Tuesday, December 7, 2010

re: "Expelling the '"Heretics'" (B.C. Courier Times, 12/7/10)

In his December 7th guest opinion, Peter R. Waitze talks of "litmus tests...imposed on others to determine who is an acceptable member of the in-crowd." While indicating that he is not himself a Catholic, Waitze takes exception to those Catholics who are critical of politicians who profess to be Catholic yet who advocate pro-abortion positions. He also takes exception to Catholics who remind other Catholics of basic requirements for the reception of Holy Communion.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Compendium of the Catechism, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, and the Code of Canon Law (i.e., Canon # 915) are readily available on the Vatican's web site, Catholics and non Catholics of the 21st century can readily ascertain and/or verify what the Church teaches. There is absolutely no need to create "litmus tests," other than what is already clearly proclaimed for all to see - even for those who choose to avert their eyes.

Shortly before before bumped upstairs, a Vatican Cardinal of German descent wrote about "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion":

  1. "....The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion, merely as a consequence of being present at Mass, is an abuse that must be corrected....
  2. "The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin....
  3. "Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia....There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.
  4. "Apart from an individual's judgment about his worthiness to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin (cf. can. 915).
  5. "Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, 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), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.
  6. "When 'these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,' and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, 'the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it'....This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin."
As to why so few Catholics are aware of this clear guidance from the man who is now our Holy Father, I cannot say. As to why we have heard so little about it from our clergy, I cannot say either. The answer to those questions is "beyond my pay grade" (smile).

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