GUEST COLUMN
On “Politicizing” the Eucharist

December 2013By Regis Scanlon

Fr. Regis Scanlon, O.F.M. Cap., has for the past 25 years been spiritual director and chaplain for Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s Missionaries of Charity in Denver. The director of the Catholic Prison Ministry for the Archdiocese of Denver from 1999 to 2010, he is currently in the process of developing the Julia Greeley Home (juliagreeleyshelter.net), a shelter for homeless, unaccompanied women in the metro Denver area.

One feels sorry for the bishops and pastors of the Catholic Church today. It’s not easy to be a shepherd in the twenty-first century.

In a short span of about sixty years, the Judeo-Christian heritage has suffered what is perhaps the greatest and most rapid moral deterioration in its history. Tragically, many of the people — including Catholics — who should be standing firm against this collapse have chosen to embrace it.

The evidence is as close as today’s headlines and news reports. Huge swaths of Catholics who once scowled at divorce and remarriage argue today that, yes, maybe it’s time for same-sex marriage. Likewise, poll numbers reveal that many Catholic women who once cherished the role of mothers now find it difficult to condemn abortion. The disintegration has happened not just in the major issues of morality but in the realm of common kindness and decency: Where once hats were tipped to priests and nuns, today half-naked activists can interrupt a prayer service to dump water on an archbishop — as happened this April in Belgium — and all most people can do is shrug it off as the “new normal.”

The particularly thorny problem for Catholic pastors is that many who have rejected the Church’s teachings on morals, particularly in the area of family life and human sexuality, remain cultural Catholics. In other words, it’s still politically advantageous for Catholics, especially politicians and other public figures, to present themselves to the public as part of the general Catholic subgroup because it remains a powerful voting bloc. So they march up to Holy Communion in order to get fellow Catholics to support their personal ambitions, even though they are determined to advance policies that offend God and harm the Church, such as their support for abortion, homosexual unions, and infringements on the freedom to publicly practice one’s faith.

Obviously, this is a serious matter for the Church. Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law states, “Those who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Attention must be paid here to manifest and not to be admitted.


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Back to December 2013 Issue

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Fr Scanlon,
I very much agree with you.
But where does a faithful Catholic go?
I fear that the approach of the new pope will accelerate the "anything goes" direction of most nominal Catholics.
Once that happens, why bother being Catholic at all?
After all, "we are all fundamentally good", right?
Frankly, I think we are at the precipice of the collapse of the Western Church into a small remnant because of this lack of seriousness among the bishops.
Posted by: altgraubart
December 18, 2013 10:26 AM EST
Father Scanlon,

You are a true voice. However, with the appointment of Cardinal Donald Wuerl by Pope Francis(Wuerl does not believe in enforcing Canon 915, as he stated 'that the Eurcarist should not be used as a political weapon)to the powerful position as one who votes for American bishops, and the firing of Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is a very out-spoken defender of enforcing 915, coupled with the very possibility of Pope Francis giving much more power to bishops and less to Rome perhaps by this fall, things do not look good.

There are more and more people who believe that the Church is sliding more and more into evil. More people are giving the SSPX(info for readers, as I am well aware that you know who the SSPX are) they are the pre-vatican priests,bishops who determined that Vatican II broke with Catholic dogma and tradition. Their last meeting was with our former pope in February of 2012, and the SSPX refused to back down on their position and thus not under the pope. The excommunication by Rome, however, has been lifted. You can attend their masses but apparently not to fulfill your obligation. Their masses are of the Latin Rite, worshipping God, and not how wonderful we people are. Only someone who experienced these masses pre-Vatican II would understand that.

My point: More and more people are giving the SSPX a second and third look. Perhaps you ought to warn the appropriate people. Future Catholic Church may get an increase in modernist cafeteria Catholics, but real faithful Catholics might leave and join SSPX(along with their money--that should get someone's attention.

In closing I have had it with NY Cardinal Dolan's refusal to enforce 915, and his shout-out at St. Patrick's Cath in NYC to Biden after Easter Mass, which Biden, of course, received communion.

Posted by: alexsandra
January 07, 2014 11:28 AM EST
Father Scanlon,

You are a true voice. However, with the appointment of Cardinal Donald Wuerl by Pope Francis(Wuerl does not believe in enforcing Canon 915, as he stated 'that the Eurcarist should not be used as a political weapon)to the powerful position as one who votes for American bishops, and the firing of Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is a very out-spoken defender of enforcing 915, coupled with the very possibility of Pope Francis giving much more power to bishops and less to Rome perhaps by this fall, things do not look good.

There are more and more people who believe that the Church is sliding more and more into evil. More people are giving the SSPX(info for readers, as I am well aware that you know who the SSPX are) they are the pre-vatican priests,bishops who determined that Vatican II broke with Catholic dogma and tradition. Their last meeting was with our former pope in February of 2012, and the SSPX refused to back down on their position and thus not under the pope. The excommunication by Rome, however, has been lifted. You can attend their masses but apparently not to fulfill your obligation. Their masses are of the Latin Rite, worshipping God, and not how wonderful we people are. Only someone who experienced these masses pre-Vatican II would understand that.

My point: More and more people are giving the SSPX a second and third look. Perhaps you ought to warn the appropriate people. Future Catholic Church may get an increase in modernist cafeteria Catholics, but real faithful Catholics might leave and join SSPX(along with their money--that should get someone's attention.

In closing I have had it with NY Cardinal Dolan's refusal to enforce 915, and his shout-out at St. Patrick's Cath in NYC to Biden after Easter Mass, which Biden, of course, received communion.

Posted by: alexsandra
January 07, 2014 11:30 AM EST
Refusing communion to a politician is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. The reality is that the Roman Catholic Church has had the sword of Damocles hanging over its head for over one hundred years. Pope St. Pius X recognized this in his letter published on the 1,600th anniversary of the Edict of Milan. All of Western Civilization (including the United States) has outright denied the moral law as superior to the civil law. Do you want the French Revolution repeated, only on a global scale? We must speak the authentic truth of the Gospel, but we must be prudent. Posted by: etienel
January 07, 2014 08:47 PM EST
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