At the outset, given the confused reading and interpretations of "The Joy of Love", our local bishops must give priests and laity sound teaching on the use of the Internal Forum.
But with that said, every priest and lay person knows that people who should not receive Holy Communion do receive and each Sunday. That's a fact. My attitude about this is that we make clear who is eligible, but if the ineligible receive, I simply place them into the hands of our merciful God and let Him worry about it.
Our Easter Mases are an example of this . All our Masses were packed and our 9:30 AM Mass people were standing outside! I did not know the majority who received, presuming they were visitors from out of town. But deep down I know they are nominal Catholics or are fringe Catholics.
My only consolation is that where ignorance and sin abound, God's grace is more abundant!
Perhaps Trads wouldn't be so preoccupied with it if a) the hierarchy didn't seem so utterly unconcerned by it and b) there weren't such dire consequences for the recipient connected with improper reception. To deny such consequences is either to risk presumption or to deny (or dismiss the gravity of) human concupiscence.
Unless, of course, the Eucharist is simply a symbol of the unity and universal brotherhood of all men that we hope we'll be able to establish some day. Then by all means encourage everyone to receive indiscriminately, without regard to religion or creed.
Speaking of consolation, one must wonder how to console Jordan Spieth after his collapse at Amen Corner yesterday---very awkward for him to place the green jacket on the winner, Danny Willett. Must have felt like watching your own execution.
Also, score one for the Church of England yesterday---CBS reported that Willett is the son of a vicar in the Church of England; Spieth was educated at aJesuit school in Dallas. Well, I guess the Catholics (and I am one) can't win every battle...
For a long time, the Church considered receiving Communion a privileged sacred gift, not an expectation or right. Communion by the faithful was rare because Communion is Jesus Himself, and one had to be sure of worthiness to receive the sacred gift of the eternal Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Last century that changed. Under the mantra of active participation, receiving Communion became a selfist matter, leaving any doubt about worthiness to the individual. The Church of Vatican II no longer had any reason to be the guide of worthiness for the individual. The individual alone stands before God. Indeed, St Paul seemed like a fanatic for the Church of Vatican II, so even his warning about eating and drinking condemnation on oneself by being unworthy was extirpated from the Epistle that commemorates the Last Supper on Holy Thursday. God is now considered so merciful that justice only applies to social responsibilities, not those that essentially pertain to God.
I think there is no need to psychoanalyze traditionalists who express worry about the pope's actions. The Holy Father is undeniably leading us along new paths which are very different from all his predecessors, so it is understandable that some Catholics are afraid of him. This does not make their reaction right, but it does provide an occasion for us to show them Christian mercy. Surely they deserve at least as much mercy as the Holy Father wishes us to offer to those whose public lifestyles are contrary to the Sixth Commandment.
Traditionalists (a.k.a. Catholics) are concerned with the offense given to Almighty God by the reception of Communion by anyone who is not in a state of grace. Catholics are rightly concerned with the institutionalization of such practices since Catholics are concerned with the salvation of souls instead of merely making people feel good about themselves in this life. Since Catholics actually believe in things like heaven, hell, and judgment, Catholics understand that Christ was serious when he said, through the pen of St. Paul, that those who receive Holy Communion unworthily do so to their condemnation.
Catholics are also concerned with priests who uphold these errors since the souls of those priests and the souls of the people entrusted to the care of those hirelings are at jeopardy. That is why Catholics make every effort to receive Christ worthily, having gone to Confession and fasted properly. That is also why Catholics usually take part in the First Friday devotions in reparation for those sins of sacrilege committed against the Holy Eucharist. Catholics, again, are rightly concerned about institutionalized sacrilege and a clergy who fail to stand up for Christ, preferring the spirit of the world to the Spirit of Christ.
I agree with Marc, you don't need to be a traditionalist to uphold Catholic teaching. Put simply, any acceptance of the watering down of Catholic teaching is simply not Catholic. Those who wish to adopt a laissez faire attitude do so at their own peril. Their choice. The Pope may have his views and express them, but I'm sticking with the constant teaching of the Church. It may be the narrow path that few will tread but it's the surest and safest path.
For the most part, Catholics prior to the Council and shortly after did not frequent Holy Communion because they could not observe the strict fast. The midnight fast in particular was broken regularly (no sin in that) but one knew one would abstain that morning from Holy Communion. The same with the less severe fast in 1958 (prior to the council btw) of three hours before Mass.
I remember my father asking us when we were children if on Sunday morning, we wanted breakfast or Holy Communion! Sometimes, I said breakfast!!! We still went to Mass of course but didn't receive and this choice of breakfast over Communion was perfectly kosher.
Jansenism, a heresy, prevented others from receiving--scrupulosity of conscience. Thank God we don't suffer from that for the most part, but maybe its opposite.
Traditional Catholics still observe the midnight fast for Holy Communion, and many go to Confession every week just before or during Mass. Still, one finds people in the pews come Communion time. That is because traditional Catholics take the Church's teachings and practice seriously.
Why was it so hard to fast from midnight?
Children, I might can understand. But grown adults who don't work on Sunday? (I assume no one in 1958 worked on Sunday, based on baby boomer nostalgia)
I also grew up when the midnight to Mass fast was in effect, but I don't believe this was the primary reason people didn't go to Communion, at least not in our small parish. Our only mass was at 9AM on Sunday, so while fasting was a sacrifice, there weren't growling stomachs and people weren't fainting in the pews. I think especially of my mother, who worked the 11-to-7 shift on a hospital maternity ward, but who never used that as an reason for not receiving.
Those who refrained from Communion did so primarily because they had not gone to confession recently (I guarantee that was the case in our family). I'd say that fewer than 1/3 of the parishioners received Communion on most Sundays; no one felt they were entitled, that's for sure.
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