How silky and appealing to itching ears!
I believe that using Communion as such a manipulative tool surely profanes the sacrament. Perhaps these Catholic leaders should revisit their church’s theology of the Eucharist. Reception of the body and blood of Christ at Communion is God’s gift to God’s people, not a reward for right behavior. We receive Communion not because we are worthy of it, but because God’s offers us the body and blood of Christ despite our unworthiness.
-snip of vile paragraph-
It seems that the church hierarchy is sending the following message: two gay men or lesbians (not to mention their supporters) who want to vow a lifetime of commitment, monogamy and love should be denied Communion, but those who exploit vulnerable children (and those who facilitate their abuse) for their own sexual gratification are still welcome. Those who make the excruciating and gut-wrenching decision to have an abortion (not to mention those who understand why this might be a moral choice) are barred from receiving Communion, but those prelates who live a lavish lifestyle far from the real-life, harsh circumstances some women face that might make such an abortion morally permissible are accepted at the Communion rail.
American Catholics have a long and honorable history of discerning their own consciences in matters of human life and dignity. For instance, 98 percent of Catholic women have gone against church law and used birth control. Indeed, individual conscience is a core value in Catholic teaching. It seems that Catholic laity are refusing to be treated like morally ignorant children who cannot think for themselves. At a very minimum, Catholic laity (and many of their local clergy) know that these issues should be discussed in an open and faithful way. They also know that people of faith will disagree on some of the ramifications of trying to live out the Gospel.
Obviously, it would seem the Episcopalian has no concept of sin or repentance. How on earth can one “live out the Gospel” without discovering the awful truth about oneself—that I am destined for hell, that I am a sinner and without what Jesus Christ has done on the Cross, I’m toast? Ah, but don’t his words have a silky way about them? I can imagine all manner of people I know agreeing with them totally and finding the Church’s stand offensive and judgmental, you know. Frankly, anyone who has not experienced a deep conviction for sin (and it’s more than this individual sin or that individual sin, it’s a sin nature that dooms me if I live it out) has not had a true encounter with the Holy Spirit and does not know his or her need for the Savior.
I saw in WaPo that the homosexual Episcopalian ex-bishop of New Hampshire is telling Catholics what their doctrine and discipline should be.
This serves as a follow-up to my post about Protestants who deign to determine for Catholics what ordination really is and what Mass really is. That is to say, when Protestant churches host a women-priest circus, they are either blatantly protesting the Catholic Church concerning her most sacred rites, or they are dictating to the Church what Catholics ought to believe.
So much for ecumenism!
Similarly, the openly homosexual Robinson takes it upon himself to tell Catholics what to do. We should conform ourselves to his private homosexual life-styles choice. And if we don’t, we are bad and backward and will lose all our membership in the Church, because, after all, no one believes what white male Catholic prelates say.
If you do read his piece, take note that Robinson thinks that the clerical abuse scandal we Catholics endured – and have pretty much cleaned up – has provided him and everyone else under the sun withcarte blanche when it comes to telling Catholics what they ought to believe. Never mind the fact that Protestants have their own black swamp of child abuse problems
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From your first quotation: I believe that using Communion as such a manipulative tool surely profanes the sacrament. Perhaps these Catholic leaders should revisit their church’s theology of the Eucharist. Reception of the body and blood of Christ at Communion is God’s gift to God’s people, not a reward for right behavior. We receive Communion not because we are worthy of it, but because God’s offers us the body and blood of Christ despite our unworthiness.
Has this man not read the scriptures??? Here’s I Corinthians 11:23-33, for example.
Since repentance — literally, turning around and going the other way — is a necessary condition for abolution of sin, absolution of habitual sin is not possible when there is no intent to live differently in the future. And since absolution of serious (or “mortal”) sin is a necessary condition for worthy reception of communion, those who persevere in serious sin should not partake. The Catholic Church is clearly on the right side of this one.
From your quotation: … but those who exploit vulnerable children (and those who facilitate their abuse) for their own sexual gratification are still welcome.
They are not “still welcome” in the absense of manifest intent to cease their exploitation of children.
Mmm. Whilst I can see some mischaracterisations in the Bishop’s statements, I think it’s a stretch to say the extracts are “vile” (i.e. morally base; despicable, depraved, corrupt). Or to conclude “he has no concept of sin or repentance”. On the contrary, he seems to be very aware of everyone’s – including his own – unworthiness to receive the sacrament. Norm’s Corinthian citation is fine so far as it goes, but it doesn’t advance us far here because it is not at all clear what would in any particular case represent sacramental reception or partaking “in an unworthy manner”. It cannot, for example, be assumed that Bishop Robinson receives unworthily or endorses it in bad faith (no pun) or without clear conscience; in fact, from what I read, his views about homosexuality and how the Church should respond to it are conscience positions. Of course others may disagree and cite scripture from a different exegesis or theology, but it is to assume – not prove – the contestable, to attempt to fit Corinthians tightly on Bishop Robinson’s shoulders. Maybe God can do that.
Of course, in the Roman Catholic church, those in ‘public sin’ (i.e. known to persist in sin) are refused communion and there is a certain logic to this, not so much because of an exclusion based on unworthiness, but because communion implies the desire and intent of being ‘in union with’ – in heart and mind – the Church, the assembly of those similarly desiring and intending, so to speak.
But those in ‘private sin’, (i.e. everyone else) is allowed communion, no questions asked, whatever their motive or understanding. In theory, no-one knows the precise state of mind, conscience or sacramental state of anyone else, and it often is so in practice too, unless people make a point of saying something, because most of us mind our own business.
I gather it was Bishop Robinson’s pointed swipes at Catholic practice and doctrine that annoyed people. I myself see that he said one important thing, that was not so different from Deborah’s comment – we are all unworthy. I have a lot of sympathy for Deborah’s warning that we are all doomed to hell unless we are forgiven; in a kind of way, I think Bishop Robinson was saying the same. He is certainly saying, in effect, that receiving communion does not depend on our worthiness – if that were true, no-one would ever receive.
But in any case, surely the thing here is to attempt to clarify just what the real situation in the Church is, both doctrinally and pastorally, where Eucharistic reception is concerned, rather than to leap to the judgment that he advocates unworthy reception, which is a different thing.