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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!