Archbishop Burke Got it Right:
The Eucharist is a Gift, Not a Right
I have been asked to regularly contribute articles to Catholic Action for Faith and Family’s web site. This organization was founded by a very dear friend of mine, Mr. Thomas McKenna, whom I have known and worked with for many years.
In my first column I would like to comment on a recent interview with His Grace, Archbishop Raymond Burke, also appearing for the first time on this web page. This is a most poignant and pertinent interview in that the archbishop addresses an issue which is a vital concern for all of us priests: respect and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. The recent desecration of the Holy Eucharist by an avowed atheist college biology professor was only the tip of the iceberg. His heinous act of blasphemy by publicly desecrating a consecrated Host was an act of pure belligerent prejudice and bigotry against Catholicism.
Worse than that, however, is the willful act of making a sacrilegious Communion by Catholics themselves. To whom much is given, more is expected. Archbishop Burke mentions two essential goods Canon Law seeks to preserve: the good of the person and the common good of the entire Church.
When a Catholic is banned from receiving Holy Communion it is meant to be a medicinal penalty, i.e., it is hopefully a temporary state during which the person repents of their evil ways. The penalty seeks to convince the perpetrator that their sinful behavior has unpleasant consequences. Moreover, Holy Mother Church so loves the wayward sinner that she does not want him or her to dig a deeper hole by compounding their sins.
Sacrilegious Communion occurs whenever a person KNOWINGLY and DELIBERATELY receives the Holy Eucharist unworthily, i.e., in the state of mortal sin.
The Church prefers the person to wait until he or she goes to confession and can repent. This is the private good sought. The public, common good is the integrity of the Sacraments. When public sinners or infamous pro-abortion politicians blatantly defy Church discipline banning them from Holy Communion, not only are they harming themselves individually but they also hurt the Mystical Body of Christ. Public scandal occurs whenever a member of the faithful openly defies church law or publicly dissents from authentic teaching. They injure their own spiritual health but also endanger others through bad example. Others may feel inclined to imitate their bad behavior. Leading others astray is worse than being guilty of individual sin alone.
Archbishop Burke aptly points out that banning notorious unrepentant sinners and notorious politicians who support abortion from Holy Communion is motivated out of love. Love Holy Mother Church has for each individual son or daughter as well as love for all her children in general. She must discipline the wayward and correct him or her for their own sake AND for the sake of the rest of her family. It would be an injustice to the sinner and to us all if there were no restrictions in canon law regarding Holy Communion made irreverently.
One sacrilegious Communion offends God greatly, harms the spiritual welfare of the culprit and can lead the weak astray by bad example. Far from being unfair and nasty, this response by the Church is what any good and responsible parent does for one and for all their children. I invite you to sign up and receive our emails to keep better informed on issues effecting Holy Mother Church, our Catholic Faith and our Judaeo-Christian culture.
Archbishop Burke Got It Right: The Eucharist is a Gift, Not a Right - Father John Trigilio, Jr 15 August 2008