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[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

UNWORTHY COMMUNION by Fr. Franz Hunolt, 1887

UNWORTHY COMMUNION by Fr. Franz Hunolt, 1887


And whilst they were eating, he said: Amen I say to you, that one of you is about to betray me. And they being very much troubled, began every one to say: Is it I, Lord? But he answering, said: He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, he shall betray me. The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed: it were better for him, if that man had not been born. And Judas that betrayed him, answering, said: Is it I, Rabbi? He saith to him: Thou hast said it.--Matth 26: 21-25



Subject: 1. To approach the Table of the Lord in the state of sin is to treat Jesus Christ most unjustly. 2. Yet there are many who treat Him thus--


 


Dico autem vobis: Quad nemo vivorum illorum, qui vocati sunt, gustabit caenam meam.--Luke xiv. 24.

"But I say unto you, that none of those men that were invited shall taste of my supper."



Introduction: What a futile excuse that; I have bought a farm! And what if you have? Does that prevent you from going to the Supper? Oh, I must go and see it! You should have done that before buying it, so as to see whether it suits you or not. I have bought five yoke of oxen. Well, does that prevent you from accepting the invitation? I must see them. What? In the evening, with the dark night coming on? I have married a wife. And if you have, do you not want food or drink any more? The fact is, you could all have excused yourselves in shorter terms, and more in accordance with truth, by saying, I will not come. My dear brethren, by the great Supper, we understand the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, to which our Lord invites all men in the most friendly manner, that they may frequently receive His Flesh and Blood in the Holy Communion. But how many refusals He receives from most people, who approach this holy Table but very seldom! How many vain excuses are invented and put forward by people who try to persuade themselves that they cannot communicate frequently! On another occasion I will complain of this tepidity, when I shall exhort you to frequent Communion. Today I must complain still more bitterly of those Christians who communicate far too often and too readily, and who would do better by abstaining from Communion altogether. If I knew who they were, I should have just cause for crying-out to them when they approach the altar rails: Away with you! Keep away from here! This Table is not prepared for you! I tell you that not one of you shall partake of it. And who are they? I mean those alone who receive Holy Communion with an impure conscience, in the state of sin. What a fearful sin they commit! And how many Catholics there are who are guilty of it! As we shall now see.

Plan of Discourse: To approach the Table of the Lord in the state of sin, is to treat Jesus Christ most unjustly. This I will show in the first and longer part. Yet there are many who treat Him thus; as I shall complain in the second part. Sinners, either do penance, and amend your lives; or else abstain from Holy Communion: pious souls, continue to communicate all the more frequently: such will he the conclusion.

Help us all to this, O dearest Saviour, through the intercession of Thy Virgin Mother Mary, and our holy angels guardian.

As I have said on the former occasion, the greatest insult that a creature can offer to God, is blasphemy; and that, because it is a crime against the divine Majesty. The same truth is the foundation of my present subject, that to receive Holy Communion in the state of sin, is to treat Jesus Christ most unjustly; for amongst the crimes that attack the divine Majesty directly, it is one of the greatest, since by it Christ is shamefully ill-used. To speak insultingly of a king, especially in his presence, is a most intolerable crime against human majesty, and is punished with death; and yet it is committed only by words which are carried away by the wind, and inflict no wound. But to attack the king's person, when he is seated on his throne, surrounded by his attendants and courtiers, or when he is passing in state through the streets, or when he is seated at a public banquet; to attack him then and plunge a dagger in his heart, would be a crime that no one but a madman would commit, or dream of. For where could a sovereign expect the reverence to be shown to him, to which he is entitled, when he is not sure of his life, even on his throne, or seated at his table?

See, oh Christian, such is the insolence, or rather madness you are guilty of, when you dare to receive Holy Communion in the state of sin. You pierce with a sword of sorrow the Heart of Jesus, your Lord, the King of kings, when you receive His most sacred Flesh and Blood with a heart and conscience defiled by sin. "' Therefore," says St. Paul to the Corinthians, "whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and of the Blood of the Lord (Cor. xi. 27)." That is, as the Gloss says: "He shall be punished as if he had actually killed our Lord." It is the living bread as our Lord says in the Gospel of St. John: "I am the living bread, which came down from Heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give, is my Flesh for the life of the world (John vi. 51, 52)." "This life you destroy by an unworthy Communion; for you cause its efficacy to be destroyed in you, and you make it kill your soul, instead of causing it to live. It is true, according to St. Paul, that every mortal sin crucifies and slays again the Son of God: "Crucifying again to themselves the Son of God (Heb. vi. 6); " still that is done in a moral sense by disgracing His image impressed on the human soul, which dies by sin; but in an unworthy Communion the Prototype Himself has to suffer; since He is present in His own sacred and divine person under the appearance of bread and wine; as St. Peter Damian says: "In other things we offend God in His creatures, but in this, we offend Him in His own person," and that too, while He is seated at His own table, where He offers Himself to His dear friends as their food and drink; on His throne of glory, surrounded by angels, who wait on Him; and in His public triumph in which He shows Himself to receive the adoration of all.

According to the Holy Fathers, the chief end our Lord had in view in instituting the Blessed Sacrament, was, that He might be repaid on earth for all the labor and trouble, the frequent hunger and thirst, the watching and fasting, the pains and torments, the insults and injuries, that His sacred Body had to endure during His thirty-three years' life on earth; and that all the members of the true Church should henceforth show Him all the more humble homage and all the greater honor, in proportion to the insults and contumely He endured for their sake. From the very beginning up to the present time, the Catholic Church has distinguished herself by paying the greatest honor to the Blessed Sacrament; therefore we build churches, and have them consecrated, because the hidden God, really and bodily present, takes up His abode in them. Altars are erected and adorned, because every day the bread and wine are changed on them into the Body and Blood of Christ; day and night, candles and lamps burn before the tabernacle; all who enter the church, bend the knee in profound adoration before Him; the people follow Him with uncovered heads in public processions; when He is carried through the streets to the sick, all good Christians, who happen to pass by, show Him honor by accompanying Him, and even princes, kings and emperors have not hesitated to do the same. (Good Christians, I say; for they who, having the opportunity, do not show our Lord that much respect, give sufficient proof, either that they have little faith in the great Lord who is present in the Blessed Sacrament, or that they are ignorant of the proper mode of behaving towards Him.) In a word, as the learned and pious Duns Scotus says: "Nearly every devotion of the Church is directed to the Blessed Sacrament," in order to show honor to it. See now, wicked Christian, what you do, when you dare to receive Holy Communion in the state of sin; you attack the King and Lord of Hosts when He is publicly seated on His throne of, honor and glory; you cast Him into the mire of sin, and thus cause Him a moral suffering and death, which He feels far more acutely, than that He had to suffer long ago at the hands of the Jews and the executioners; and therefore the holy Fathers call an unworthy Communion a renewing and increasing of the Passion and death of Jesus Christ.

One of the bitterest pangs our Lord felt in His Passion was caused by the treason of His Apostle Judas; and that, because the traitor kissed his Master under the appearance of friendship. This was the only complaint that our Lord made to His murderers. "Judas," said He, "dost thou betray the Son of man with a kiss (Luke xxii. 48)?" As if He wished to add: My friend, the kiss I give thee comes from a heart that loves thee truly; but it is not so with thy kiss. If thou desirest to deliver Me into the hands of My enemies, why didst thou not do so in another way? Thou couldst have given them another sign, and said: There is He whom you wish to capture; go and seize Him, and drag Him away. It would Have caused Me less pain, than to betray Me to My sworn enemies by means of a sign of friendship and love. How couldst thou be so wicked as to betray Me by a kiss?

This hypocrisy the traitor was guilty of, while our Lord was still on earth, in the garb of poverty, and when He offered Himself freely to His Father, as a sacrifice for our sins. How much more keenly must not His heart feel the pang caused by the hypocrisy of some Christians, His own beloved children, who, while He is actually seated on His throne of honor and glory, approach Him with down-cast eyes, modest and humble demeanor, and folded hands, not merely to give Him a kiss, but to receive Him into their breasts, that they may treacherously stab Him to the heart, and imbue their hands in His Sacred Blood (for, as our faith teaches, that is what unworthy communicants do)? How much more bitterly our Lord could complain of such traitors! "Judas, dost thou betray the Son of man with a kiss?" Treacherous and perjured Christians, what are you thinking of, that you dare to receive Me in that manner? Do you wish to offend Me publicly? Do you wish to treat Me as your enemy, although I have never given you the least cause to do so? If so, then do not come to Me in the guise of friendship; do not give Me any signs of love; dishonor Me if you are wicked and ungrateful enough to do so; but do it in such a way, that all may see what you mean, and what your feelings are towards Me. Remain away from My Table altogether, and you will cause Me less pain, than by burying Me in your polluted conscience, and thus committing a twofold sin.

The next insult that, in my opinion, must have caused our Lord great pain during His Passion, was the mockery with which the soldiers and executioners treated Him, when they publicly scorned Him as a mock-king. Jesus is the King of glory; but then He was a Teacher of humility, clad in an old purple garment, with a crown of thorns on His head, and a reed in His hands as sceptre, with a hard stone for a throne; in that guise He was surrounded by a crowd of soldiers and executioners, who, amidst bursts of derisive laughter, frequently smote Him on the cheek, and bending the knee before Him in mockery, cried out: "Hail King of the Jews!" Ye heavens, how could you bear that spectacle! And yet, presumptuous Christian, do you not ill-treat in the same manner your glorified Saviour, who is now reigning in triumph as King of Heaven, when you receive Holy Communion in the state of sin? You bend the knee, and bow the head before His altar, you humble yourself and beat your breast, and adore Him with folded hands, and thus you outwardly show Him all reverence; but what is it all, but mocking and laughing at your God as a mock-king; for your heart is still embittered against Him, and you buffet Him anew by the fearful sacrilege you are committing?

Finally, the Jews nailed our Lord to the Cross, and thus put Him to death. But you, false Christians, nail Him to a far more painful and disgraceful cross than the sinless tree was. For you shut Him up in a foul prison, where He must put up with sin, than which nothing is more intolerable to Him, as his companion. They who crucified Him in former times, knew Him not, and looked upon Him as a poor, lowly mortal, who was condemned to a shameful death by the judge's sentence; "for" as St. Paul says: "if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory (I. Cor. ii. 8)." But you, when you approach the holy Table, and receive Holy Communion, know well and believe that He whom you are receiving, is your God, your Saviour, your future Judge, and your greatest Benefactor, for you know and believe that this Sacrament, which you so shamefully abuse with your impure conscience, is the most noble gift of God, a gift that man would never have thought of expecting, if God Himself, the Infallible Truth, had not told us that He had really conferred it on us. On the Cross Christ readily fulfilled the will of His heavenly Father, redeemed the world by His Blood, and restrained the power of the devil; that sweetened the bitterness of His painful death, so that He longed for it, and had no rest until His desire for death was satisfied. But in your sacrilegious Communion He is tortured against His will; on the cross to which you nail Him, He finds nothing but ingratitude, inhuman malice, and everything that can deserve His hatred, His curse, and His reprobation.

It Would make one's hair stand on end to hear of the fearful profanations that Christ has had to suffer in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, from heretics. Jews, sorcerers and other impious people. The contemptuous names that they have for Him in their writings, as a God of bread, as a blind and ignorant God, are the least virulent expressions of their blaspliemons malice. How often have they not plundered consecrated churches, trampled the sacred Host underfoot, and given it to the dogs and cats to be devoured by them? How often have not the Jews pierced the sacred Host with knives, until the blood poured miraculously from it, burned it, cooked it, hung it up in their chimneys, and buried it in their secret chambers. What shall I say of those sorcerers and witches who used the Flesh and Blood of Christ, under the appearance of bread, for purposes of witchcraft, sacrificed it to a foul he-goat, that is, to the devil, on their sabbaths, and desecrated it in various ways? There are many such crimes on record, which are enough to make the demons themselves tremble with horror; much more must I shudder at the bare thought of them. And yet, what is it all, when compared to the insult offered to the Son of God by an unworthy Communion? With the exception of the profanations of those unnatural people, which are grievous enough as far as the malice of the will is concerned (although heretics and Jews thus ill-treated the Blessed Sacrament, more out of contempt for Catholics, than through hatred of Christ), all the other profanations are not so intolerable to our Lord's Person, as to be received in the Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin (examples: divorce and remarriage which is adultery, fornication, homosexuality etc). To be torn to pieces, burnt, and thrown into filthy cesspools is bad enough; but still those places have not any moral wickedness in themselves; they are clean in the eyes of God, compared to the conscience that is defiled by mortal sin; for that is the only thing that is really repulsive in the sight of God, and if our Lord had to make the choice, He would certainly prefer to be thrown on a dunghill, rather than be buried in the heart of a sinner.

I will prove this by a short example taken from the Annals of our Society. In the year 1601, in the Philippine Islands, there was a young man who had committed a secret sin, that he was ashamed to confess; he went to Communion, but hardly had he swallowed the Sacred Host, when he felt such violent pains, that he had to crawl rather than walk out of the church. As soon as he got outside he was attacked by a fit of vomiting, and rejected the Sacred Species, which were still intact; when he was immediately freed from the pain. Evidently our Lord wished to show thereby, that it was more tolerable for Him to be thrown into a filthy corner, than to remain any longer in a heart defiled by mortal sin. Yet, that is not saying half enough; for, as a certain author remarks: "Hell is a more suitable place for the Almighty God, than the house of a sinner. And why? Because in hell He is a Lord of vengeance and a just Judge, who punishes His wicked enemies with deserved torments; whereas in the heart of the sinner, He is compelled to lie, like a prisoner, in a loathsome dungeon, where He is kept, so to speak, only for the purpose of being tortured. Oh man, see how shamefully you ill-treat your Saviour, when you receive Holy Communion in the state of sin! What in the name of God can you be thinking of, as you kneel at the altar rails, with your conscience reproaching you, as it must do, with mortal sin? What does your heart feel, I ask you, when you see the priest coming towards you with the Sacred Host in his hand, and you open your mouth to receive it, into your sinful bosom? Are you not afraid of your Judge? Do you not tremble before the Almighty, in whose presence the purest spirits of Heaven are penetrated with a reverential awe? Do you not fear that the lightning will fall from Heaven, and strike you dead on the spot, or that the earth will open to swallow you up? Do you not dread the fate that happened to many, that you will be struck blind at the altar rails, or become possessed by the devil?

Ah Christians, is it possible that, among Catholics, any one can be found so presumptuous as to dare to receive Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin? What do you think, pious souls? I suppose you can hardly believe that Christians are guilty of such wickedness? Ah, would to God that such were the case! For, only too often, as I fear, is that fearful sin committed by Catholics. The cause of this fear I will tell you in the

Second Part:

There are many kinds of people who generally receive Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin; namely, the unchaste, the vindictive, the unjust, the culpably ignorant; I will say nothing of those who communicate through sheer malice.

First, with regard to the unchaste; how many are there not of both sexes, both married and single, and God grant that there may be none of this kind even among persons consecrated to God! who make a custom of this sin? For they sin either with themselves, or with others for years and years; and during that time their desires tend to illicit intercourse with others, and they either remain in the same house, or otherwise in the proximate occasion of sin with their accomplice, or if the occasion is wanting to them, they have at least a constant desire for sins of impurity, like invalids who, when they are forbidden certain kinds of food and drink, esteem those happy who are allowed to enjoy them. Meanwhile, they communicate several times a year, what are such people thinking of? Oh, they say, we go to Confession beforehand. God help them! what-a poor Confession theirs is! For they can have neither true sorrow nor purpose of amendment, since they remain in the occasion of sin; and thus they burden their souls with a new sacrilege. All their Communions are bad and sacrilegious.

Secondly, the vindictive. I mean those who for a long time have been at enmity and variance with their neighbor; and who, although they say with the lips, I forgive him, and bear no ill-will to him, yet avoid him through spite and refuse to salute him; burst almost with envy when they hear him praised, and exult with a secret joy when they hear of his misfortunes; and if they are in the same trade or employment, do their best to ruin him. Alas, how many people there are who communicate in that state! Neighbors, relations, sometimes brothers and sisters go every month to the Table of the Lord, and yet they hardly speak to each other once in the month, through hatred and ill-will. Is that the way to make a worthy Communion? Does not Christ expressly say in the Gospel of St. Matthew: "If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath anything against thee: Leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother; and then coming, thou shalt offer thy gift (Matth. v. 23-24)." If you do not accuse yourselves of those things in Confession, what sort of a Confession do you make? For you are acting in flagrant violation of the law of Christ: "But I say to you; Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you, etc (Ibid 44)." If you confess those sins each time, but without the intention of being reconciled to your enemy, and are nevertheless allowed to go to Holy Communion, what sort of a confessor have you ? You must know that all your Communions are sacrilegious.

Thirdly, the unjust, who possess wrongfully what belongs to others, and do not restore it when they can and ought to restore it. Alas, how many there are who know, or at least ought to know, that that piece of land, that house, that money, or whatever it may be, does not lawfully belong to them, and still continue to keep possession of it! How many also know that their parents, or ancestors, whose property they have inherited, contracted debts here and there, which have not yet been paid, and who do not pay those debts, because through mistake on the part of the creditors no demand has been made for them! How many who know that they oppress the poor unjustly, and wilfully cause them loss and injury; who know that they defraud their laborers and servants of their wages; either wholly or partially; who know that they have exacted an usurious interest from the needy on account of the distress in which the latter are! How many there are who are conscious of having tried to secure an unjust judgment by bribery and corruption, or otherwise to cheat their opponents out of their rights! How many who have knowingly bought stolen things, or kept what they found without looking for the owner, or cheated in buying, selling, or in other ways; and yet keep all they have thus unjustly gained without the intention of making restitution, or indemnifying the other for the losses caused him, and who remain in that state for ten or twenty years, or even longer, and go to Confession and Communion all the time on the usual days! O my God, what sacrilegious Confessions and Communions those are! who can count the number of them! Still these latter may yet open their eyes, see the gravity of their sins, repent of their unworthy Confessions and Communions and so obtain forgiveness.

But what hope is there for the fourth class, which is by far the most numerous? They flatter themselves when they go to Communion, that they are in the state of grace; and yet they are mistaken. They imagine they have no mortal sin on their conscience, and yet they have enough of them, and that through sheer culpable ignorance, because they do not want to know anything of the sinful lives they lead. They consist, first, of those who have become accustomed to a certain vice, such as drunkenness, detraction, cursing, swearing and other sins, which they confess each time, but never repent of. They think that it is enough for them to tell everything clearly in Confession, and that then they need give themselves no further trouble. They never think of the sorrow and purpose of amendment, which, humanly speaking, it is impossible for them to have with sincerity; at least, the fact of their continued relapses into their former sins shows sufficiently that neither their Confessions nor their Communions have had any effect on their souls; for these two Sacraments, if received properly, frequently, and with good dispositions, must necessarily purify the soul, and sanctify it.

There are others who live in a state of indifference; they trouble themselves little as to whether their actions are good or bad; they are culpably ignorant of the duties of their employment or state of life, or else they neglect to fulfil them, although they are bound both to know and to fulfil them under pain of mortal sin; and they never accuse themselves of these sins. To this class belong those who fill certain important offices and employments for which they know they have not the necessary abilities; so that they are the occasion of much loss and injury to others. To this class especially belong parents who teach their children nothing but the vanities of the world, and take no care about keeping them from evil, instructing them in good, encouraging them to piety and the fear of the Lord, and leading them on to Heaven.

Thirdly, this class consists of all those who live according to the manners and customs of the voluptuous world, and are addicted to many abuses that cannot always be excused from mortal sin, and although they now and then have a reasonable doubt of the lawfulness of their conduct, yet try to banish that doubt by all kinds of false excuses; so that they look upon those abuses as lawful, because many others are addicted to them also. All these people go every month, every fortnight, sometimes every week to Communion, and remain just as they were before; nay, as far as those worldly abuses are concerned, they come to the sacred Table immodestly dressed, to receive their Lord. Ye angels, what think ye of such Communions? St. Paul, what do you say of them? Are the hearts of those people properly disposed to receive the Flesh and Blood of the Most Holy? " Let a man prove himself," you say, to see if he be worthy, "And so let him eat of that bread . . . , for he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself (1. Cor. xi. 28, 29)."

Ah, whoever you may be, who are amongst the number of those of whom I have spoken, I have one request to make of you, by way of conclusion; and that is, that you abstain from Communion, even at Easter, even on your death-bed unless you intend to leave the proximate occasion of sin, to give up your illicit intereourse, to lay aside your hatred and ill-will against your neighbor, to restore what you unjustly possess, and to amend your sinful customs and unlawful abuses. Again, I entreat you, abstain from Communion! It is true that if you do not communicate at Easter-time, you commit a grievous sin against the precept of thc Church, which I do not wish by any means to advise you to commit; still you are guilty of only one sin thereby, and that a much less grievous one than you would commit by an unworthy Communion, in which you would offer a most grievous insult to Jesus Christ. If you have not a sincere purpose of amendment, do not communicate, even on your death-bed; it is true that you will then be lost for ever, and I do not by any means wish to advise you to incur eternal damnation; still your damnation will not be so deep as it would be, if you went into eternity loaded with the weight of an unworthy Communion. O my God, what a terrible situation ours is, if we are compelled to choose between one degree of damnation and another! It remains true, then, sinners, your damnation will be less grievous without, than with a sacrilegious Communion.

Reverence due to the most Holy Sacrament, to what dost then now compel me? To keep souls away from the Table to which our Saviour so lovingly invites all men. "Come to Me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you (Matth. xi. 28)." Come, eat my bread and drink the wine which I have mingled for you (Prov. ix. 5);" which I have prepared for you out of pure love. Come, and come often; the oftener the better. "My delight is to be with the children of men (Ibid. viii. 31)." To keep them away from that food which is the necessary nourishment and strength of their souls against all temptations; from that food, without which, according to our Saviour's own testimony, we cannot have life in us: "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, . . . you shall not have life in you (John vi. 54)." Do I then wish to deter you from receiving this Food? No, my dear brethren, such is not at all my intention; I will forbid no one to approach this table; I say to you all: Come to Holy Communion, and come often; but at the same time I warn you in the words of St. Ambrose, "Let him who wishes to receive Life, amend his life; " Communicate, but with a pure heart; communicate, but not in the state of mortal sin; communicate, but woe to you, if instead of life, you should eat eternal death with the Bread of life!

Still there will be many who will refuse to do as I say. They will go on as usual, and offer the most fearful injuries to our Lord by their unworthy Communions, that they may keep up the appearance of being Catholics. That is the way, O Lord, in which Thy Christians thank Thee, for Thy liberality towards them! Didst Thou not foresee it when Thou wast instituting this Blessed Sacrament? Certainly, Thou didst, and the future ingratitude of men was not unknown to Thee. Why hast Thou, then, given Thyself thus to a thankless world. Why dost Thou not withdraw from it at once? On account of the few souls who receive Thee worthily.

Pious Christians, this is the thought which, I leave you by way of conclusion. For your sake, to remain with you, to be your refuge, consolation and help, to be your food and drink in life, and your Viaticum in the hour of death; (oh love, who can understand thee!) the great God has been pleased to bear with the most outrageous insults from the wicked; He suffers them still, and will continue to suffer them to the end of time. Think now what a debt of praise, thanksgiving, honor and love you owe your God who loves you so much! Think and say with the Prophet David: "What shall I render to the Lord (Ps. cxv. 12)?" Is it not our right, O my God, that I should love Thee with my whole heart, in return, and should fulfil Thy holy will, as far as I know it, most exactly? That I should often visit Thee in this most Holy Sacrament, and adore Thee most modestly and humbly in Thy Church? That whenever I have the opportunity, I should accompany Thee through the streets, as Thou art carried to the sick? That, as often as my confessor allows, I should receive Thee, according to Thy wish and desire, with all possible devotion; and thus help in some measure to atone for the injuries thou sufferest, for my sake, from Jews, heretics and wicked Christians. Yes, that I will do with Thy grace. Amen.




Refusal of the Sacraments to Public Sinners
(Applies to divorced and remarried Catholics, public heretics, those living openly
in fornication [cohabitation without marriage] and homosexual unions etc.)

A public sinner must always be refused the Sacraments, whether he wishes to receive them publicy or secretly. Exception is always made for the Sacrament of Penance if the sinner is right disposed. That one be no longer considered a public sinner, it is generally sufficient that he be known to have gone to Confession. If he is living in a proximate, voluntary occassion of sin (e.g. in concubinage) he must, as a rule, first give this up. In the example given he must likewise first repair public scandal (e.g. by disapproving of a wayward life.)



Mortal Sin: A transgression of the moral law in a serious matter, committed with clear advertence to the grievous nature of the act and with full deliberation and consent on the part of the will. It is called mortal since it deprives the soul of its supernatural life of sanctifying grace. It deserves eternal punishment, since the offence is a deliberate act of rebellion against the infinite Majesty of God.

Sacrilege is committed by the reception of the sacraments unworthily (i.e. while in the state of mortal sin).


Adultery: The completed act of carnal intercourse between persons of different sex, of whom one at least is married to someone else. It is a sin against both chastity and injustice, and if both parties are married the offense is aggravated, for each one incurs a double sin of injustice. For a married person to give consent to his or her partner's adultery does not alter the sin, for marriage rights are inalienable.

Adultery is always mortally sinful and bars the sinner not only from Holy Communion but from heaven itself unless this sin is repented of: "Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God."--1 Corinthians 6: 9-10

Attempted Marriage: A married person, who attempts a second marriage, becomes a public sinner, and is to be excommunicated or placed under a personal interdict (2356).


Concubinage: the state--more or less permanent--of a man and woman living together in illicit intercourse. Persons living in public concubinage are not to be admitted to Holy Communion. "Any one publicly living in concubinage shall be excluded from all legitimate ecclesiastical acts until he has repented and amended his life" (Canon: 2357, 3). Persons living in concubinage are not to be admitted to Holy Communion (855). Public or notorious concubinage is a source of impediment of public propriety. (1074)


Fornication: is a completed act of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who are not married but are free to marry. It is a grave sin and intrinsically wrong and are mortally sinful. As with all mortal sins, Holy Communion cannot be received without committing grave sacrilege.


Q. Can anyone change the doctrine of Jesus Christ, or the articles of faith, the commandments, or the sacraments? or Could some new doctrine, new commandment, or new sacrament be added; or could some of the articles of faith, some of the commandments, or some of the sacraments be left out?

A. By no means.

Q. Why not?

A. Because not even the Apostles themselves had power from Christ to add to, or leave out, any portion of Christ's doctrine.

Q. What does St. Paul say to assure us that nothing whatsoever can be added to, or left out of the doctrine of Jesus Christ?

A. He says: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we said before so now I say again: if any one preach to you a gospel besides that which you have received, let him be accursed." Gal. i. 8, 9.



"Hold firmly that your faith is identical with that of the ancients. Deny this, and you dissolve the unity of the Church."--(St. Thomas Aquinas)

"If anyone rejects any written or unwritten tradition of the church, let him be anathema." (Second Council of Nicaea 787 A.D.)



There Can be No New Dogmas or Progress in Church Teachings

"The Church of Christ, zealous and cautious guardian of the dogmas deposited with it, never changes any phase of them. It does not diminish them or add to them; it neither trims what seems necessary nor grafts things superfluous; it neither gives up its own or usurps what does not belong to it. But it devotes all its diligence to one aim: to treat tradition faithfully and wisely; to nurse and polish what from old times may have remain unshaped and unfinished; to consolidate and strengthen what already was clear and plain; and to guard what already was confirmed and defined."--(St. Vincent of Lerins, 5th century A.D.)

"What then should a Catholic do if some part of the Church were to separate itself from communion with the universal Faith? What other choice can he make but to prefer to the gangrenous and corrupted member the whole of the body that is sound. And if some new contagion were to try to poison no longer a small part of the Church, but all of the Church at the same time, then he will take the greatest care to attach himself to antiquity which, obviously, can no longer be seduced by any lying novelty." (St. Vincent of Lerins, c. 434 A.D.)