It is an Emergency: The Church Needs to Reaffirm and Explain What Holy Communion Is

We today have a situation where the Kasper doctrine adherents will be seeking to permit, through merciful pastoralism, the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion.

In fact, the entire Synod on the Family is being framed around the reception of Holy Communion - around the Eucharist - even though it is being done so in a disguised manner, so that publicly this Synod will be about the Family and the issues that surround the Family.

The Vatican needs to be honest and come out saying what this Synod is really about and I tentatively purpose that it is not about the Family, but the Holy Eucharist. The 'big' issue that keeps coming up concerns the Kasper doctrine on Holy Communion which amounts to an oh-so-clever denial of Our Lord's teaching on divorce and remarriage.

It was quite some time ago that I did the questionnaire for the Synod, so I cannot remember whether this question was posed, but, looking back and in the wake of the various voices calling for serious 'reform' of the Church's position (that is, Christ's position) on the divorced and remarried receiving Holy Communion, it should have been asked thus:

'What is Holy Communion?'

I only say this because according to survey's (and as my sidebar suggests, they can be reliable), 70% of Catholics do not believe that the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul, Humanity and Divinity of Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

We have a huge problem here. Eucharistic belief has at times in the Church been high, at times low. The Real Presence has always been under attack since day one, with St Paul asking us to examine our consciences to ensure we do not 'eat and drink our own condemnation' by receiving the Body and Blood of the Lord in a state of grievous, mortal sin. Many of Christ's followers stopped following when He himself said, 'Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you shall have no life in you.'

Did it ask the right questions?
There is a great danger in something truly tragic taking place before our very eyes come October - a situation in which - we are led to believe - thousands upon thousands upon thousands (and then some) of Catholics in grievously, mortally sinful lifestyles, an unknown proportion of whom are unrepentant, could be led to believe that it is a-okay to receive or to 'take' Holy Communion.

We are led to believe that there are hoards of Catholics who are crying, jumping up and down, screaming, moaning, wailing and pleading for Holy Communion who are currently denied it because of a particular Church doctrine that 'forbids' them from doing so. The Church, in this narrative, is getting in the way of these people, whose situation or lifestyle precludes them from receiving Holy Communion and this is a great tragedy for these people. Cardinal Kasper and, to a degree, Pope Francis himself, buys into this tragedy narrative by proclaiming that now is a 'moment of mercy' in which the Church has to come to the aid of the distressed victims of the Church's 'hardline' 'policy'. Can someone tell me a period of the Church's history in which mercy was entirely abandoned? Every moment is a moment of mercy. The Pope didn't invent Confession.

And yet - yet - do you notice that you can probably count on your fingers the number of prelates who actually teach the Faithful what the Blessed Sacrament really and truly is. How many Bishops teach the Faithful about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist so that the Faithful may approach the Sacred Banquet with caution? How many of those 'crying out desperately' for Holy Communion have any idea - let alone faith - in what the Church teaches concerning the Body and Blood of the Lord? Notice, if you will, how many people, when writing on this subject matter campaigning for people in these 'difficult situations' - which are always either sexual situations or concern sexuality - never refer to 'Communion' in any other way but 'Communion' or if you are extremely lucky 'Holy Communion'.

How many people campaigning for the Kasper 'go-ahead' doctrine have you heard, or read, saying, "I think people in X situation should receive the Body, Blood, Soul, Humanity and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ'? How many have even referred to it, pleading for the 'right' to 'take' Communion as the 'Blessed Sacrament' or the 'Holy Sacrament of the Altar'? How many would refer, in their campaign, to the Body and Blood of Jesus?

"What do we want? The Lord's Body and Blood! When do we want it? Now!" is a slogan you never hear! No. It's 'I want the bread and the wine', or, 'I want to take communion', or, maybe, 'These people should be 'admitted to communion' as if they have been excluded by nasty clergy. It is not just a woeful lack of catechesis on the Family, life issues, sexuality and artificial contraception that is laid at the door of Bishops and priests, but something far, far more important than even that. What is the Mass? What is Holy Communion? Should I go to Holy Communion if I am in a state of mortal sin? What is the Eucharist? Is it really and truly Jesus, Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity? Should I go to Confession before receiving the holy of holies? What do I need to do to change in order to present myself at the Lord's Sacred Banquet? Is God truly present in the Tabernacle in a special, unique and mysterious, beautiful way?

If 70% of Catholics do not believe, or do not know what the Church teaches concerning Holy Communion, no wonder that in the year 2014, Bishops and Cardinals are contemplating distributing Holy Communion to anyone in any situation, in any given sin, because, presumably, not only do they not teach the doctrine of the Real Presence, and not only do the Faithful not know or believe it, but the Bishops themselves, most likely, do not believe it either, because if they really believed it, they would teach it! I believe the Synod's questionnaire left out the most important question of them all. I ask one question: Why? Perhaps it should not be too surprising when doubts have recently emerged, over alleged telephone calls, as to even whether the Pope himself actually believes it.

If 70% of all Catholics didn't know or believe what Holy Communion is, then should the Church be admitting 100% of Catholics, or even 30% of Catholics to Holy Communion? I await catechesis from the Bishops, Cardinals and Pope on the wonder, the awe, the majesty and seriously mind-blowing and life-changing dogma that every time you receive Holy Communion, you receive Jesus Christ, whole and entire, Body, Blood, Soul, Humanity and Divinity, but I fear it might never come! I await catechesis from our Shepherds on the reverence and dignity which each Sacred Host should be approached and treated, loved and adored, but methinks I could be waiting for an eternity!


Celia said…
I think you've hit the nail on the head: what concerns these people is that they're 'excluded' and that's sooo unfair. 70% of Catholics not believing in the Real Presence is the highest figure I've come across- other surveys have suggested anything from 40%-60% and anyway it depends what sort of 'Catholics' you're asking- 'Catholics' who hardly ever darken a church door pretty certainly aren't going to be up to scratch on doctrine. But I'd be willing to bet that 70% of Catholics living in an illicit relationship don't believe much of what the Church teaches. You don't, after all, find yourself in such a relationship by accident, you knowingly enter into it. There's a perfectly good pastoral solution,but Cardinal Kasper has probably forgotten it. It's called repentance and confession.
Annie said…
Where are all these people crying, moaning, shrieking because they can't receive Holy Communion? I haven't seen anyone exhibiting this emotional state of affairs. What I do see is *everyone* in the pews marching up to Communion each Sunday. I know a number of them are either living together unmarried or living in adultery with each other and I guarantee you that not one of them looks anything but pleased with themselves as they move up the cafeteria line towards the priest. I doubt it's crossed their minds even to consider the *possibility* that they may be in a state of sin. And for the .01% that do concede it, so what? After all, if Pope Francis doesn't judge them then why would God?
Mary Kay said…
Beautifully, and sadly, stated.
viterbo said…
What is the Mass?

"The unbloody sacrifice of the New Law, in which the Body and Blood of Christ, under the spiecies of bread and wine, by a mystical immolation are offered by a legitimate minister of God, in order to acknowledge His supreme dominion and to apply to us the merits of the Sacrifice of the Cross." (Merkelbach, 1949 Summa Theologiea Moralis) - this being based on the Council of Trent. (and faithfully handed on in the Baltimore Catechism):

whereas for VII the Mass isn't a re-presentation of Sarifice on the Cross, but, like protestants, a representation of the last supper.

How is Christ Present at the Mass?

"This Holy Council [Trent] teaches and openly and straightforwardly professes that in the Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Echarist, after the consecration of the bread and wine, our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is truly, really and substantially contained under the perceptible species of bread and wine.

whereas Mysterium Fidei of VII located 'the real presence of Christ, in his church, within the congregation, when the Sacred Scriptures are read and when the Sacrament of the Eucharist is made present.' in other words the Real Presence is replaced with real presences, that depart from the concept of true food and true drink (body and blood).

p.s. vii also changed the Mass into 'sacred assembly', overturning sacrifice as the purpose.
Jacobi said…
Belief in the Real Presence

The latest figures given by Voris for the US of A are even worse!

The Church has a problem on ist hands!
Fr John said…
I'd like to see those surveys denoting that less than 70% believe in the real presence and I think it's unwise and unnecessarily divisive to spread such misinformation without references or links. There was one American survey which had very bad wording in the relevant question - in fact it asked if there was belief in the physical presence which, of course, we all know does not reflect catholic doctrine. Care is needed in the interpretation and quoting of such surveys.
Anonymous said…
How one acts in the presence of Our Lord is a very good sign. If one shows physical irreverence, belief is unlikely. Ditto for those who receive but refuse to go to the sacrament of confession, and think that they can do whatever they feel like, and refuse to accept the Lord's Commandments or the moral law. It is the constant diabolical denial of the refusal to abide by the Deposit of Faith and morals that has caused the situation to increase exponentially to catastrophic levels.
viterbo said…
Paul VI: “...once the substance or nature of the bread and wine has been changed into the body and blood of Christ, nothing remains of the bread and the wine except for the species—beneath which Christ is present whole and entire in His physical "reality," corporeally present, although not in the manner in which bodies are in a place.” (Encyclical Mysterium Fidei, n. 46)

repeat: " His physical "reality," corporeally present."