The USCCB on communion: “We should be cautious when making judgments…”

The USCCB on communion: “We should be cautious when making judgments…” February 29, 2012

Someone reminded me of this document, put out by the USCCB in 2006, which states:

In virtue of our membership in the Catholic Church we are ordinarily free to receive Holy Communion.  In fact, it is most desirable that we receive the Lord’s Body and Blood, so that Holy Communion stands out clearly as a participation in the sacrifice actually being celebrated. Indeed, we should all cherish the grace given to us in the Eucharist. We should strive to receive Holy Communion regularly, gratefully, and worthily. We may find ourselves in situations, however, where an examination of our conscience before God reveals to us that we should refrain from partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ. Moreover, we should be cautious when making judgments about whether or not someone else should receive Holy Communion.

Objectively, certain thoughts, actions, and omissions entail grave sinful matter. As Catholics, we are obliged to form our consciences regarding what constitutes grave matter in accordance with the Church’s teaching. While it is not possible to make a complete list of thoughts and actions that involve grave matter, they would all be serious violations of the law of love of God and of neighbor. If we follow the order of the Ten Commandments, some examples of such thoughts and actions would be:

• Believing in or honoring as divine anyone or anything other than the God of the Holy Scriptures

• Swearing a false oath while invoking God as a witness

• Failing to worship God by missing Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation without a serious reason, such as sickness or the absence of a priest

• Acting in serious disobedience against proper authority; dishonoring one’s parents by neglecting them in their need and infirmity

• Committing murder, including abortion and euthanasia; harboring deliberate hatred of others; sexual abuse of another, especially of a minor or vulnerable adult; physical or verbal abuse of others that causes grave physical or psychological harm • Engaging in sexual activity outside the bonds of a valid marriage

• Stealing in a gravely injurious way, such as robbery, burglary, serious fraud, or other immoral business practices.  Speaking maliciously or slandering people in a way that seriously undermines their good name

• Producing, marketing, or indulging in pornography

• Engaging in envy that leads one to wish grave harm to someone else.

Catholics who are conscious of committing any mortal sin must receive the Sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion.

Read it all.

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