...even if it is hard to hear.
First, clarifications on what was NOT said.
It was NOT suggested (by the Archbishop)that ministers should deny the Eucharist to those who oppose Church Teaching.
The reason I really dig this is (and get ready, because I am sure a handful of you will disagree), I actually don't understand how Bishops/Cardinals can advise ministers of the Eucharist to deny Jesus to those who approach if they are known to hold views that oppose Church teaching. And here's why. We believe, as Catholics, that one can never judge the 'state' of one's soul. That is a deeply personal thing between the individual and God. I think it is a REALLY dangerous thing to suggest a minister of the Eucharist can make that type of a judgment about a person's soul when approaching the Eucharist. For all the minister knows, that person on his/her way up to communion might have just had a conversion of heart. So I just think it is a dangerous game to play. But thankfully, that wasn't what our Archbishop was suggesting.
It was not suggested that those who struggle to understanding Church teachings shouldn't receive the Eucharist.
Let's face it, in our culture a lot of us have questions about Church teaching. A lot of us toil with how to live out our faith in a culture that does not support it. A LOT of us have questions about how to best love people, when their views are so very different from ours, or from what our Church teaches. Sincere questioning, seeking answers, with a trust in the Church, is fantastic and natural and necessary. The Archbishop did not say that those that wrestle with the everyday realities of our faith should not receive the Eucharist. It's just not what he said.
BUT, what he did say is those that are actively opposed to Church teachings, should consider not receiving the Eucharist.
And, here is where I drop a little knowledge...
See, when we, as Catholics, approach the Body of Christ, when we say, 'AMEN' we are saying 'I BELIEVE'. Most of us know that we are saying, "I believe I am receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord" But there are other things we are suppose to be saying...
"I believe there is a God who loves me and wants a relationship with me."
"I believe that God suffered, died on a cross and rose again in order to save me"
"I believe that Jesus instituted, through the Holy Spirit, the Roman Catholic Church"
"I believe that Jesus gave the Church the ability to express authority here on earth"
"I believe the Holy Spirit continues to guide ALL teachings of the Church to lead the faithful to eternal union with God"
There are lots of other things that we mean when we say, 'AMEN',when we say, 'I BELIEVE', but those are a few of the things. This is one of the reasons the Church says only Catholics should receive the Eucharist. It isn't because we want to 'exclude' others, but rather, because we are kind of into respecting the freedom to choose faith and we don't want people to agree to something they don't mean. It is a mutual respect.
And that is what Archbishop Vigneron was getting at. It is a matter of intergrity. It is a matter of having your actions match your words. To be Catholic isn't just a fancy title you wear because you are used to saying it. To be Catholic doesn't mean you just identify with being 'kind' to others, and taking care of the poor. To be Catholic means that you are baptized into a CREED. Into a set of beliefs, and, if you do not hold the beliefs, you should rethink whether or not you should approach the Holy Eucharist saying, 'AMEN', saying, 'I BELIEVE' especially if you have already decided you don't.
And that my friends, is just reality. This is a good thing. This is about personal integrity. This is about having your actions match your words. I ADORE that Archbishop Vigneron used perjury as an example of why it is wrong to hold firmly to beliefs that are against the Church, while at the same time receiving the Body of Christ and saying, 'AMEN' to all that Body contains.
What the shepherd did a few days ago, was take a second to teach his flock. He took a second to remind us all about our personal responsibility in the faith. AND, if isn't sitting well with you, instead of whining about how awful your Church is...maybe it's time for you to brush up on what your church ACTUALLY believes. And that, my friends, is a bit of sass to end!
Have a great Wednesday!
The Break of Spring
4 days ago