20 August 2008

What ARE They Thinking?!? (3)

Here's another Communion related "What ARE They Thinking?!? post.

Orthodox bishops and canon lawyers have repeated time and time again, no Holy Communion for pro-abortion Catholic politicians. They are in a state of obstinate mortal sin, directly supporting the killing of the unborn. They've been warned time and again, yet some do it anyways.
Here's Rudy Giuliani- who supports abortion rights and is in his third or so 'marriage'. He bothered to have the first one annulled (they were second cousins), and after affairs and more affairs, well anyways... he presented himself to the priest for Holy Communion. What is he thinking? Whatever it is he's thinking, it must be a 'private matter' he doesn't like to discuss... right.

Bagh. This one is worse. Senator John Kerry received the cracker and fruit juice from an African Methodist Episcopal (where do they come up with those names, by the way?) Palm Sunday service. Instead of fulfilling his Sunday obligation at a real church, he went to a Protestant gathering. This is a crime against the Faith in more ways than one. What is he thinking?!?

Now here is some more sense! Whether or not you are of the opinion that blessings should be given at the distribution of Holy Communion, President Bush and the First Lady are doing what they should be doing. They are not Catholic, so they are not to receive the Body of the Lord. Also, notice the reverence they show with their posture and faces. The president looks like he is praying- how is it that W is more respectful towards the Eucharist than most Catholics who shuffle up to the front of the church and run back to their seat.

There are many issues here to discuss. First, Catholics must not participate in any type of psuedo-Communion at a Protestant church. There are several reasons for this prohibition. First, if they do not have a valid Mass, but they believe that they do- you are acknowledging the presence of Our Lord when He is not really there. If they view (correctly) that their communion is a symbol, there is still the problem that you are professing yourself "in communion" with them and their heretical beliefs. If you're going on Sunday instead of Mass, that's even worse. As Catholics we worship God in the Mass- a truly propitiatory sacrifice. Whatever apparent good might come for you at a Protestant service, it's not what God wants or requires of you.

We also come to the question of worthiness to receive Holy Communion in a Catholic church. If we have committed any mortal sins since our last confession (see here for a good examination of conscience - list of sins that are mortal), we must not receive the Body of the Lord. If we were to do so, we would desecrate His holy Body and commit yet another serious mortal sin. It is a good and pious practice to examine your conscience and pray an Act of Contrition. If we have committed a mortal sin, we need to get to Confession as soon as possible. Here is the Act of Contrition I use:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin. Amen.

Just make sure you mean it, that you are heartily sorry and not 'hardly sorry'. Because to confess without a firm purpose of amendment and repentance (I don't want to sin again, even though I am tempted) is not a true confession at all.



Blogger AMillionVoices said...

I know that you're mainly talking to Catholics in this post. But a few parts come across like you're bashing Protestants. And since I am a Protestant...well, you're a great friend, so PLEASE PLEASE don't take this the wrong way, but there were parts of your post that got me angry. Mainly the comments about Protestant churches not being "real churches".

August 21, 2008 3:54 PM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

Whether Protestant churches are real or not is another debate bordering on a major eccesiological point.

I think the issue is certain denominations having "communion" and acting like it is authentic. In that regard, no church but the Catholic Church (Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church) can have a licit rite of Holy Communion, if you will. This boils down to apostolic succession and a host of other issues, but the former was effectively cut off at the Reformation.

August 21, 2008 4:07 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

Thank you, Anthony. I'm drawing up a thorough response right now, Sarah.

August 21, 2008 4:16 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

Thanks for posting, Sarah.

This is a sticky point, so I'm going to try to be as clear as possible, not beat around the bush, and get straight to it, though all in Christian charity.

For Catholics, the word 'church' has a very specific, restricted definition. Controversially, the current definition can be interpreted a little more broadly.

First, let me start with a quote of Ignatius of Antioch. He was born in the year 35, and was martyred in the Roman Colosseum in the year 110. He was a student of the Apostle John. You may remember from the Bible that Peter went to Antioch, where they were first called Christians. Once he left Antioch, he appointed Evodius as bishop of the Church there. When Evodius died, Ignatius became the leader of the Church in Antioch.

In 105, Ignatius said, "See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.

This is why the Catholic Church has always said that to be a true Church, you must have Apostolic Succession. That is, the Apostles laid hands on men, who laid hands on other men, all the way down to our bishops today. It is an unbroken chain- amazing considering it is just shy of 2,000 years old.

Now, those Protestants who are baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit belong to the soul of the Church- though they are not externally and visibly a part of it. This was not a problem for the first 1500 years, since you can see all throughout this time period people were subject to bishops and ultimately to the Bishop of Rome. Never in the first 1,000 years do you find opposition to the Bishop of Rome. Never in the first 1,500 years do you find priests who then marry. And in those 1,500 years you only find Christians who believe that Christ founded one Church, with Peter as its leader on Earth, and the bishops and priests representing him throughout the world.

So I am only stating the Truth as Catholics have it, and as Christians (who were either Catholic or Orthodox) in the first 1,500 years of Christianity believe it. The fact is that Ignatius and all the other earliest believers believed that Communion brought about by the bishop or his delegates.

August 21, 2008 4:59 PM  
Blogger AMillionVoices said...

Y'all's answers are a little over my head. Probably because I'm not Catholic. So I'll just stick to the Bible.
Your friend,

August 21, 2008 5:42 PM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

Sorry if I sound mean, but that's kind of a cop-out.

August 22, 2008 4:04 PM  
Blogger AMillionVoices said...

You're right. That was mean. Thanks for your consideration.
The reason I, in your words, "copped out" is because I don't want to get in a religion fight with one of my friends. It's not worth it!

August 23, 2008 10:20 AM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

It doesn't have to be a fight. I find chatting about religion to be stimulating :) . I just meant to say that although the Bible is super important, there is more to Christianity than just the Bible, and infinitely more beyond our base personal interpretations, which could be grossly incorrect at times, however logical they may seem.

August 24, 2008 9:42 AM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

With regard to your actual post, and with regard to the President, I have to say that despite the many things he has royally screwed up, etc etc, I do think that he values religion and tradition deeply, and to that effect he did what was appropriate in the context of a Catholic church. Let's not forget the glorious welcome he gave to the Holy Father in April. And this coming from a non-Catholic!

Despite my many concerns regarding things President Bush has done politically, I will admit that I am thankful for things he has done well. Among these are fervently pro-life decisions including the appointment of Samuel Alito the Supreme Court, as well as emphasizing the primacy of faith in traditional American life.

August 24, 2008 9:48 AM  

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