely immoral, so those using contraception should not present themselves for Communion. Ditto for those living in adultery. Ditto for those divorced and “remarried” without a decree of nullity demonstrating that the first “marriage” was invalid. Ditto for those who perform, counsel, or advocate abortion or other heinous acts.

In some cases such grave sins are persisted in publicly. The sinner becomes what is termed a “notorious” sinner. His receiving Communion would be not just a private act of sacrilege but a public scandal. In such a case it would be proper to forbid his reception of Communion. To fail to do that would be to act improperly toward the Eucharist itself.
 
Karl, I wish you had been there when I was having this debate with another Catholic. He kept asking me how being a politician who supported abortion was considered scandal. =P
 
Recently, the Bishop in our diocese of Syracuse, NY, publicly stated in the newspaper, that he would NOT refuse a person in the public eye who is openly pro-abortion. I was so sick to my stomach, I had to write to him and tell him what a contradiction it was. He marches in pro-life protests and even hosts them and then turns around to give the Bread of Life to those who are pro-killing? It doesn’t make sense. I was told by several priests in the diocese to send my letter. I did so and am waiting for a response.
I asked him what he thought Our Lord would say on judgement day when asked “Why didn’t you protect My Precious Body and Blood?” What will his answer be? It’s a scary thought.
My priest asked me, as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist what I would do if a public figure who is pro abortion came to me for the sacrament. My response was, “I would simply turn my back.” He responded to me “Good girl!” It is nice to be on the same page as your pastor, isn’t it? In fact, in his previous parish, he had sitting in the front row, a politician who was publicly pro-abortion. Father got right up at the pulpit and condemned his actions! Praise God for the priests who do the right thing and stay faithful to the Church and its teacings. Nevermind the status in the Church or in society of these politicians…say it like it is!
 
Who am I to judge anyone? The Catholic Church does not need Communion cops! It seems that the emphasis on the sins of others may be an attempt to deflect attention away from our own sins.

“Whoever is without sin, let him cast the first stone.”
 
I must disagree with both Iguana and Xenon,

I agree that an individual priest cannot refuse communion to an ordinary person in the pew, unless they have publicly repudiated the teachings of the chuch and by giving him communion it would cause scandal. Such a situation hardly involves the ordinary parishoner and as such, I see it as difficult to deny communion to an ordinary parshoner.

However, it is the duty of the priest to deny communion to someone who is in manifest mortal sin (PUBLIC), as articulated in Canon Law 915. Examples could be Governor Schwazanegar or Senator Kerry, who proclaim themselves Catholics, yet are pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, etc. To give them communion, which is a sign of Unity not only with Christ, but with His Church, would give the signal to the ordinary parishoner in the pew, that such dissent from the Magisterium is acceptable when it is not. Thus, it is the duty of the priests and bishops to protect the sancticty of the Eucharist and all it represents, by articulating that certain people are unable to receive until they repent of their ways, confess their sins and perform penance.
 
The faithful have a right to attend Mass without having to risk seeing scandal.

That is the heart of Canon 915.

The reception of the Eucharist but a person who publically flaunts Church teaching is just that, scandal.

We need bishops who will stand up for the rights of the faithful and enforce the canon.
 
I don’t see why the onus should fall on the priest. It seems to me that it should be the bishop’s responsibility and duty to excommunicate such politicians, after fair warning and full opportunity to repent.
 
You are so lucky to have such a priest as your pastor. And, yes, it is nice when you and the pastor are on the same page, so to speak. It doesn’t happen very often around here!
 
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Brendan:
The faithful have a right to attend Mass without having to risk seeing scandal.
My suggestion is to quit looking for it!

Peace.😉
 
Ok, I’m scandalized… when I was taking instructions to be an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, I was told to never, never refuse anyone. Granted, this was a long time ago. I was told, “If Ian Paisley of the IRA walks up and holds out his hand you cannot refuse.” This is because(I was told) **only the priest **can make such distinctions. AND, only God can read hearts. How would I know if that person had NOT just been to Sacramental Confession?
 
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mtamurian:
My priest asked me, as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist what I would do if a public figure who is pro abortion came to me for the sacrament. My response was, “I would simply turn my back.” He responded to me “Good girl!” It is nice to be on the same page as your pastor, isn’t it? In fact, in his previous parish, he had sitting in the front row, a politician who was publicly pro-abortion. Father got right up at the pulpit and condemned his actions! Praise God for the priests who do the right thing and stay faithful to the Church and its teacings. Nevermind the status in the Church or in society of these politicians…say it like it is!
I think I might agree with kateyu - I am not sure it is the job of the extraordinary minister of the Eucharist to deny anyone and if you did, maybe you should just say a prayer for them and not turn your back. I appreciate your wanting to protect the Eucharist but there would be no way for a layperson to know if the offender had just been to confession. In fact, I was thinking that for a priest to deny someone the Eucharist, they were required them to have spoken to the person privately first and for that person to have persisted in sin. But again, I am not sure. I just think it is pretty serious to deny someone access to the Eucharist wrongly and in the situation where you aren’t sure, the onus still falls squarely on the person who is receiving unworthily.

I think you have a great pastor too. I think in the long run, people respect a priest who sticks to his moral principles and is not swayed by the offering plate or worry over offending anyone. So maybe, you might not have a church overflowing with people because you make them feel good about themselves, but you do have a church filled with faithful Catholics who understand the moral teachings of the church.
 
First, there are no extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist but of Communion. There is a difference. Secondly, if a public figure openly and publicly challenges church teachings on any of the big issues or acts, in such a way as to cause scandal, he or she is to be dealt with accordingly by the diocese. Additionally, unless a public recanting of the abhorent position is announced for all, there can be no receiving, for the sin still persists. He has led individuals to believe that his position is a valid one, even though it is against the church’s teachings and untill he/she (refering the Governor of MIchigan) recants ther position, they are still not in communion with the church . The priest or celebrant is the first line of defense for the protection of canon law and will normally have first hand knowledge of the individual and the offense(s). Hence the priest/celebrant is the one to make the decision to deny Communion, not the extraordinary minister of Communion. Also, the offending individual should be refered to the diocese for excommunication consideration. Only after excommunication can an extraordinary minister of Communion, as directed by the priest celebrant, deny the Precious Body and/or Blood at communion to the offending individual.
 
Let’s make a clear distinction between a priest denying Communion and an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion refusing someone.

I have no problem with the priest or ordinary minister of communion refusing a person for reason of scandal. But I do not think that EMHC should be denying anyone unless instructed to do so specifically by an ordinary minister of Holy Communion.
 
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