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Prohibition is worthless without enforcement

6/28/2004 - 9:00 AM PST

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The bishops should have stuck to their original plan to have a prayerful retreat.  The eventuating ‘Statement’ was one big disappointment.

By Barbara Kralis

© Catholic Online 2004

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops met recently in Denver for their June plenary conference.  This year’s meeting, originally said to be a retreat, was held behind closed doors.  The usual visitors and observers were not invited.  Each bishop was warned not to respond to reporter’s requests to give interviews.

It is well known that a large number of Catholic faithful have petitioned their bishops to address the scandal of sacrilegious reception of the Eucharist by manifest sinners who obstinately persist in their grave sin.  They asked why c. 915 of the Code of Canon Law is not being enforced in all dioceses.

The bishops agreed to address the scandal of the Eucharist.  A ‘Committee’ [2] presented their ‘Statement’ to the entire Conference.

The Statement was put to a vote.  Overwhelmingly, 186 bishops gave it their support, with six bishops abstaining.  However, because of what the Statement failed to say, it is not clear whether the six abstaining bishops were in support of denying the Eucharist.[3]

The bishops should have stuck to their original plan of having a prayerful retreat, instead of just ‘retreating’ from public view.  The prayers would have done more good than the disappointing ‘Statement’ will do.

Only one part of the Statement will be discussed here and it can be summed up in one conspicuous sentence:

“Bishops can legitimately make different judgments on the most prudent course of pastoral action.”

The Bishops leave the impression that one of the options of a bishop is to permit or ‘admit’ a manifest sinner to Holy Communion.  However, this is not correct.  This sacrilege is forbidden by Canon Law c.915.

Insofar as the bishops did not state this clearly, they failed the people of God in professing the truth.

This is no small matter, especially in light of the persistent obstinacy of most bishops to apply canon law c.915.

No matter how each bishop reads c.915; it still says the same thing…manifest persons who obstinately persist in their grave sin must be denied Holy Communion.

Dear bishops, your recent Statement has not convinced the faithful, how can you convince those committing manifest mortal sin.

The sacrilege and scandal will continue and become more blatant.

The ‘Statement’ has given pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ politicians, campaigning throughout the U.S., the ‘option’ to continue to receive sacrilegious Communion in most any 19,000 parishes nationwide.  Only two bishops,[4] as of this writing, have issued canonical notifications saying they cannot receive sacrilegiously in their dioceses.

The Conference was not ‘united’ on this matter.  Issuing a compromising statement to appear ‘united’ is a false unity.

Let us look closer at this lack of ‘unity’ by examining some prominent U.S. bishop’s faulty statements as to why they will not stop the sacrilege:

Cardinal Mahony said he would welcome pro-abortion Sen. John Kerry to Communion in his diocese.

 “The Archdiocese will continue to follow church teaching which places the duty on each Catholic to examine their worthiness to receive Holy Communion.  That is not the role of the [minister of the Eucharist] distributing the Body and Blood of Christ,”[5]

The Cardinal is incorrect.  It is not church teaching to place the duty on the ‘manifest sinner’ as to his worthiness, especially when the sinner’s conscience is dead to truth.  Instead, Church teaching (c. 915) places the responsibility on ‘the minister’ – in Latin the canon reads ‘ne admittantur’ – who, in some canonists’ opinion, could be punished himself according to canon 1389 §2, should he unlawfully administer the sacrament with the consequent danger of scandal.  .[6]

Archbishop O’Malley, bishop to pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ Senators Kerry and Kennedy, has issued the same ineffectual statement, saying, “The Church presumes that each person is receiving in good faith.  It is not our policy to deny Communion.  It is up to the individual.” 

The Archbishop’s presumption is also faulty.

Cardinal George of Chicago and Cardinal McCarrick denied the Eucharist to sodomites wearing Rainbow sashes only because they were ...

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