On “honoring the communion line”

Last week, the Catholic Standard in Washington posted an editorial on receiving communion — clearly pegged to a story in the news — and it’s worth a read:

In his last encyclical letter, “Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” Blessed John Paul II reminds us, “When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, the memorial of her Lord’s death and resurrection, the central mystery of salvation becomes really present and the work of our redemption is carried out” (11).

The celebration of the Eucharist culminates in the reception of Holy Communion. The Church teaches us that “at the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ’s Body and Blood … The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ” (CCC 1333).

When a person presents himself or herself for Communion, such an action is on the part of the recipient of Communion a public declaration, among other things, of the following:

1) The person is a baptized member of the Catholic Church;

2) the person accepts and tries to live the teaching of the Church in matters of faith and morals, and

3) the person has received sacramental absolution in confession if conscious of a serious failure in living out the teaching of the Church. As the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” teaches, “Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to Communion” (CCC 1385).

Thus an enormous responsibility falls on the shoulders of the person coming forward to receive Communion. The Church is being asked to take this person at his or her word that all of the above conditions are, in fact, realized.

It would be disingenuous, not to say dishonest, for persons to claim to be Catholic and to wish to receive Holy Communion if in fact they did not accept or follow the Church’s teaching or, if having failed in the teaching, they did not receive absolution in Confession.

For example, a person who violated the Fifth Commandment and had participated in an abortion, or had violated the Sixth Commandment and had sexual activity outside of marriage or was unfaithful to a spouse, or who violated the Seventh Commandment by continuing to embezzle from the company for which he or she worked, or the Eighth Commandment by simply bearing public false witness against a neighbor, could not in good conscience get into the Communion line. Presence in the Communion line under such circumstances would simply be dishonest.

Getting in line to receive Holy Communion carries with it a grave responsibility before God. There are objective moral norms by which one’s conscience must be formed. To conscientiously receive Communion, one must try to live those norms. Saint Paul tells us, “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27).

On the part of the one distributing Holy Communion there should be the presumption of the integrity of the persons presenting themselves to receive the body and blood of the Lord. That trust can be presumed until it is proven to be misplaced.

However, there are instances when the one distributing Communion is to refuse Communion. The two most notable examples are if a person is excommunicated, that is publicly declared not to be a member of the Church, or if a person publicly attempts to use Communion for purposes other than its intended spiritual benefit — that is if one were to use it publicly for political purposes.

Thus, if a person had been publicly excommunicated as, for example, was the Louisiana politician Leander Perez years ago for publicly attempting through his political office to physically impede the Church in the exercise of its ministry when the Archdiocese of New Orleans began the desegregation of its schools, that person should not be given Communion. Excommunication is meant for a grave crime and is rarely declared by the Church. This penalty is not intended as a punishment, but as a remedy for serious sin. Public excommunication is imposed and removed only by those in the Church authorized to do so.

Another example would be for a person wearing a sign or symbol indicating rejection of Catholic teaching on some aspect of faith and morals to insist on receiving Communion as an act of religious defiance. Here Communion is being misused.

The reception of the Body and Blood of our Lord in Communion is an integral part of the celebration of the Eucharist and, as such, the communicant participates in the greatest of all of the actions of the Catholic Church — her Eucharist. It is out of her faith in the Lord and her love for him and the desire to celebrate the mystery of our redemption that the Church calls everyone to sincerity of heart as they approach the altar. At Mass we are reminded that what we are doing we do “in spirit and in truth.” Everyone involved in distributing and receiving Communion is called to recognize the power of the Spirit present, a Spirit of love, and our obligation to walk in the truth — the revelation proclaimed by the Church.

The Communion line is that moment when we approach to have Christ join himself with us, “mingling his body and blood with ours, sharing his soul and divinity with our poor humanity” (His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, “The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition”). It is a time to be prepared. So if we are not prepared, we must wait and return when we can receive him most worthily. In the Communion line, the only statements to be made are Jesus’ saving action for us and our “Amen.”

From the combox: a reader notes that canon lawyer Ed Peters has pored over the editorial and offers his thoughts here. He concludes:

There is not, and never has been, the slightest doubt but that a Catholic woman living a lesbian lifestyle should not approach for holy Communion, per Canon 916. One so approaching risks receiving the Eucharist to her own condemnation. 1 Corinthians XI: 27. But, once any Catholic approaches for the public reception of holy Communion, a different norm controls the situation, namely, Canon 915. The only question in this case is, and has always been, whether the centuries-old criteria for withholding holy Communion from a member of the faithful were satisfied at the time this woman approached this minister. Unless all of those criteria were satisfied at that time, then, no matter what moral offense the woman might have committed by approaching for the Sacrament in her state (for which action she would be accountable before God), the minister of holy Communion acted illicitly. Period. End of paragraph.

Now, if the minister of the Church acted illicitly in this case (and the information available to me indicates that he did), he needs to be corrected (not punished, corrected). That said, his evident love for Our Lord in the Eucharist, and the conditions under which this decision seem to have been suddenly thrust upon him, suggest that there is no deep disrespect for certain members of the faithful at work in him, and the demands for him to be severely disciplined seem aimed more at exploiting the incident than at resolving it.

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Comments

  1. There was a good roundup at Tom Peters site that had more info on the woman denied Eucharist. Seems she has a history of promoting her Buddist faith and her homosexual activist status.

    http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=27899

    I actually have grown to have a great respect for the care the Church must take to both respect the Sacrament of Eucharist, but also not to do so with some measure of respect for the dignity of those coming up to receive it from reading the posts and also the various comments. I just wish the Bishops would develop a solid united front on the issue and not leave clergy hanging out there often in no mans land. With everything going on today in the confrontation between the administration and the Bishops, we shuld expect to see much more of what might now appear to be a confrontational method to attack the church with special focus on priests who dare to stand up for Church teaching. There is no doubt that the evil wants will do everything possible to silence the Church. I had a lot of sympathy for this priest who also seemed hung out to dry by his leadership.

  2. On his blog In the Light of the Law, Ed Peters goes through the editorial paragraph by paragraph and offers his remarks:

    http://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/

  3. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Thanks! Just updated my original post with that link. Dcn. G.

  4. Ryan Ellis says:

    It would have been nice if the Standard wasn’t afraid of the actual translation from Corinthians. Those receiving communion unworthily don’t “have to answer for it.” Rather, according to Paul, they “eat and drink their own condemnation.”

    Rather makes the point the Standard is going for.

  5. I wonder if they should post the requirements in the vestibule of chruches, just so it’s up front and clear. Might be a good idea.

    On a separate issue, that picture reminded me of something that happened to me while receiving two weeks ago. I receive the Eucharest by having it placed in my palm and in transfering it to my mouth I nearly fumbled it. I also think it was placed toward the heel of my palm, which caused some of the disconnect. I had to grasp it against my body with my forearms to prevent it from falling. My heart jumped in horror.

  6. I posted that two days ago but of course many here chose not to look at it. The fact that she was a Buddhist was enough to deny her communion.

  7. naturgesetz says:

    From everything I have seen, the fact that she is a Buddhist was not something the priest was made aware of at the time. It was only brought to light by people who checked into her background after the event made the news.

    So it would be more accurate to say, “The fact that she was a Buddhist would have been enough to deny her Communion if it had been known at the time.”

  8. Guys, this Buddhist thing is just another rabbit trail. Thanks to an interpretation of Canon 1117 that came down in April of 2006—long story made short, take my word for it or not as you see fit, but I’m on record as saying I disagree with the interpretation, here: http://www.canonlaw.info/canonlaw_discus.htm —this lady’s calling herself Buddhist, and even acting Buddhist (assuming she does), does NOT suffice to change her canonical status as Catholic under canon law, and hence is irrelevant to her rights under Canon 912, etc etc etc.

    Hard cases make bad law, and this case is loaded with bad. Let’s try to keep the law clear.

  9. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    “The fact that she was a Buddhist was enough to deny her communion.”

    According to Ed Peters’ post above, that’s “irrelevant”…but how would the priest have known that piece of information anyway?

  10. naturgesetz says:

    Thanks for the correction.

  11. I don’t think the priest knew but of course the woman herself knew it. If she had formally rejected the Catholic faith, I think she should have known not to go to Communion. I assume she was not regularly going to Mass each Sunday.

  12. Ed,

    Does identifying oneself as Buddhist constitute an act of apostasy? If so, doesn’t the individual have a moral obligation to refrain from receiving?

  13. Undeterminable on the facts as offered, but if so, yes, but that’s a c. 916 situ, not c. 915, which binds the minister. K? best, edp.

  14. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Right.

    From what I can gather, if she knew the rules about communion and understood the nature of the Eucharist — a big IF, frankly — she should not have presented herself for communion.

    But that’s not the same as the priest deciding to deny her communion.

  15. Dcn. G. Right.

  16. Ed, you lost me on the Buddhist rabbit trial. If she became a Buddhist and abandoned her Catholic faith, yes she remains Catholic by virtue of her baptismal character, but only that. Nevertheless, Canon 1364 is quite clear that apostates, heretics or schismatics are automatically excommunicated from the Church. This would seem to dovetail with Canons 912 and 915 permitting the priest to refuse communion.

  17. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    But the priest didn’t know any of that at the time she approached the communion rail.

    He made his judgment — an incorrect one, according to Ed Peters’ evaluation, based on available information — based on other factors.

  18. I understand (though we haven’t yet heard the priest’s story) but Ed’s point was larger I think, i.e., that she remains Catholic even after becoming a Buddhist. That may be, but she also excommunicates herself from the Church and may not present herself for communion.

    If the priest knew that she was calling herself a Buddhist, then yes I think his actions were in accord with canon law, quite apart from the whole same sex trail we went down last week.

  19. No kevin. Truly sorry i cannot respond to every mistake people make in these areas. I can only say, read exactly what I wrote, and go from there. I am simply warning people against assuming her “Buddhist” line made any difference in this case. Regards, edp.

  20. I read it. We disagree.

  21. Have we ever heard the priest say anything on this issue or the dioceses as to what actually happened? I know they appologized and said it could have been handled better. I suppose the priest has been advised to not comment.

    I found it interesting in other confrontation discussed in the post by Tom Peters it shows where she shares a personal story of an inteview with a principle that she “talked openly about being a lesbian and a buddhist”. We know she went back to see the priest before mass and clearly introduced her gay lover/partner and not sure what else she mentioned. With this history added from her own hand about another incident, it kind of screams this was another confrontation attempt.

    The story to me is only important if this spreads as a way to confront the church by activist giving the priest the option of not taking proper care of the Eucharist or getting bashed in the media. I think we should be very carefull before apologies are given. I would rather see us defend church teaching on the Eucharist very strongly. It seems like a little more research here was in order. I think the same was true of the Sandra Fluke event where obvious distoritions were laid out. Maybe the Church at this time needs a war room where there is staff to do some research before a position is taken on some affront or attack to protect our priests.

  22. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    I spoke with a reporter in Washington earlier this week who expressed frustration and exasperation because the Catholic Church won’t tell its side of the story. The priest has been ordered to keep quiet. The reporter told me that the Archdiocese has essentially put up a wall, and shut down. They seem to be hoping the story just goes away.

    Meantime, Barbara Johnson is able to spin this however she wants. And the media is lapping it up.

  23. How about this: if priest does wrong thing for right reasons, and Church bureaucrats do right thing for wrong reasons, should we wonder that mum’s the word? I say, if.

  24. “How about this: if priest does wrong thing for right reasons, and Church bureaucrats do right thing for wrong reasons, should we wonder that mum’s the word? I say, if.”

    I have never agreed more with you than I do today, Dr Peters!

    It certainly seems to me that with all the parsing that must be done of all the particulars of this case by an esteemed canon lawyer and a good deacon, well it just is any wonder any of us (Communion ministers – ordained or lay) get it right. What will any of us do the next time we are given a pop quiz such as this. When confronted with a seemingly impossible situation, on impulse it seems Father went for protecting the Blessed Sacrament against profanation. Haven’t saints died protecting the Blessed Sacrement down through the ages? I pray next time – and there will be a next time thanks to the Archdiocese of Washington, we pass the test.

  25. well put. that, and we need to learn the lessons offered here, ‘cuz this WILL happen again.

  26. D. Morgan says:

    While straining over the “jot and Tittle”, we are missing the bigger picture. Apostate catholics and others are seeking to tear down The Catholic Church while we argue the merits and application of Canon Law. The horse has left the barn.
    The public damage is already done courtesy of the media created outrage over this incident. And just as corrections in the news are rarely noticed, the truth behind this women’s actions will go unnoticed by most observers. She and her “partner” were on Ellen “Disingenuous” today having a good old time ranting about all those bad old tradition minded Catholics and their antiquated ideas. We are at war folks, and being somewhat Pharisaical over Canon Law is a good debate over tea, we need more Priests willing to stand the line. When in the trenches of the war between secular Satanism and Holy Mother Church, I will take one Faithful,diligent Priest over a hundred Canon Lawyers. No offense intended Dr. Peters.

  27. Quote from Dr. Peters:
    “Unless all of those criteria were satisfied at that time, then, no matter what moral offense the woman might have committed by approaching for the Sacrament in her state (for which action she would be accountable before God), the minister of holy Communion acted illicitly. Period. End of paragraph.”

    All of those criteria were satisfied! The Priest acted in accordance with Canon 915.

  28. I guess that’s where I wonder how this situation fits into the canons. I get that Communion can be denied to a public sinner or one who is excommunicated. And I get that EMHCs/priests/deacons can’t make quick judgements in the line (ala “oh, she was talking about her tubal ligation at the Guild meeting this week, so I won’t give her Communion.”) But what do you do with a set-up (as this sounds from some accounts) where the person makes a point of letting the minister know about his/her unfitness right before Mass and then goes up to receive anyway?

  29. Wow!!! So Father should be corrected because he withheld the body of Christ from a buddhist lesbian with her lesbian lover sitting next to her? Wow, just wow! You people make a joke out of the Eucharist……..you may claim it means something to you but the reality is any poilitician who is responsible for the murder of millions of babies in womb is worthy of Communion and let’s bring on the buddhist lesbians. What a joke.

  30. I wonder why the guy who wrote that quote (namely, me) does not think that c. 915 was satisfied in this case? Maybe I do not understand what I myself said? Possible, I guess.

  31. The priest knew she was a lesbian , he knew beause she told him that the women was her lover , he tried to talk to her and she walked away and the priest was blocked by the lover preventing him to follow,come on what else does the priest needed had i been the priest, and knew all that i would deny her the body and blood of Jesus. Iwould not be aa acomplice to her sacrilege.

  32. It seems to me as though Mr. Peters is more concerned with the letter of the Law than the spirit of the Law. God bless Father for denying this woman the Eucharist. He did her a favor by embarrassing her. Maybe it will get her to eventually realize the error of her ways. Allowing her to receive Communion with the knowledge she was living in sin would have been wrong for the priest, her and anyone else who knew she was a lesbian. The sin of unworthy Communion begets more unworthy Communion.If more priests and Bishops had the courage of this priest and started to publicly deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians, gay rights politicians and other public officials who put their career ahead of their faith, maybe these people would realize their error and become the Catholics they are meant to be!

  33. That is my point. This will happen again and ever more frequently especially to any priest who gives sermons from the pulpit on the teaching of the Church at a time when the Church is being under full attack.
    There thus needs to be a consistent game plan which is voted on by the USCCB and then enacted across the country in uniform fashion.

  34. Deacon Steve says:

    Being a Buddhist does not automatically mean that one has crossed into Apostacy. Buddhism is not for all that practice it a religion. It is a philosophy, and as such is not wholely incompatible with the Catholic Faith. I know many Catholics that follow Buddhism as a philosophy and do not embrace the aspects that are in conflict with the Teachings of the Church. Only a small minority of those that follow Budhism view it as a religion. If a person who was Catholic went down that path as a Buddhist then they would indeed be guilty of Apostacy and would have left the Church through the act of joining another religion.
    We need to be very careful throwing the charge of Apostacy around. If it is not true then we would be guilty of bearing false witness against our neighbor which is a serious sin.

  35. The USCCB’s 2004 statement: “The question has been raised as to whether the denial of Holy Communion to some Catholics in political life is necessary because of their public support for abortion on demand. Given the wide range of circumstances involved in arriving at a prudential judgment on a matter of this seriousness, we recognize that such decisions rest with the individual bishop in accord with the established canonical and pastoral principles.” Given that (1) denial of Holy Communion in certain circumstances is REQUIRED by Canon 915; (2) Nancy Pelosi is overqualified to meet the (paraphrased) “obstinately persisting in manifest grave sin” standard; and (3) bishops apparently are allowed discretion about HOW- not WHETHER- to apply canon law, isn’t Cardinal Wuerl’s official refusal to deny her Holy Communion and reluctance to apply the canon AT ALL a source of scandal here? Juxtapose that with the public scolding of a priest whose apparent intent was to obey and enforce canon law. I am not in the class of dissenters who are often guilty of downplaying, condemning, and disobeying the letter of the law, but is the spirit of Canon 915 to err on the side of charity and inclusion in communion really what’s being upheld here? Aren’t we “loving” women like Barbara Johnson or even Nancy Pelosi into Hell? (Note: I am not saying that N. Pelosi is receiving H. Communion worthily or not, but rather that the Cardinal’s stance on this is quite concerning and worthy of considerable reflection and prayer)

  36. What was the intention of Ms. Johnson by creating a scandal and telling the priest she was a lesbian who was with her lover at the funeral? He would not have known had she not decided to lay it out there and then brazenly march herself up for Holy Communion. This was a provocative act of defiance of the beliefs of the Church and she was a scandalmongerer to those who heard her statements. The priest was right to protect the Holy Eucharist from a self-proclaimed public sinner.

    Why have Confession at all if nothing is a sin? Why not just do away with the sacrament of Confession and allow murderers, thieves, sodomites, etc. to receive Holy Communion without acknowledging and repenting of their sins?

  37. Bill Russell says:

    St.John Vianney would have denied her communion on the spot. And it would never have occurred to his bishop to contradict him. They were not politicians who wanted to be liked.

  38. Phil Steinacker says:

    With all due resepct, Mr. Peters, you so far have not addressed the one point which seems to be a game-changer to your assessment.

    If it is true as previously reported (I think by you, Deacon Greg?), that this woman deliberately cornered this priest in the sacristy just moments before the funeral Mass was to begin and announced she was an active lesbian and introduced to him her live-in partner, would not his direct knowledge of her grevious sin (with no time or desire by her to obtain absolution before Communion) require his denial of the Sacrament to her?

    Beyond that, I am more than just disppointed by the dereliction of duty by the archdiocese. I am disheartened that such weakness only invites more attacks and challenges to ecclesial authority. Regarding the bishops’ authority in secular terms, “if you don’t use it you lose it.”

    If Canon law still prohibits a priest in his situation from doing what he did, then the applicable canon law needs an overhaul. Perhaps a return to the 1917 version is in order?

  39. Just found out Fr.Guarnizo has been suspended. Does anyone else see the injustice here?! Please pray for Fr.Guarnizo as well as his persecutors some of whom are inside and outside the Church!

  40. Dr. David Delacroix says:

    Yes, apparently poor Father Guarnizo has been suspended. Something about his not being a nice enough, easy enough guy to get along with in his parish with some of his staff there. “Intimidating behaviour”, apparently.

    LOL.

    My poor mind’s eye has conjured up this image of Father Guarnizo rambling about his parish with a stick in his fist, waving it wildly and madly at widows and orphans who seek but a pence or a prayer from him.

    Or, maybe, Father Guarnizo routinely is off his meds and has spittle crusted at the corner of his mouth as he berates and ridicules Youth and Choir Directors?

    Probably, this poor priest gravely offended a Muslim or, God forbid, a buddhist lesbian with a bad haircut in some way, shape or manner.

    - Dr David Delacroix

  41. So Mr. Peters, is this what you had in mind? Just curious, in your infinite wisdom, would you consider this “corrected” or punished?

  42. phillip hughes says:

    Dear Deacon,
    Are you a lawyer? i mean, are you a U.S. lawyer. Is this a case that is going to be tried in a U. S. court. Am i really reading this right? What did the good Father know when he spoke with our confused sister? When the good Father made the RIGHT decision to refuse our LORD to this child, “did he have all the correct information to make his decision? Is not our GOD, THE TRUTH? You want to punish a priest who did the RIGHT. Yes, RIGHT. The wrong would have been to give her our LORD. The wrong would have been to let this confused child receive our LORD in a state of mortal sin. Dear Deacon, Think about it for just a minute. YOU are saying SIN should have occurred!!! Please, Please , O brother, Please pray on this one. We are not “of this world” We are called to be “truth and light”
    And yet? you want him punished. What was RIGHT is what happened. Now, our confused sister should know the Church condemns her actions as sinful, but, the whole incident is an embarrassment to the Church. If the diocese had an ounce of the Wisdom that comes from the HOLY SPIRIT, it would have not even stepped into the situation. They would have used the incident as an oportunity to teach the faith and stated they are “looking into the situation”. They could have dragged this out for months and thousands, maybe millions would receive the Church’s teachings on grave sin. If any one blogging about how it was handled, had an ounce of Wisdom, they would end every blog with “though the incident had the proper outcome, the priest should have stopped and offered her the chance at a confession (right there on the spot) and informed her that if she could not confess that under cannon 915 he believed it was his duty to refuse her our LORD.” She came to him with her sin. She was proud of her situation.
    Our priest did the RIGHT. We all know it, NOW. And Yet he is being persecuted.
    Let no GOOD deed go UN- punished.

  43. Look – let’s cut through all the convoluted flim-flam. Canon 915 is really quite simple. No theology nor canon law degree is required to understand it: just the ability to understand grammar and to read a sentence written in the passive voice. Any layperson with common sense can understand its meaning for there is absolutely no nuance to Canon 915. Some might want to impute nuance to it, so that they can consider themselves exempt from the accountability embedded in that canon, but their attempts to do so are at best comical and at worst, absolutely disingenuous.

    Father Guarnizo was correct in what he did at that funeral. The woman brazenly announced to him beforehand that she had a female “lover”. This “lover” impeded him as he tried to approach her to admonish against receiving Holy Communion. During the Mass, before distribution of Holy Communion, he announced to the congregation the Church’s requirements for worthy reception of Holy Communion – mentioning specifically adherence to the Church’s teachings on marital sexuality. She approached anyway. He had no choice but to deny her Holy Communion – lest he himself be guilty of violating Canon 915. This is NOT complicated “rocket science”.

    “Corrected versus punished”? What ludicrous nonsense! He should have been praised and upheld by the chancery. But because Father’s obedience puts to shame Cardinal Wuerl’s own refusal to obey Canon 915, the powers-that-be, with stung consciences, are out for his blood as much as is Barbara Johnson. Let’s call a spade a spade.

  44. naturgesetz says:

    “Look – let’s cut through all the convoluted flim-flam. Canon 915 is really quite simple. No theology nor canon law degree is required to understand it: just the ability to understand grammar and to read a sentence written in the passive voice. Any layperson with common sense can understand its meaning for there is absolutely no nuance to Canon 915.”
    — That is, as long as you ignore the words “obstinately,” “persist,” and “manifest” and presume that every minister on Communion is given a revealed insight into the state of the soul of those who approach for Communion.

    In other words, Janet, IMO, you’re all wet. The fact that you think it’s simple proves that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  45. naturgesetz says:

    The spirit of the law is that it is on the communicant’s conscience, not the minister’s to judge worthiness, and instances where a minister denies Communion are to be few and far between.

  46. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    And: as Ed Peters has pointed out repeatedly, Canon 915 does not apply to this case.

  47. phillip hughes says:

    So, having a homosexual lover and approaching a priest before receiving our LORD and proudly stating “this is my lover” to the priest. these are not evidence of “obstinately,” “persist,” and “manifest” grave sins.
    OH NO! this is evidence of a little bitty sins that doesn’t rise to the level of cannon 915(sarcasm). The priest was RIGHT here. Cardinal Wuerl is wrong. All you people out there defending Cardinal Wuerl in this matter or the Deacon in his suggestion of “correction” should be rethinking this one. This is not an application of Catholic Doctrine going on here. This is old fashioned American politics. May GOD have mercy on us all.
    This call for civility is a call for “LUKE WARM”. If i am reading my quotes correctly? i think we are making GOD sick.(vomit you out)

  48. n, and Dcn. GK, this whole episode has confirmed an uneasy feeling growing in me the last several months, maybe for a couple of years, but rather than raise it here (it’s not exactly on point), I’ll try to address it elsewhere. till then, many posts above confirm the old adage, the less some folks knows about a topic, the more sure they are that they know it.

  49. irishsmile says:

    As the mother of a priest, I can assure you that many of the best priests are scared to death that an obstinate sinner will approach them for to receive the holy Eucharist at Mass. If a priest is absolutely confirmed in their faith as to the ‘Real presence’, it is a no win situation for the priest. The lifting of a priest’s faculties, as was apparently done here, leaves that priest with no income and no place to live and having to raise thousands of dollaras to hire a canon lawyer to ‘get his day in court’. It happens!!!

  50. Naturegesetz, you wrote in your reply to me, “That is, as long as you ignore the words “obstinately,” “persist,” and “manifest” and presume that every minister on Communion is given a revealed insight into the state of the soul of those who approach for Communion.”

    Who are you to insinuate that I’m ignoring those words? I’m simply stating that most literate people understand the meaning of those words. Now does every minister have a revealed insight into a person’s state of soul? Of course not! I’m sure millions of sacrilegious communions occur all the time, precisely because they are not manifest. In those cases, Canon 915 cannot bind, for it is not reasonable to ascribe responsibility to the minsiter to know the state of every one who approaches him or her.
    In Father Guarnizo’s case, however, he did have “a revealed insight into the state of the soul” of Ms Johnson – thanks to Ms Johnson herself, through her announcement of such state to Father just before Mass!

  51. naturgesetz says:

    I can say that you are ignoring those words because you are not giving them any real force. The fact that the priest was introduced to her lover does not come anywhere close to proving that she was obstinately persisting in grave sin. There was no proof that she had a properly formed conscience on the matter, which would have been necessary for it to be known that she had actually committed grave sin. Saying that this is her lover is most definitely not an announcement of the state of her soul. It may allow one to reasonably infer serious matter, but it reveals nothing concerning the other two elements necessary for mortal sin: namely full knowledge and deliberate consent. Catechism of the Catholic Church 1857-1860

    And one cannot obstinately persist until it has been personally discussed and explained that one’s conduct makes one ineligible for the sacrament. Merely continuing in a wrong course of conduct without such a discussion (among other things to ascertain whether the person’s conscience has been properly formed and to correct it if it is erroneous) is not obstinate persistence. It becomes obstinate persistence when you’re told, “If you keep doing that, you can’t receive Communion,” and you keep doing it. But there is no showing that she had had such a discussion. So there is no basis for saying that she was obstinately persisting in conduct which may or may not have been gravely sinful under all three elements required for mortal sin.

    And then there’s the whole question of the sin being “manifest.” Since this funeral took place away from her current parish, there is a question how many people would have known the information she had just revealed. IOW the grave matter may have been occult rather than manifest as far as that congregation was concerned.

  52. phillip hughes says:

    If you are in a state of Mortal sin and you have not made a sincere confession should you receive communion? What Father did here was get set up by evil forces. All the people including Cd Wuerl are dupes for falling for this garbage.
    The Church could be sticking together to teach this lost child. Instead we are divided and in fact many of us are lost. Receiving our Precious LORD without our own repentence. Go ahead. Attack this servant of GOD. Good luck explaining that one on judgement day. Listen to all the attacks. None of these people are interested in this child’s soul. They are covering their butts because they are LUKE WARM.

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