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Friday, December 3, 2021

USCCB Document on the Eucharist Part II: Sin Alienates us from God

The section of the Eucharistic document on sin, sacrifice, and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (paragraphs 10-50) reaffirms and summarizes the truths Catholics believe about the Eucharist. The bishops affirm the truth that sin separates us from God, and that Jesus came to save us from sin and reunite us to the Father. The sacrifice on Calvary and Christ's resurrection are the "eternal sign of His love," and the Mass is a re-presentation of that sacrifice. The holy Mass acts as a doorway "through which we, like the saints and mystics before us, may enter into a deeper perception of the mercy and love manifested in and through Christ’s sacramental presence in our midst." We should approach Almighty God, present in the Eucharist with holy fear (awe) and trembling. 

The bishops address the issue of mortal sin with this:

As the Church has consistently taught, a person who receives Holy Communion while in a state of mortal sin not only does not receive the grace that the sacrament conveys; he or she commits the sin of sacrilege by failing to show the reverence due to the sacred Body and Blood of Christ. St. Paul warns us that whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself (I Cor 11:27-29). To receive the Body and Blood of Christ while in a state of mortal sin represents a contradiction. The person who, by his or her own action, has broken communion with Christ and his Church but receives the Blessed Sacrament, acts incoherently, both claiming and rejecting communion at the same time. It is thus a counter-sign, a lie -- it expresses a communion that in fact has been broken.

This is all absolutely true. What's also true is that, by acknowledging and professing this, the bishops impose a judgment on themselves.  Voting in favor of the document while allowing those committing grievous public scandals to make themselves more fit for hell by receiving the Body of Christ in a likely state of mortal sin is also a "countersign" and "a lie." It's hard to believe some of the self-proclaimed "devout" Catholics like Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Tim Kaine, and others who champion the murder of children don't realized they are committing the terrifying sin of sacrilege. Those bishops who fail to "admonish the sinner," a spiritual work of mercy,  are guilty of enabling and cooperating in their sin.  God help them, or, as Jeremiah said, "Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture." (To his credit, Nancy Pelosi's archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone, has made it clear that she may not receive Communion in his diocese and, if President Biden visits, he will be refused as well.)

The paragraphs on the Real Presence are an obvious response to the tremendous loss of belief among the Catholic community at large, two thirds of whom don't believe the bread and wine are anything but bread and wine. How many of them, however, are likely to even read the bishops' document, much less have it impact their faith? 

Many people don't read at all these days. They don't read newspapers; they don't read books. They don't read the Bible. They are unlikely to read Church documents. If they do read, it's unlikely that the USCCB will be their publisher of choice.

Besides, actions speak louder than words and the actions of the bishops since the start of the "pandemic" hysteria speak many decibels louder about their belief (or lack of belief) in the Real Presence than the 59 paragraphs of the document. 

Not only that, I had to shake my head as I read this section.  You would think the Church said and taught almost nothing before Vatican II about these issues. Aside from Scripture, the sources quoted primarily come from the council fathers, Vatican II documents, and post Vatican II popes. The great saints of the Eucharist were almost invisible. A few saints got brief mentions, but the bulk of the footnotes promote Vatican II teaching as though the almost 2000 years preceding the council counted for nothing. 

The document quotes Canon Law 915 in a footnote after stating that the law "refers to this situation of a manifest lack of proper moral disposition":

“Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” Likewise, the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches states that “those who are publicly unworthy are forbidden from receiving the Divine Eucharist” (c. 712).

So we cut to the chase.  Those "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion." That's the law of the Church. But everyone knows that a law that is never imposed is meaningless. And, despite the bishops voting for a document that stipulates the law, very few will actually impose the medicinal remedy for sacrilege. They would rather have a seat at the table with the high and mighty than to correct them for the good of their souls. 

And that is a serious problem! The bishops have an obligation to "teach, govern, and sanctify." How many take that obligation seriously? How many teach sacrilege and scandal by their actions or omissions?

My Advent plan is to pray for my bishop, Michael Burbidge, daily and write him a letter every week. I'm having a Mass said for him during Advent and will have another said during the Christmas season. I will also be making little sacrifices during the day for his sanctification. We all need to pray for our bishops. "To whom much is given, much is expected." Judgment Day will be an earthquake for those shepherds who failed to do their duty. I want my bishop to hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant." 

Our Lady, Queen of the Apostles, intercede for our shepherds, the apostolic leaders of Holy Mother Church! 


Catechist Kev said...

"As the Church has consistently taught, a person who receives Holy Communion while in a state of mortal sin not only does not receive the grace that the sacrament conveys; he or she commits the sin of sacrilege by failing to show the reverence due to the sacred Body and Blood of Christ. St. Paul warns us that whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself (I Cor 11:27-29)."

You know the irony of this, Mary Ann? In the Novus Ordo Mass lectionary the faithful *never hear* verses 27 & 29 from St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians from chapter eleven! They are left out. One wonders why?

In the Traditional Latin Mass lectionary you will hear verses 27-29 *three times per year*!

[shaking head]

Why in the world would the USCCB issue a document quoting St. Paul in this manner (not necessarily a bad thing, BTW!) when a Catholic, assisting at Holy Mass at the average Novus Ordo Catholic parish, will never hear St. Paul's warning about receiving unworthily? (Since November 1969)

Frodo said...

This blog post is staggering in its presumption. If a bishop chooses to deny communion to certain individuals, that is his duty and his decision.

It is not the laity's.


End of story.

The last thing the Church needs a revolutionary rabble yelling at its clergy and telling them who belongs in the communion line and who doesn't. It's not just that: a lay person has no canonical standing to advise a priest that a third party is in a state of mortal sin and therefore morally unfit to receive communion.

Furthermore, the argument about "scandal" is morally untenable. Taking scandal at the irresponsible and foolish conduct of another, especially when you are speculating about the state of another's soul, is itself a sin.

However, I would agree that clergy have a duty to teach the importance of Sacramental and Moral Theology from the pulpit. If we don't do that, laity can and should raise that issue with their pastor.

Speaking of sin, a priest who does not understand the importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and who through his own negligence or laziness fails to promote and make available the Sacrament, may lose his soul due to his lack of zeal for the salvation of the souls of others.

Aqua said...

CatechistKev: That is interesting and not surprising.

Luther tried to remove three of my favorite books of the Bible: Hebrews, James and Jude. Luther referred to James as "the book of straw". I see James as the essence of the Christian faith, but it did not conform to Luther's theology.

That must be why Luther always irritated me, even as a cradle, born-again, evangelical Protestant Christian. By God's Grace I was repelled by the Protestant method of altering reality to fit the tenor of the times and to meet the needs of the moment and the crowd. Always changing - because Protestants are rooted in personal theology rather than the Divinely revealed Deposit of Faith.

"What gives you the right to interpret that way; by whose authority?", was a question I frequently asked all the way up to the point of conversion.

It is a Protestant feature to conform the Faith to the will.

It is a Catholic feature to submit the will to the Faith. Credo.

And so ... removing inconvenient Scriptures from the Nu Church Lectionary to drive a desired spiritual outcome is familiar to this ex-proddie. And it is still repulsive.

I'll stick with the Dogmatic Lectionary guaranteed by right in perpetuity by Papal Bull, Quo Primum, promulgated by the hero of the Faith - Pope St. Pius V. He who saved Christendom at Lepanto also saves Christendom today by his foresight and faith in enshrining the Tridentine Holy Sacrifice for all time.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I note, Frodo, that you just joined Blogger under that name which makes me wonder about your identity and whether you are really new to Blogger or just commenting under a new name. We'll see.

If one accepts your opinion, then Canon Law 915 is a pointless "law." It's just an opinion.

You're right that implementing it is up to the bishop, but there is no doubt at all as to the canon's clear call to refuse Communion to those committing manifest grave evil, like pro-abortion politicians.

That obligation has been reiterated by a number of high level clerics including Cardinal Arinze and Cardinal Burke, as well as Pope Benedict. Those bishops who ignore it and continue to allow politicians (bragging about their pro-abortion and pro-sodomy actions) are remiss in allowing them to receive Communion in their dioceses. That some of them, like Cardinal Cupich and Cardinal Gregory, publicize their permission magnifies the scandal making them complicit in the evil.

Aqua said...

Frodo: Bishops and Priests do not have authority to determine objective reality. Nor do they have authority to change the Gospel, once delivered. They have authority to preserve and pass on what is delivered to them, once for all. Period.

"8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." (Gal 1: 8,9)

Bishops and Priests have immense authority within the lane of the Deposit of Faith, in which they are servants in union with all other Priests and Bishops whomever lived and will live. In turn, all are in union with Jesus Christ - who is Master and Author of our Faith. She (Holy Mother Church) belongs to us all, a gift to mankind from God. We are not orphans, Laity no less than Bishops or Priests.

Objective reality is what it is. Bishops and Priests do not rule over and define objective reality. Laity are not knuckle dragging cretins (a stupid person) who just accept whatever is told to them by their Priest, regardless whether it is true or false, righteous or heretical. Again - if Angels do not have the power to preach any other gospel than that we have received (once for all - the Deposit of Faith), then certainly mortals like Bishops and Priests lack such authority as well. That is clear from Scripture and Tradition.

If Jesus reveals that the gate is small, the path narrow that leads to life; and that there is no other salvation given to men than through Jesus Christ - Bishops and Priests lack authority to speak anything different than that.

12Salvation exists in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

When a Priest is delivering the Word of God from the Sacred Deposit of Faith to the Laity, his authority is total and as is our duty for obedience.

When a Priest is creating and delivering something not recognizable to the Laity, something not clearly sourced and referenced to the Church's Magisterium his authority to act and our duty to submit is open to question.

I worship God through Holy Mother Church. I do not worship Bishops and Priests. The Deposit of Faith is closed and it is a quantifiable thing all can see and know. We all have a duty to live within it. If a Bishop or Priest has departed from it and is leading the Flock away from it is our duty not only to remain within the Faith, once delivered, but to also correct that Bishop or Priest for the sake of his soul.

You are wrong in this way: Bishops and Priests do not rule over the Faith but are rather its servants *in union* (so crucial to know this), in union with all others who ever lived, or will live, in union further with the Author of our Faith Jesus Christ who does not change, nor can He change. And we all share in this duty, this privilege.

Aqua said...

As an example of the differences I referenced above:

Extract from Quo Primum (note the ongoing references to We, Us, Our - all capitalized - throughout)

“Hence, We decided to entrust this work to learned men of our selection. They very carefully collated all their work with the ancient codices in Our Vatican Library and with reliable, preserved or emended codices from elsewhere. Besides this, these men consulted the works of ancient and approved authors concerning the same sacred rites; and thus they have restored the Missal itself to the original form and rite of the holy Fathers. When this work has been gone over numerous times and further emended, after serious study and reflection, We commanded that the finished product be printed and published as soon as possible, so that all might enjoy the fruits of this labor; and thus, priests would know which prayers to use and which rites and ceremonies they were required to observe from now on in the celebration of Masses.

Let all everywhere adopt and observe what has been handed down by the Holy Roman Church, the Mother and Teacher of the other churches, and let Masses not be sung or read according to any other formula than that of this Missal published by Us.”

Extract fro Traditionis Custodes (note the exclusive use of the normative “I” throughout):

“At this time, having considered the wishes expressed by the episcopate and having heard the opinion of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I now desire, with this Apostolic Letter, to press on ever more in the constant search for ecclesial communion. Therefore, I have considered it appropriate to establish the following … ).”

One is scrupulously in union with the Sacred Deposit of Faith; the Pope in union with all other Popes both by Office and by Rule.

The other is sloppily declarative if the will of living Bishops and zero reference is made even to Vatican II as a source for this “Papal” Rule, much less anything else within the Sacred Deposit of Faith. There is no inference of Magisterial union with any other Pope … “I” covers everything he needs here.

This is a real problem.