Withholding Communion at Mass
ROME, SEPT. 14, 2006 (Zenit) - Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.
Q: I was at a Catholic wedding where the priest only gave the holy Eucharist to the two newlyweds. Later I found out that he did this because he feared a mixed congregation -- some who might not be Catholic or who might be in the state of mortal sin -- and didn't want to risk giving the holy Eucharist to such a person. However, there were many faithful there who felt hurt and offended that we couldn't receive the Eucharist. Was this an appropriate action on the part of the priest? -- J.S., St. Louis, Missouri
A: While the priest showed commendable respect and reverence for the Eucharist, I do not believe he acted correctly in this case.
In diverse societies such as the United States, celebrations such as weddings and funerals almost always convene people of many stripes and different faiths. Therefore the danger of someone incorrectly receiving Communion is very real.
But it is not a new problem, and parishes across the country have found many viable solutions.
In some cases the pastor or another person makes an appropriate announcement either before Mass or before Communion. This announcement tactfully explains that, because it is central to our faith, Communion is reserved to Catholics in the state of grace.
Another means is to clearly print the requirements for Communion and distribute it to those present or even include it in the special booklets that are usually prepared on occasion of weddings.
If he has taken appropriate steps to inform those present of the importance of receiving Communion in the state of grace, then responsibility for an unworthy Communion falls exclusively upon the conscience of the person who receives it.
It is not the priest's task to take pre-emptive action against possible offenses against the Eucharist by limiting the distribution of the sacrament.
Also, the priest should not deprive the faithful who are in the state of grace of the opportunity of fully participating in the Sacrifice of the Mass by receiving Communion. In doing so, he unjustly deprives them of their rights as baptized Catholics.
In conclusion, I offer an excerpt from a sample text to be printed in participation aids. This very useful (document is published by the U.S. bishops' Committee on the Liturgy.
"Guidelines for the Reception of Communion
"As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion. We are encouraged to receive Communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible (canon 916). A frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance is encouraged for all.
"For Other Christians
"We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ's prayer for us 'that they may all be one' (Jn 17:21).
"Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law (canon 844 § 4). Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the discipline of their own Churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of communion by Christians of these Churches (canon 844 § 3).
"For Those Not Receiving Communion
"All who are not receiving Holy Communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayerful desire for unity with the Lord Jesus and with one another.
"We also welcome to this celebration those who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ. While we cannot admit them to Holy Communion, we ask them to offer their prayers for the peace and the unity of the human family."
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Communion, Mass, Eucharist, McNamara
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Skeptic filmmaker explores demonic possession, admits it can be 'very ...
- Day 2 - Novena to the Saints in Heaven for the saints on earth HD Video
- St. John of Capistrano: Saint of the Day for Monday, October 23, 2017
- Pope Francis speaks about putting God first and reality
- Skeptic explores demonic possession, admits it can be 'very real' HD ...
- Daily Readings for Monday, October 23, 2017
- Are you called to be a missionary? The answer is YES YOU ARE!
- saint paul
- saint christopher
- st mary
- nicene creed
- our lady of guadalupe
- saint francis of assisi
- young children
- Saint Nicole
- st. michael
- saint francis
- st nicholas
- all saints day
- list of saints
- st anne
- st christopher
- St. Joseph
- juan diego
- francis of assisi
- Day 1 - Novena to the Saints in Heaven for the saints on earth HD
- Evil money - George Soros pays to start a revolution in America HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, October 24th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way