01 April 2013

Is Denial from Holy Communion a Punishment?

If anyone received the e-mail at the bottom of this blog post and is a bit worried or concerned, I suggest you take note of the date of this e-mail and the date the “directive” was issued. You may also want to click on the source document, which explains that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the life and mission of the Church. However, perhaps you are concerned about something serious in this e-mail.

Many are unaware that all Catholics are obliged to assist at Mass on all Holydays of Obligation, which includes every Sunday (the Vigil Mass the evening before counts). If one does not assist at Mass on these days without being prevented by a serious reason, it is a grave negligence that must be taken to the Sacrament of Confession before receiving Holy Communion again.

This means that all C&E Catholics cannot receive Holy Communion unless they first go to Confession. And, the Confession is invalid if they have no intention of not committing this sin again.

This also means that those who stay up late the night before January 1st and feel too ill the next day to assist at the Mass celebrating the Solemnity of the Mother of God cannot receive Holy Communion again unless they first go to Confession. If you compare Mass attendance on January 1st, on which many parishes only have one Mass, with Mass attendance on the following Sunday, on which some parishes have three or more Masses, it is quite obvious that very many Catholics are completely unaware of this. Technically, the number of hosts needed on the Sunday after January 1st should be identical to the number consecrated on January 1st.

There are a number of other things that will prevent a person from receiving Holy Communion in the catholic Church: not being a member of the Church; denying a dogma of the Church, particularly publicly; sexual activity outside of a marriage that conforms to canonical form; and, a number of others.

Actually, this is not true. There is only one thing that will prevent a person from receiving Holy Communion in the catholic Church, aside from obedience: denying a dogma of the Church. A person that is not a member of the Church obviously denies such dogmas by not becoming a member of the Church. A person engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage is denying the sacramentality of marriage. And, missing Mass on a Holyday of Obligation, which includes all Sundays, without a serious reason is, in a way, denying the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist in addition to denying the necessity of obedience to legitimate authorities.

Some may be surprised what counts as sexual activity outside of marriage. Most grasp at the major stuff, but a marriage that does not conform to canonical form must be regularized by the Church before receiving Holy Communion. Obviously, all homosexual activity is a violation against marriage, as is masturbation. Even contraception is a violation against marriage regardless of if the couple have been married according to canonical form.

When all this is considered, the conclusion is quite shocking. It is quite commonly said that only 20% of Catholics in America go to Mass regularly and that half of Catholics that go to Mass regularly use contraception. Thus, only 10% of American Catholics can receive Holy Communion. If you consider everything else, this figure is actually high.

So why does the Church say all these people cannot receive Holy Communion? Is this some sort of punishment? Why have some bishops even singled out a few politicians that support abortion and “gay marriage” by telling them they cannot receive Holy Communion?  (Pope Francis has said this of all such politicians.)

This is in no way a punishment. In fact, it is an attempt to try to save these persons from future eternal punishment. The Eucharist is the Real Presence of Christ: the Eucharist is God! In receiving the Eucharist, you are affirming belief in the Real Presence of Christ, but by committing mortal sin, you are denying God. Repenting of mortal sin will save you, but receiving God in the Eucharist before taking mortal sin to Confession is an even greater offence against God than the original mortal sin.

What is the difference between consummating a marriage and rape? From a physical and biological point of view, they are identical; yet morally, they are completely opposed. This is the difference between receiving Holy Communion in a state of grace and receiving Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:27).

So what should you think of people that don’t go up for Communion? First of all, you can only judge actions; you cannot judge a person or motives. These people may be in a state of moral sin, but since they are at Mass, they are likely repentant and looking for an opportunity to go to Confession or slowly working towards that. Some may just be playing it safe, which is very honourable and pious. Some may be waiting for their marriage to be regularized. Some may have just broken, for whatever reason, the required fast before receiving Holy Communion (for Roman Catholics, it’s an hour before receiving Communion, and in the East, it’s an hour before Divine Liturgy).

So are all these people going to Hell that receive Holy Communion when they should not? We can only judge actions. We cannot judge a person or motives, and we can certainly not judge eternal salvation. God is a just and merciful judge, who is quite aware of culpability due to ignorance. After reading this, however, you no longer have the excuse of ignorance.

Mass and the Eucharist is not a right or an obligation. It is a privilege. The greatest privilege in this life, which will be fully realized in the next. Holydays of Obligation are a minimum, but then, the minimum in a valid marriage is to consummate it only once.

From: smtpsender@zenitteam.org
Subject: All Holydays of Obligation Have Been Transferred to Sundays
Date: April 1, 2013 7:42:21 AM MDT

All Holydays of Obligation Have Been Transferred to Sundays

A directive was issued on April 1, 2013 that all Holydays of Obligation will now be transferred to the closest Sunday throughout the universal Church including the Eastern Rites. This was in answer to the insistence that making attendance at Mass during the week obligatory is too demanding for the faithful.

It was the Solemnity of the Mother of God that was the greatest concern as many Catholics were not assisting at Mass on this day and were unaware that doing so without serious reason prevents them from receiving Communion on the following Sunday unless they first go to Confession.

The next Solemnity of the Mother of God will not be on January 1, 2014, but on December 29, 2013. Likewise, Christmas will also be transferred from December 25, 2013 to December 22, 2013. This may create some confusion with other Christian professions and the retail industry, but it is hoped that this more pastoral approach will ease the burden on faithful Catholics.


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