Well I suppose, I suspect I do not know, that many of those who come to Holy Communion are receiving unworthily, it is priests and the Christian community’s responsibility to change behaviour, to ‘sell’ holiness to those disinclined to it. “I teach men to be good but still they are bad”, is an ageless cry of any pedagogue. In most parishes men and women are receiving Holy Communion who are contracepting, or living in civil partnerships, concubinage, committing acts of sodomy, oppressing the poor, stealing from their employers, ignoring or mistreating their aging parents, addicted to pornography, dealing or using drugs, leaving their neighbour bleeding and beaten by the roadside, or simply denying Christ.
The big difference between our age and that of St Augustine is that most people receive Holy Communion without any thought, bishops and priests celebrate as if it is merely part of the job, some of us even dare to offer it daily or even more often, whether we are in state of Grace or not, unknown of until the modern era! And all really because of the personal Eucharistic piety of Popes since Pius X and since the Council we have lost the sense of conversion, and frankly of calling a spade a spade, a sin a sin.
I have a Catholic friend who hates it when she goes to a funeral or a wedding where there is a Mass and many non-Catholics are present and the priest does not insist only Catholics in good standing may receive.
I have come up with a pastoral solution should the Catholic Church ever go to “open communion.” If I were a priest, I would simply have this printed in the back of each bulletin, and then have it read at the end of every homily…
1st Corinthians 11:27- 30…
“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves. For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”
So, what is better, really? Having the present discipline of the Catholic Church which is not policed and often disregarded?
Or having great solid exhortations that warn you of the hell and brimstone and penalty of mortal sin for receiving unworthily.