The Bishops and the Eucharist

Amid the contrived hysteria over the U.S. Bishops’ commissioning a draft document on the Eucharist, some calm, rational clarification is in order.

To begin with, whatever document ultimately emerges from this process will NOT—because it CANNOT—bar President Biden, or any abortion-supporting Catholic politician, from reception of Communion. That authority is delegated to diocesan bishops, acting individually; not to national bishops’ conferences acting as a body.

Probably, the draft—which will be subject to discussion, debate, and proposed amendments before a final vote next fall—will reiterate long-standing Church teaching that anyone in a state of unrepentant grave sin may not worthily receive the body and blood of Jesus; and that publicly, obstinately promoting the legalized, deliberate mass destruction of innocent human lives constitutes such grave sin.

Nor, despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth by pro-abortion politicians, activists, and media—not to mention ill-informed or disingenuous Catholics—is this an attempt by the bishops to politicize the Eucharist, using it to influence elections or legislation.

Theoretically, it could have that peripheral effect—although I doubt it, given that pro-abortion Catholic politicians tend to proudly wear rebukes from their bishops as political badges of courage.

In any event, that is not the purpose of withholding the sacraments from a public figure.

When a bishop does so, he is acting not in the temporal realm of laws and public policies. He is acting as a spiritual shepherd, responsible for the salvation of souls.

As such, he has made a determination that this most drastic action is necessary: first, to warn the offending Catholic public figure that he or she is imperiling their immortal soul by persisting in using their power and influence to promote a grave moral evil; and secondly, to warn other Catholics in public life against jeopardizing their souls by being led into promoting the same moral evil.   

Having determined that this action is necessary to save souls, a bishop cannot be deterred by its perceived effect on laws and public policies, nor on public opinion or media reaction.

In 1962, New Orleans Archbishop Joseph Rummel excommunicated three prominent Catholics for their very public, and obstinate, promotion of racial segregation. Through the severity of this act, he hoped to make them realize that their publicly avowed racism was placing their souls in grave danger—and thereby persuade them to turn away from that moral evil. Two of them ultimately did so, recanting their support for racial segregation and returning to the Church’s good graces before they died.   

While we cannot know how many other Catholics might have been dissuaded from supporting segregation by the archbishop’s action, that purpose—avoiding “giving scandal” by leading others into serious sin—was surely part of his motivation as well.

Some on the Catholic left are engaging in all kinds of contortions to differentiate between Archbishop Rummel’s excommunication of Catholic segregationists, and today’s possible denial of Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.  

But the only differences that really matter seem to involve the issues being addressed and the Catholic politicians being affected.

Archbishop Rummel’s action was widely popular in progressive circles and mainstream media at the time—and is lauded by them today—because they staunchly, and rightly, oppose racial segregation.

Similar action by today’s bishops toward Catholic politicians who promote abortion is wildly unpopular in progressive circles and mainstream media, because they almost universally support unrestricted abortion.  And it is unpopular among some on the Catholic left because they like the generally “progressive” positions that most pro-abortion Catholic politicians take on “other issues.” They reduce the injustice of abortion to a “single issue,” and berate the bishops for prioritizing it—even as they have no problem with Archbishop Rummel’s having prioritized the “single issue” of racial injustice.

As I have written previously, I do not advocate withholding the Eucharist from pro-abortion Catholic politicians, and I certainly do not believe in lobbying bishops to do so. Some pro-life Catholics do urge the bishops to such action, either because they believe—mistakenly, in my view—that it will be helpful in restoring legal protection for the unborn; or because they want Catholic politicians punished for their role in facilitating the killing of unborn children.

But neither of those reasons is the purpose of such action by the bishops; nor is it for us to judge whether and when a bishop should be moved to such a drastic measure. Which is why I also oppose lobbying bishops against taking such action, as progressive Catholics are wont to do.

This awesome responsibility is placed solely on the shoulders of the bishops, acting as spiritual shepherds. As such, it is to be invoked only when a bishop deems it necessary to safeguard souls—the soul of the person who persists in grave moral evil, and the souls of others who might be led by his behavior into the same moral evil. The purpose is not to punish, but to save souls.

Thus, when a bishop, acting in good conscience and guided by Church teaching and the facts of a specific case, deems it necessary, as an urgent spiritual corrective, to withhold the Eucharist from an individual who persists in publicly promoting a grave moral evil—such as abortion—he should have the prayerful support of all Catholics.

It is not surprising that pro-abortion politicians, activists, and media would misread, misunderstand, or willfully mischaracterize the bishop’s intent.

No faithful Catholic should join in doing so.      

Published by Rick Hinshaw

I have spent the last three decades in primarily Catholic communications work: as a reporter, news editor, columnist, and for eight years editor of The Long Island Catholic; several years as co-host and co-producer of The Catholic Forum program on the diocesan Telecare channel; two stints as Director of Communications for the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights; and a year as Associate Director for Communications at the New York State Catholic Conference. I also served for three years as Public Information Officer for the late Nassau County District Attorney Denis Dillon, a staunchly Catholic and active pro-life leader. Over that more than 30-year career, I have gained an ever deeper understanding of and appreciation for the moral and social teachings of our Church. In my various roles I have lent my voice to articulating those teachings and their applicability to the critical issues of our time. That is what I intend to do with this blog. Moreover, at a time when our political and social disagreements seem to have degenerated into constant vitriol, vilification, verbal abuse and intolerance of those who hold differing opinions, I hope that this blog can contribute, in some small way, to a restoration of respectful debate and discussion, where we can defend our beliefs forcefully without demonizing any who disagree with us. As a Catholic commentator, that is what I have always striven to do--remembering that even as we are called to stand firmly in defense of our Church, her teachings, and our right to be heard in the public square, we are also called always to be the face of Christ to the world--most especially to those with whom we disagree.

18 thoughts on “The Bishops and the Eucharist

  1. Rick
    Is the converse true? Should a conscientious bishop who decides not to withhold the Eucharist also receive support?
    Pat

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    1. Pat, thanks for joining the conversation. You raise an important question, and the answer is yes, when a bishop, similarly acting in good conscience, guided by Church teaching and the facts of the specific case, deems it NOT necessary or advisable for the salvation of souls to withhold the Eucharist from a Catholic in public life who is promoting a grave moral evil, I believe that bishop also should have our PRAYERFUL support–by which I meant, not necessarily our public approbation, but our support “in prayer.” We are of course free to reach a different conclusion than a bishop does–when he withholds Communion or when he does not–but my own view is that we should pray for them in either case, and not engage in public criticism; remembering that this ecclesial decision is THEIR responsibility, to be made, as I wrote, as shepherds of souls. This is consistent with my stated disapproval of lobbying bishops either for or against such action.

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  2. Thanks Rick for your continued discussion of this very important subject.

    I pray to St. Joseph, who always comes to my aid, to assist me in writing further.

    Here is the very worthy conclusion that you have reached and I’ve copied it here for emphasis:
    “Thus, when a bishop, acting in good conscience and guided by Church teaching and the facts of a specific case, deems it necessary, as an urgent spiritual corrective, to withhold the Eucharist from an individual who persists in publicly promoting a grave moral evil—such as abortion—he should have the prayerful support of all Catholics.”

    In your reflection you mentioned valid reasons we should NOT use to try to convince bishops to withdraw the Eucharist from these politicians. Yes, their salvation is a prominent reason as every life matters. But I would also like to note the negative effect of their evil on the rest of the population whose souls are also in peril due to the influence of these politicians. This is the vast difference between the common person’s obstinate persistence in evil and that of the Catholic politician.

    And it is not only the evils of abortion, euthanasia and legal infanticide but now evil is extended to minor children who can chose to mutilate their own bodies with or without parental consent. Their misguided parents often support this and indeed promote it as it brings them notoriety!

    In your conclusion you rightly use the words “an urgent spiritual corrective” as so many souls are at cataclysmic risk. This should have been dealt with decades ago but alas the bishops of the entire world have failed to recognize the disastrous consequences of leaving these politicians to continue in their error. How many souls have been lost in the interim?

    I wonder if the election of Joe Biden was through Divine intervention for the purpose of finally bringing this calamity to a bright light. However, I don’t think Bishop Gregory (now “Cardinal”!) will take action regardless. The bishops are not in their position to be popular but rather to shepherd their flock by upholding Church teaching.

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    1. Thank you, Walter, for another thoughtful, and prayerful, response.

      I did address the danger of “giving scandal,” leading others into grave sin, which, as you note, is more pronounced when the offender is a public figure. Still, as Archbishop Chaput acknowledged in the article you sent me last December—even while stating unequivocally that Joe Biden “should not receive Communion”—“denying Communion to public officials is not always wise or the best pastoral course. Doing so in a loud and forceful manner may cause more harm than good.”

      Thus, according to Church law, it is up to each individual bishop to determine what is the best pastoral course in a given situation. And he must be guided by his spiritual responsibility as the shepherd of souls, NOT by temporal concerns like laws and public policy. This is not to minimize their importance on such grave moral matters as you identify. And certainly, our bishops need to make their voices heard in the public square on laws and policies governing such moral issues.

      But when judging whether to withhold the sacraments, they are not to be influenced by such matters. If they judge it not to be pastorally appropriate, they are not to do so even if they think it would advance pro-life legislation. If they think it is pastorally appropriate, they are not to be deterred from doing so even if they think it would hurt pro-life legislative efforts—or if they think the public relations fallout would be terrible for the Church or the pro-life cause. They are to be guided, as I understand it, solely by the impact they think such action, or inaction, will have on the salvation of souls—the soul of the public figure who persists in grave sin, and the souls of others who might be led into grave sin by his or her behavior.

      For this reason, as Archbishop Chaput emphasized, when a bishop does take such action it is not a “political” act but an act of pastoral intervention by a spiritual shepherd. And the decision of the U.S. Bishops to commission a document on the Eucharist is also a pastoral, not political, undertaking (Bishop McElroy’s calumnious accusations of “weaponizing the Eucharist” notwithstanding). The bishops apparently intend to reiterate what the Eucharist is—the real presence of Christ’s body and blood—and to remind Catholics, at a time when we have a president who proclaims himself a devout Catholic and very publicly presents himself for Communion, that none of us should receive this sacred sacrament while in an unrepentant state of serious sin. How each bishop then implements that teaching in his diocese is, again, for him to judge, guided, as always, by the Holy Spirit—not by us lobbying him. We, as lay Catholic citizens, are called to do our lobbying in the halls of government.

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  3. Thank you Rick for your response and expansion of your thoughts. As a result, a further question has occurred to me.

    There are many Catholics living in an unconsecrated relationship and they are not to receive the Holy Eucharist. These are people who are not aiding and abetting in the killing of innocents yet they are rightly denied Communion.

    I hope I’m wrong with this impression but it seems the Church is on the way to leaving up to individual bishops the decision to extend the Eucharist to errant Catholic politicians while they would certainly not give those “living in sin” the same consideration. No, they would tell them to remedy the situation and then return to the Eucharist.

    How then can it be optional for bishops to excuse a persistently sinful Catholic politician who is aiding and abetting immoral life-ending practices? Shouldn’t they be held to the same standard as our brethren “living in sin”?

    Thanks again Rick for opening this conversation.

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    1. Thank you, Walter, you have raised an excellent point. There has long been spirited debate as to whether a public official who helps enact, preserve, and promote laws that permit immoral behavior is responsible, according to Church teaching, for the immoral acts committed by others in accord with those laws. For example, is the Catholic public official who consistently promotes legal abortion equally responsible, and thus equally unworthy to receive the Eucharist, as the woman who has an abortion, the abortionist who does the procedure, or anyone (the baby’s father, the mother’s family, friends, etc.) who may have had a direct hand in persuading, encouraging, or pressuring her to abort her baby? (Presuming, of course, that they are all unrepentant).

      As I wrote in a previous blog post, Cardinal Ratzinger seemed to answer that question definitively back in 2003, when he wrote:

      “When a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin.” He should be warned “that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist,” and “If the person continues to promote these attacks on innocent human life,” and “with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.”

      That’s pretty clear; and yet, it remains my understanding that it is for the individual bishop—the vicar of Christ for his diocese—to determine whether and when to implement this (again, as even Archbishop Chaput said, it is not always pastorally advisable).

      And there are practical concerns with being refused the Eucharist when on the Communion line at Sunday Mass: it can be disruptive to other communicants, and worse, what if the priest—or lay extraordinary minister—MISTAKENLY thinks they recognize the person as their local pro-abortion legislator, and thereby erroneously denies the Eucharist to someone who is NOT that person? That in itself would be scandalous.

      For this reason, I think my own approach, were I a bishop, would be to instruct the politician privately that, in the future Pope Benedict’s words, “he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin.” Then, if he does so, the sin will be on his soul, his bishop having instructed him clearly.
      That is, I believe, the approach generally taken with those in the situations you refer to: living together outside a valid marriage, living in a homosexual relationship, etc. I don’t know that they are actually turned away at the Communion line if they ignore their pastor’s or bishop’s instruction and seek to receive anyway.

      Of course, they are generally not “public persons”—although some are, of course. So that doesn’t really answer another of our concerns, the idea of a public person “giving scandal,” potentially drawing others into the same serious sin by seeming to still be able to partake of the Eucharist. And my suggested approach, privately instructing the person and leaving it at that, also ignores the second part of Cardinal Ratzinger’s directive, that if the person, “with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.”

      So where does that leave us? Well, it leaves me glad I am not a bishop, and not entrusted by God with such a terrifying responsibility. I am happy to instead be a Catholic lay person whose calling is clear: make my voice as a citizen heard in the public square; use my vote and my political activity to try to restore protection for the sanctity of human life; and pray for our priests and bishops, that the Holy Spirit will guide them in how best to instruct and pastor those pro-abortion Catholic politicians whose souls are in their care.

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  4. By and large I find much of the article and conversation to be sterile – church teaching and a somewhat utopian view of clergy’s treatment of politicians, along with an undercurrent of the traditional attitude of presuming the best intentions of the clergy. In the real world, American Catholic politicians have been stomping unabashedly on the graves of millions of aborted preborn children for FIFTY years while the protestations from Catholic clergy overall against said politicians has been anemic. I find it disingenuous, at this point in time, to act as if the bishops of these politicians have not had AMPLE time (Andrew Cuomo has been NY governor for 10.5 years!) to go through the necessary preliminary steps (personal conversations, etc.) with the given politician in their diocese to then make a determination regarding withholding Communion. Considering the number of pro-abortion Catholic politicians over decades and the lack of those held to account by Catholic clergy, I draw the conclusion (call it cynical or judgmental) that too many bishops lack the will or the courage or even the interest to put Church teaching (as you say, ‘to save souls’) foremost, i.e. before politicking (money for Catholic education, etc.). If ‘faithful’ Catholics want to be ‘lobbying’ bishops about something, so be it. Per NYSDOH, there were 6,709 induced abortions in 2017 on women from Nassau & Suffolk (i.e. DRVC). As Francis Schaffer said, “Every abortion clinic should have a sign over the door that says – Open by permission of the churches in this area.”

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts, sorry you found the discussion “sterile.” I stand by my main points: that in my view withholding the Eucharist from pro-abortion Catholic politicians will NOT be helpful in restoring protection for the unborn; that in any event that is not its purpose; and that it is the bishop’s responsibility, not ours—for which he, not we, is answerable to God– to determine when it should be invoked for the purpose of trying to save souls. Time spent lobbying the bishops on this matter is time NOT spent on what is properly our role as lay Catholics: doing our part to elect pro-life public officials and promote pro-life laws and public policies. It is not helpful, in my view, to try to “flip the script”—demanding that the bishops do our job, influencing elections and public policies, while we presume to do theirs, determining when and whether the Eucharist should be denied to individual Catholics.

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      1. St. Joseph the Worker, pray for us!

        Of course, these comments are just my current opinion.

        I think CelB has a valid point in that U.S. bishops have had decades to follow Church teaching (Canon 915 based on 1 Cor. 11:26-29. The “Eucharistic Coherence” effort can and will do nothing to change Church teaching on this matter. The need for clarification has arisen due to both the decline of Catholics’ belief in the Real Presence and now sparked by Pres. Biden’s serious error of unworthy Eucharistic reception.

        Further, in politely disagreeing with you Rick, I think that this current effort of “Eucharistic Coherence” is in part due to the faithful contacting (lobbying?) bishops about the need for them to speak out in unison regarding worthiness for reception of Communion. They have failed terribly since Roe v. Wade in 1973. CelB rightly calls their action “anemic”. Perhaps the “election” of Joe Biden, ironically, may have provided the impetus to correct this failure and actually help bring awareness of the killing of 62 million people in the U.S.A.

        Also, I thought Vatican !! encouraged the laity to be more involved in advancing the Church but I’m not sure what the boundaries are.

        The word, “communion” speaks loudly in that bishops must all use the same guidelines to determine if they should take action to try to save the souls of renegade Catholic politicians as well as errant commoners among us. Both St. Paul and Canon 915 are as specific as a yardstick. As such, I see no possible room for one bishop saying “I will take the prescribed actions” and another saying “I will not”. Yes, it is their responsibility to act but the subject is also part of our domain as members of the Church. They are bound by their office to follow Church teaching. Let’s pray they don’t cave to political pressures due to issues like funding for Catholic education as CelB notes or fear of disenfranchising “liberal” Catholics.

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  5. Hi Rick,
    Here’s what I found in the Catechism with regard to lobbying clergy:

    907 “In accord with the knowledge, competence, and preeminence which they possess, [lay people] have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons.”

    What do you think?
    Walter

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    1. Yes, Walter, you have hit on another purpose of withholding the Eucharist, which I failed to include: the integrity of the sacraments and of Church teaching–which, along with the matter of avoiding giving scandal, perhaps does, in a general sense, justify a certain level of input from the laity. But that is a far cry from me telling a bishop, about a specific person, “You should, or must, excommunicate so-and-so, or deny this man the Eucharist.” It was to the apostles–the first clergy–that Jesus gave the charge: “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” He did not give that responsibility to the laity; and so my presuming to tell a bishop whom, specifically, he should and should not exclude from the Eucharist is assuming an authority manifestly outside my role as a lay person. I do not think doing so is what is meant by the Catechism passage you cite.
      Beyond that, I simply reiterate my position, which I know many disagree with: that withholding the Eucharist from pro-abortion Catholic politicians is NOT a shortcut to restoring legal protection for the unborn, both because that is not its purpose, and because, in my view, it will not work; but that whenever a bishop, acting as a shepherd of the Church and the faithful, does so in order to save souls, avoid giving scandal, or preserve the integrity of the sacraments and Church teaching, he shall have my full, unqualified, and prayerful support.

      I am not AGAINST such action; I am just trying to offer my perspective on its proper purpose, and caution against demands for its improper use–demands that, in my view, can themselves be improper.

      Thanks, Walter. I have thought about this at great length over the years, but you continue to prompt me to keep digging deeper, probing the depths of Church law and teaching, and respecting the feelings of those who disagree with me.

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      1. Hi Rick, thank you for your response and again, thank you for making this forum available.

        If you don’t mind, I would very much like to pursue this a bit further and attain a measure of peace on this subject.

        I wouldn’t presume to tell a bishop what he should do but I am perplexed about what options he has.

        When addressing a similar moral concern Jesus said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe [in me] to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea” (Mk 9:42). Jesus didn’t mention any exceptions.

        Might this logic be applied to Catholic politicians supporting abortion – that is, can there be exceptions for a bishop not exercise his authority to correct the politician? It seems to me they are obligated to address the issue since the salvation of souls is at stake – the politician’s, those they wrongly influence, and the bishops themselves. To ignore the situation seems an example of moral relativism (https://slife.org/relativism/). Can you see any valid hypothetical reason for exception?

        If not, then it further seems to me that Canon 915-6 must be applied if the person does not heed the bishop’s warning.

        Thanks for listening Rick!
        Walter

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  6. Just received today from the Catholic League link to Fr Macrea. Here’s the last paragraph:

    How could our bishops possibly expect otherwise faithful Catholics in unrecognized second marriages to accept in good faith the discipline of refraining from Communion while the most pro-abortion Catholic politician in history is given a pass. The path of rightousness in this will not be easy for our bishops. As Father Michael Orsi wrote in a recently published letter to the Wall Street Journal: “This will take courage, but it will separate the shepherds from the hired hands.”

    https://beyondthesestonewalls.com/posts/gordon-macrae/biden-and-the-bishops-communion-and-the-care-of-soul?ss_source=sscampaigns&ss_campaign_id=60e5195fb95b530f72cd0f45&ss_email_id=60e588e70d50971ff2295aa8&ss_campaign_name=Biden+and+the+Bishops%3A+Communion+and+the+Care+of+a+Soul&ss_campaign_sent_date=2021-07-07T10%3A58%3A55Z

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    1. Thanks, Walter, yes I’ve corresponded with Fr. Macrae while at the Catholic League, and Father Orsi is a friend from my days as diocesan Family Ministry director, when he started a Family Life Consortium for dioceses in the NY-NJ metro area, and invited me to participate. I hold him and his insights in highest regard, so I appreciate this quote.
      Again, I am not OPPOSED to bishops withholding the Eucharist from pro-abortion politicians, nor do I want to be misunderstood as suggesting that this moral evil is somehow less grave than living in a marital or co-habiting situation deemed by the Church to be sinful. It is FAR more grave, it is heinous, for a Catholic in government to use his power and influence to publicly promote, and enable, the mass killing of innocents. But in making that case, Walter, let’s not minimize the marital offense as simply “unrecognized” by the Church. It is more than that. It is sinful in the eyes of the Church.
      That said, my argument continues to be that it is not our role as laity to lobby the bishops–or to INSTRUCT the bishops–to withhold the sacraments from an individual Catholic in either case. I would no sooner presume to tell a bishop, or my pastor, that they should deny Communion to a parishioner whom I know to be living in a sinful relationship, than I would a politician who is promoting abortion. That pertains not to the relative gravity of either offense, but to my proper role as a lay Catholic–and to the bishop’s proper role in making such determinations as the shepherd of souls in his diocese. (Priests, I think, have a different role, as they too are spiritual shepherds, and so their insights should be valued and considered–even if not always implemented–by their bishop.)
      Part of my concern here stems from resistance to those, generally more liberal and sometimes dissident Catholics, who insist that the Church conduct itself on the model of a political democracy: bishops chosen by the laity; diocesan and parish governance given over to the laity; and even Church teaching subject to “majority rule.” More orthodox Catholics, understanding that the truths of Church teaching, and the hierarchical order ordained by Christ (“Thou art Peter…”), are not subject to democratic whims, generally reject this impulse to democratize the Church–except when they don’t, because they are unhappy when the bishops don’t behave as they want. Then they too seem to want to democratize the Church, pressuring the bishops to act as they wish, instructing the bishops as to how to conduct their sacred office.
      I am not saying we should never be heard by the bishops; and in fact, most bishops today I think are much more open to input from the laity than in times past. Your previous point about the “coherence of the Eucharist” is an important one. I think we do better, in raising that, to ask the bishops about it, explaining our concerns and our own understanding of Church teaching; rather than lobbying them, or presuming to instruct them–and assuming bad faith on their part if they don’t do what we want. And we should raise such matters in a general sense, not singling out specific persons whom we want the bishops to deny Communion to.
      For me, Walter, that is the bottom line, as I stated it in my latest blog post, on Biden and the Hyde Amendment: I have all I can do to try to prepare myself to worthily receive Christ’s body and blood, without my passing judgement on the worthiness of anyone else. That is not to say the bishops shouldn’t make such judgements; that is their responsibility. It is not mine.

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      1. Thanks for your reply Rick. You are certainly connected to wonderful priests!

        I apologize if what I’ve said gave the impression that laity should tell bishops to deny these politicians the Eucharist. I only advocate urging them to take the first step and speak to them as required by the Church Cannons. And I say that because I don’t see any alternative for them not to speak. Of course this is only my own strong belief in the absence of any reason put forward not to.

        Again Rick, thank you for your blog as you certainly provide thought-provoking subjects to help “practice” our precious faith!

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  7. Thanks, Walter, I so appreciate your comments, which are always thoughtful and stimulate good discussion. And I hope my comments don’t leave the impression that I am oblivious to the serious problem we have today with lack of reverence for, and even awareness of, the true nature of the Eucharist among many Catholics. You may remember the series we did on reverence for the Eucharist in the now-defunct Long Island Catholic newspaper, in which we cited instances of sacred hosts being found in the hymnal racks or on the floor after Mass. Certainly the specter of well-known Catholic public officials receiving Communion while proudly and unrepentantly proclaiming their support for the legalized mass killing of innocents contributes to this lack of reverence or even awareness that this is the sacred body and blood of Jesus. And so yes, we should make our concerns on this known to our bishops, as long as we do respectfully, with openness to their responses, and, as you say, without presuming to tell them what they should do in the case of individual Catholics.
    Again my thanks, Walter, for all your continued, and prayerful, input to this blog.

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