Simple and clear teaching on the sacraments

Sandro Magister published a letter from a priest friend, Fr. Carlo Buzzi, who is a missionary in Bangladesh:

Dear Sandro,

Here in Bangladesh we teach the catechism and to be clear we say that every sacrament has four elements: the minister, the matter, the formula, the miraculous event.

In baptism the minister is any person, the matter is water, the formula is “I baptize you. . .” and the miraculous event is that one becomes a child of God.

In confirmation the minister is the bishop, the matter is oil, the formula is “I baptize you. . .” and the miraculous event is that one receives the power of the Holy Spirit.

In confession the minister is the priest, the matter is sin, the formula is “I absolve you. . .” and the miraculous event is the forgiveness of sins.

In the Eucharist the minister is the priest, the matter is bread and wine, the formula is “This is my body. . .” and the miraculous event is that bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus.

In marriage the ministers are the spouses themselves, the matter is their bodies and souls, the formula is the promise and the miraculous event is that they become as one person.

We teach that the sacrament is called this because it produces a supernatural event that cannot be seen with our eyes but is grandiose and real in the eyes of God.

With regard to marriage, we explain precisely that the miraculous thing is that after the promise before God the two spouses become united in one person as if they had been put together with superglue or fused at a thousand degrees.

Now, if this miraculous reality is taken away from Catholic marriage, what should we put in its place?

 

He then goes on to talk about divorced and remarried Catholics:

Those who have remarried, if they are truly aware of their situation, can make the communion of desire.

In the reception of the sacraments there is the objective part and the subjective part. It is known that the most important thing is the great grace connected to the sacrament. But I could ruin this grace and even commit sacrilege if I approach communion casually or unworthily.

Now for these remarried, who all told have trampled a bit on the Christian meaning of suffering, of sacrifice, of forbearance, of penitence, and have forgotten that Jesus went up upon the cross and that the cross, when it comes, is the way for every Christian to drawn near to the Redeemer, it is a bit presumptuous to appeal to the mercy of God when before they have taken it so little into account.

In the subjective sense, I think that for them it is much more essential that they limit themselves to the desire for communion, instead of receiving communion itself.

The voluntary acceptance of this fasting will be very good for their souls and for the sanctity of that Christian community which is the Church.

 

Simple. Clear. Even an uneducated, illiterate person can understand this.  Now why is that so difficult?

 

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5 Responses to Simple and clear teaching on the sacraments

  1. John B. G. says:

    “Because I’m born Catholic, my family’s Catholic, my race is Catholic, and no priest can tell me I can’t go to communion with my friends and family.”

    I hear this all the time from Poles, Italians, Irish, Hispanics, and Filipinos.

  2. EPMS says:

    In the Archdiocese of Toronto clergy officiating at weddings and funerals are required to announce that only members in good standing, as it were, are invited to Communion. This seems a tacit admission that the attitude John B.G. describes is widespread, and not just among the ethnic groups he mentions. And the average Catholic is quite perplexed if any practising Christian who happens to be attending with them declines to go forward to receive, in my observation.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: In the Archdiocese of Toronto clergy officiating at weddings and funerals are required to announce that only members in good standing, as it were, are invited to Communion. This seems a tacit admission that the attitude John B.G. describes is widespread, and not just among the ethnic groups he mentions. And the average Catholic is quite perplexed if any practising Christian who happens to be attending with them declines to go forward to receive, in my observation.

      The situation fifty years ago was the complete opposite, when very few Catholics bothered to receive communion when they went to Sunday mass. I should note, here, that, in most parishes, the prevailing practice was to give communion only to the ministers during mass, and then to distribute communion to those who wished to receive after the mass concluded. There are still parishes in which a significant fraction of the parishioners receive communion and continue straight out the door, undoubtedly because they have not caught up with the change to distribution of communion during mass and thus don’t realize that the mass is NOT over when they receive communion.

      But in any case, we need to achieve the proper balance. There is no right to receive any sacrament for which one is not properly prepared and disposed. Rather, the Church is the guardian and custodian of the sacraments, so pastors of souls and those who assist them in their ministry must exercise due diligence in this regard. The prevailing practice has swung from one extreme to the other, and it needs to be stabilized with the proper equilibrium.

      Norm.

  3. Matthew the Wayfaring Pilgrim says:

    Ah……………..the further “blessings’ of VII.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      Matthew,

      You wrote: Ah……………..the further “blessings’ of VII.

      Yes, the fact that many more members of the church now desire to participate fully in the mass most assuredly IS a blessing. Note that full participation in the mass necessarily includes reception of communion.

      Norm.

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