The Eucharist is the Body of Christ…

The Eucharist is the Body of Christ… March 1, 2012

… The Eucharist is the Body of Christ. It is the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ. Christ transubstantiated. Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus. Even if you don’t fully understand the concept it doesn’t make it any less so. Either you believe it or you don’t.

Now if you are Catholic chances are high you believe it. Well, you are supposed to believe it at least. Knowing and believing what you do about the Eucharist it follows reason that you would want to 1) protect Him from being profaned, and 2) not present yourself to receive Him if you are in a state of mortal sin.

Everyone knows this. Or at least everyone should. If you don’t, please re-read the above over and over until it sinks in. I’ll wait.

In light of this knowledge, let us consider this news article for a moment, Lesbian Denied Communion at Her Mother’s Funeral – which is already being reported with great bias by every major news outlet. I understand, dear media, this matter is of graver importance than say… oh, I don’t know… reporting fifty Christian tourists being stoned by Muslims in Jerusalem.

Your bias angers me.

Back to the story…

The gist; a lesbian women was denied from receiving the Body of Christ at her mother’s funeral because she presented herself and her live-in partner to the priest before the funeral. With that bit of information we can logically surmise this isn’t a matter of a priest making a snap decision while distributing the Eucharist. He had knowledge beforehand that she was a practicing lesbian who lived with her partner of 19 years. Note “19 years” – so it’s also not a matter of a repentant sinner either. To continue in a state of mortal sin for 19 years is a clear indication that you either fail to acknowledge you are committing sin and/or just don’t care.

Personally, I fail to see how this is even a news worthy item. In my opinion this is just another attempt by the media to paint the Catholic Church as an evil and uncaring entity that hates gays, wants to ban birth control, and force women to have babies they don’t want or can’t afford. Just in time for elections, because nothing unites voters like a shared hatred of a third party.

There is nothing shocking here to read in this news item. The Church has always believed what she believes about homosexuality and any other type of mortal sin. I find it more disturbing that she had the gall to expect to receive the Body of Christ in such a state or either she was inculpable based on ignorance and poor catechism. The latter would be tragically sad. Either way, I support this priest in his defense of the Body of Christ.

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  • Tim Muldoon

    Katrina, I share your concern about media bias.  This story needn’t have been run at all in light of about a thousand other more important stories.

    That said, I’m still very concerned about Father’s precedent.  Lots of people live with perpetual sins; it’s extremely dangerous for a priest to judge which ones ought to merit exclusion from the medicine of the Eucharist.

    •  I was married in a civil ceremony at a time when I was not living my faith.  I am still civilly married, but I am not married in the church.  I pray there will come a time when my marriage can be blessed, but in the mean time, I have chosen to remain married and raise my children in a 2 parent family rather than divorce because my marriage is not sacramental.  That being said, I do not present myself for the Eucharist or for confession as I am outside the fullness of grace.  I am grateful for priests who take the sacrament seriously and with hold from those they know to be in sin.  I think this demonstrates the willingness of this priest to take the state of this woman’s soul into account.  Perhaps he could have said something to her prior to the Mass, perhaps he didn’t think that she would present herself.  As Dan stated above, it is sinful to eat of the body of Christ unworthily.
      As to the priest judging, if he knows there is a state of sin and that the sinner is not presenting himself for confession and penance, he is right to with hold the Eucharist.  It is an act of caring for him to do so.

      • Anonymous

        Amen, Christine.

        I Pray that you are able to one day receive the Blessing from Our Lord for your Marriage.

        I know all too well what it is like to not have it.
        And I also know how Liberating and Joyous it is when you Do!

        God Bless You and Your Family ♥

      • Birgit Jones

        Bless you for refraining and therefore showing Jesus the respect He deserves! Hopefully you will be able to obtain a sacramental marriage some day. My mother lived in a similar uncertainty for a time. She finally received an annulment and made things right with the Church. In the mean time she never missed one Sunday Mass, nor were we children denied a Catholic upbringing. God bless you!

      • Heyburn

        Christine, please see my post above. Divorced people are allowed to participate and even administer the Eucharist. While I respect your opinion, avoiding communion and confession will not bring you closer to,a state of grace. Ultimately, your choice to divorce is between you and God. Maybe God will forgive you, maybe he will not. I like to think that God looks at us in totality. Hoping that your marriage will someday be blessed by the Church just means that you are waiting for your ex-husband to die. I can’t imagine that this is what God wanted from us.

        • Fr. Cory Sticha

          Yes, those who are divorced can still receive Holy Communion, but those who are married outside of the Church (whether divorced and remarried or not), as Christine is, cannot. Christine is in the right on this one, as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote in 1994: Though it was written in 1994, the Church’s guidance on this matter hasn’t changed.

  • Here is what we need next. We need laymen to start outing a few Sodomites in the line to the priest. I’ve done this before when people I knew weren’t Orthodox. They gave me the finger and stepped out of line. It felt good.

  • Tim, Really? don’t you think we are way past some kind of witch hunt at the communion line? I mean, ther eis practically no exclusion now at all it seems.

  • Tim

    It is odd that this is being reported as a news story.

    It’s especially infuriating when editors choose to print this story when there are so many men being bitten by dogs.

  • I think the problem (at least, as I see it) isn’t necessarily that she was denied communion, but more that she was humiliated and excluded at her mother’s funeral. Certainly we should protect the Eucharist at all costs, but that priest could definitely have handled it better (for example, mentioning something when the woman first introduced herself & her partner).  The woman is grieving, and the role of the church is to comfort and welcome, not to humiliate. Correction is necessary, but should always be done with love.

    • Anonymous

      I see and appreciate what you are saying Kate, but how insulting would it have been had the Priest told the Daughter, “Dear, make sure you don’t partake in Communion, okay.” 
      NOT knowing if she was or not.  He probably guessed, as would Most of us, that she would NOT partake. 
      So to jump the gun like that would have been mocking and insulting, don’t you think?

      • Heyburn

        Agreed. Not all funeral masses include the Sacrament. Maybe he should have just skipped it and saved the woman any pain.

  • I just don’t see Jesus denying the sacrament to anyone.  Kind of goes against everything he preached, actually

    • I believed He preached, “Go and sin no more”. Where in her 19 years living as a practicing lesbian with her partner would you find the “and no more” part of His admonishment?   

    • Dan

      St Paul, who taught eith the authority given him directly from Christ, said “He who eats of the Lord unworthily is guilt of the Lords death”

      In other words, if someone recieves the Blessed Sacrament while in a state of grave sin]living in sin with another], he eats damnation upon himself.

      Not my words, the Churches teaching.

  • Ann

    It doesn’t matter what the topic is. A newspaper could write an article that had only two words in it “Catholic” and “Church” and you could get the same predictable comments regardless.

  • At my hometown this Christmas, my transexual cousin presented himself for communion. he is not known to my priest so he just looked like a very tall woman. When i realized what he was doing i didn’t have enough time to stop him. Also, my divorced cousin, his brother, was receiving as well. I have been trying for two weeks to get to reconcilliation to talk to my priest about this…i don’t really know if it is my sin, but just in case. i decided to let it go. it was a holiday and we haven’t seen them in many years. he has AIDs and almost died a few years ago. If we are ever going to Mass again, or the next time i see them, i am talking to both of them. They are Catholic School children; they know better. Or maybe they don’t. Either way, I see my responsibility is to let them know its a mortal sin. After that, other than telling the priest, I beleive its up to them. Maybe in this case, the funeral mass of the mother was not the best time. However, if the priest doesn’t know when he would have another opportunity to tell her, there is no other time. Its not an easy time we live in…

  • K C

    Wow, I’m really surprised at the comments here.  It reflects the sad
    truth that even those of us who should be better informed, have
    swallowed the lie of moral relativism that Pope Benedict refers to as
    “a dictatorship.”

    Basically it seems that there is no evil in the world except that of
    making someone feel “excluded” or “humiliated.”  Jesus chastised the
    woman at the well.  He said to her, “Go and sin no more.”  He did NOT
    say, “Find someone better-looking the next time you shack up.”

    If we deny the existence of real sin, we deny that there was any reason
    for the passion and death of Christ.  If everything is okay, why would
    we need redemption?

    The only possible explanation for the woman presenting herself for Holy
    Communion would be that in her heart she believes she is not sinning. 
    But certainly then, the priest in his heart of hearts believes that he
    cannot, in good conscience, give her the Eucharist.  It’s unfortunately
    that she was humiliated at her mother’s funeral in her time of grief,
    but actions have consequences as do lifestyle choices.  Unfortunately,
    we are going to be seeing serious consequences of bad choices for many
    years to come. 

    The mainstream media and pop culture has embarked upon a campaign of
    indoctrination that undermines everything that Christianity teaches. 
    It’s going to be a real challenge to stand strong in the face of these
    attacks.  It makes me glad I’m old and don’t have to stay here to see
    the chaos near the end.

    God save us all.

  • Well said!!  I completely agree with all you’ve stated.  Since hearing this story my blood pressure has gone thru the roof because once again we see someone demanding the Catholic Church deny its own teachings in order to cater to the demands of someone who has no respect for the Church’s teachings and just wants to have it their way.  Well the Catholic Church is NOT Burger King!  If you don’t like Catholic teaching or can’t accept it’s teachings, don’t be a Catholic.  Quit whining and demanding your way…it’s irritating to the rest of us.

  • Anonymous

    He is.  He is. Yes, He most certainly Is Fully Present. Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

    Love your Style, Chica 😉

  • Dr. Eric

    Good Grief!  Imagine if that woman would have presented herself for Communion at an Orthodox Church.  Actually, I think she would have been thrown out of the church after she presented her lesbian lover to the priest.  The Orthodox know how to protect the Holy Mysteries.  If the priest doesn’t recognize you, he won’t give you Communion.  Visiting Orthodox Christians will bring letters from their priests to show that they are Orthodox Christians in good standing.

  • Marcy K.

    The article that I read  stated that before the mass she went to the priest and introduced her partner.  That would have been the time for the priest to tell her not to come to communion.  She said he did not.  A witness for him says he did.  HE was reprimanded because he only told her when she came up and that should have been discussed privately.  Dr. Ed Peters says this should be a serious discussion, not a casual quick one.

    Motive also comes into play.  I think that one or both of these things happened:  She did this delibrately to test what would happen and then went to the press on purpose.  I would like to think that she did not do this on the day of her mother’s funeral to test the Church.  Though, if she was not close to her mother that could be.  She did however go to the press and her letter to the priest was very confrontational:  “I will do everything in my power to see that you are removed from
    parish life so that you will not be permitted to harm any more
    families.”  She may not have intended to make this a cause celebre originally, but certainly used it that way.  She felt humiliated and is determined to ruin the priest and the archdiocese to promote her cause.  The whole thing is sad because it does more damage to the mission of Christ.  Lord, Please come soon.

  • Heyburn

    I am Catholic and completely understand your point. At my church we have a deacon that is divorced and remarried. We also have Eucharistic minister who are divorced. I was taught that divorce is against our faith. I rechecked Catholic teachings and it still is. I do not see where the Church teaches that one sin is better or worse than others. How is it that divorced people can be allowed to administer communion but a gay person can’t receive it? I was also trouble bymthempriest judging the woman and making the decision to deny her communion. Again, Catholic teachings say God and only God can judge us. Jesus said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”. Finally, the Archdioses issued an apology saying that the priest should not have taken that decision into his own hands. So who is right? I would truly be interested in your response.