How to deal with the pervasive problem of sacrilegious Communions

Over at Stella Borealis there is a good, common-sensical post which has … well… good common sense.   These things have been said here at WDTPRS before, but repetita iuvant!

The biggest abuse at almost every parish is the nearly 100% reception of Holy Communion by the congregation in parishes that have minuscule Confession opportunities and lines. [We don't know it's nearly 100%.  Let's call it, 99%.]

I would think that the Communion Fast from food before reception should be increased from one hour to three hours. [To help move people's perception away from the mistake that Communion is "fast food".] This would make it much more likely that many parishioners would not be able to keep the fast and if they were adequately catechized, they would not want to receive Communion. [And would give people a way to remain in the pew without worrying that others might think he is refraining because of sin.  He could instead be refraining because of the fast.]

This requirement and that of being free from Mortal Sin should be announced by the celebrant immediately before Communion in every Mass for several years before the habit of sacrilegious reception can be minimized. [A similar announcement is generally given at Christmas and Easter Masses and at marriages and other events where large numbers of non-Catholics might be present].

Ushers should cease guiding communicants “row by row” up to the front. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?] Let them go up as they want, or don’t want. Then it won’t be so conspicuous if some don’t receive, putting an end to idle speculations as to which mortal sin ones neighbor or pew-mate had committed.

Confession opportunities must then be increased for parishioners to more than just 30-60 minutes before the Saturday Vigil Mass.

These common sense comments aim at reducing sacrilegious Communions by reducing both the perception that you must go to Communion just because you are there and also the psychological pressure to go even when you know you shouldn’t.

Making bad Communions, when you are not in the state of grace and you know it, is itself is deadly sin.  You harm yourself and you harm everyone else.  You place yourself in real danger of eternal separation from God.

“But Father! But Father!”, I can hear some of who whiners revving up. “Can you then explain…”

NO.  This doesn’t need an explanation.

Go to confession.

If it is hard to go easily because the schedule is so sparse, then do it the hard way and go somewhere else. Car pool if you have to.  Invite others to go.  Can’t get out of the house for a legitimate reason of health, etc?  Call the parish until someone pays attention.

Is it worth it to put it off?  Really?   For the love of God just TRY.

Priests/Bishops: If according to your means you don’t provide for the confessions of the people in your charge you will probably go to hell.

WDTPRS KUDOS to Stella Borealis for having his head screwed on in the right direction!

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47 Responses to How to deal with the pervasive problem of sacrilegious Communions

  1. Paul says:

    I am neither a priest nor a bishop, but this just made me shudder with horror, “Priests/Bishops: If according to your means you don’t provide for the confessions of the people in your charge you will probably go to hell.” Sitting here on my lunch break at work, I offered a prayer for my own soul, the souls of those who neglect confession, and most of all, for those charged with the task of bringing the sacraments to us.

  2. Titus says:

    Ushers should cease guiding communicants “row by row” up to the front. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?] Let them go up as they want, or don’t want.

    I know this is a popular point of advocacy among a lot of people who lament the very real problem the original author and Fr. Z both properly decry. But how many people have ever seen the alternative? Neither over-reception nor pew-by-pew are widely practiced among many Hispanic congregations (nor, for that matter, does frequent reception even among the properly prepared appear to be). But if you’re at such a Mass, and are properly disposed, attempting to receive the Blessed Sacrament is a bit tricky, because the whole process is a bit chaotic. For instance, some people from the front meander up towards father, and while you’re waiting until what you perceive might be your turn, the first group all finish and father packs up the ciborium. Maybe there are better examples of how this should work out there, but I have yet to observe them.

    Pew-by-pew can be done properly. I don’t think we have to choose between a cattle herd and a drive through.

  3. James Joseph says:

    I have observed, for myself, that communion rails cause me enjoy a greater sense of freedom to act of my conscience in avoiding sacriligeous reception of the Most Blessed Sacrament, whilst communion lines tend make me feel forced to go to Communion lest I stick out like a sinful and sore thumb.

    People just plain feel like they have no freedom to act. Without freedom how can anyone understand anything of Wisdom? I remember one day at Mass when a young woman said, “But Mom, I can’t go. I haven’t been to Church in a LONG time!” And the mother like a hiss out of hell, “YOU’RE GONNA’ GO TO COMMUNION!” I think the poor girl who knew her state was so confused that when dictated to by incompetent authority that she wanted to just curl-up and die.

    An altar rail would have allowed her the freedom to get up and wander around and sit back down without being conspicuous.

    According to the venerable Holy Name Society man and “keeper of the tomato seed,” the marble high altar, raredos, marble altar rails, candlesticks, &cetra at this parish are reportedly in the basement. There is hope, in that, the side altar and rail was never wreck-o-vated.

    +++
    alms. fasting. prayer.

  4. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Fr. Bill Casey, C.P.M. (The Fathers of Mercy) once said of the nearly 100% reception of Holy Communion at your average parish, “There are either a host of people ready for canonization or there are a whole lot of sacreligious communions taking place. Which do you think is the more likely of the two?”

    MSM

  5. Joseph-Mary says:

    We have confession times TWELVE times a week! After each of the two daily Masses and again on Saturday morning and on Monday evening during adoration.

    The one time we don’t have it is before the Saturday vigil Mass; one can go to the other parishes for that slim window of time.

    And, need I add, there are always folks in line at each confession time. “If you build it, they will come”.

    Yet this is a parish of 1800 families and there are many who refuse to avail themselves of these many confession times and the fault is all theirs. I have been in parishes where 1) the priest refuses to hear confessions outside of the 45 minutes on Saturday, and 2) the only time is a narrow window on Saturday and there are few in line.

    Dear priests: please make confession more available!!! It will intensify the way you live your own priesthood.

  6. priests wife says:

    Paul- me, too.

    We Byzantines don’t have ushers to force the row by row communion- also it is the tradition to give Holy Communion with species together so receiving by mouth is the only way and only deacons and priests distribute the sacrament-

    so….on days like Christmas when more people are at Divine Liturgy, it can get a little chaotic and the cantors need to lead more songs- but that’s ok!

    Off to confession

  7. Ralph says:

    Paul echos my feelings when reading the post.

    Rev. Fathers or anyone else with knowledge – a question. The EF Masses in our area offer confession before and during the Mass itself. I have been told by some older folks that this was a very common practice at all Masses in years past. Is this no longer allowed in the NO Mass? Did it die out from lack of Priests to be able to both celebrate Mass and hear confessions at the same time? [You might look at this.]

    If logistics allowed, the return to this practice might really help. I have seen folks at my own parish refrain from going to the confessional out of fear that they were delaying Father from starting the Mass.

  8. Jack Hughes says:

    a) I’m not sure that increasing the length of the Fast would do much, in my exprience I don’t think that people would abide by it.

    b) I’m not sure that increased opportunites for confession would help

    c) I can of two things that would help. (a) removing the indult that allows people to recieve our Lord in the Hand, this would help to restore a sense of the sacred that is so desperately lacking in our worship. (b) catechising people on the nature of the Church as the Bride of Christ, the fact that our souls are espoused to Christ in baptism and of how intimate the act of receiving Holy Communion is ( I love a quote of St Peter Julian Eymnnard on this topic). As a Virgin who plans to remain that way I can’t express how I long to recieve my Eternal Bridegroom each day as I give myself completely to him and he gives himself completely to me.

    This would probebly also shock people out of making indifferent Communions and set their souls on fire for the Bread of Heaven as well as examining on whether they are in a state of Grace before recieving (I must confess here that although I receive daily that like Bl. Emily Bicchieri I can sometimes be overly scrupulous).

  9. Aaron B. says:

    Titus, I’m not sure he meant we should go up randomly, but apparently some parishes have the ushers “release” people one pew at a time to go forward. So the usher’s standing there looking at you, as are the people in the pew behind you, wondering if maybe you’re daydreaming or clueless, and you’re forced to motion “I’m not going” in sign language somehow so things can move along. There’s clearly no need for this, since many parishes manage to go pew-by-pew every day without ushers, so it’s just another attempt to give people something to do.

    When I started going to a TLM, I was unable to receive Communion for nearly a year, but I was never embarrassed about staying in the pew. That was for two reasons: A) I wasn’t the only one, as I would have been in many churches; and B) no one was looking at me anyway. One thing I noticed right away was the lack of rubbernecking — people were looking at the altar or had their heads bowed. Oh sure, some probably noticed I never went, but they didn’t stare or glare, and it always seemed like they were busy minding their own business.

  10. ghp95134 says:

    Ralph: “…I have been told by some older folks that this was a very common practice at all Masses in years past. Is this no longer allowed in the NO Mass? ….”

    It is the norm at Our Lady of Peace Shrine in Santa Clara, CA. 100% Novus Ordo … AND very reverently prayed.

    –Guy Power

  11. rakesvines says:

    I most certainly and would like to add the communion on rails where the servers meticulously catch the dust of sacred particles that may fall. It makes people become more aware of the awesome reality happening before them.

    The liturgical reform of going back to the original Eucharistic meals decribed in scriptures discounts all the theological and mystical development around the Eucharist for over 2000 years. So, that so called reform is looking more like a deformation because there’s more to it than a memorial.

  12. Aaron B. says:

    Things like a longer fast and increased availability of Confession will only help if people are taught again that following the precepts of the Church….you know, matters. As long as people believe you can follow your own conscience on virtually any issue, they’ll ignore whatever stricter rules are put in place as gladly as they’ve ignored the lax ones. After all, though there are certainly parishes where it’s difficult to say a good Confession, there aren’t enough to explain the 75% “never go to Confession” rate that’s reported in polls. Most of those are people who think they don’t need to; not people who are trying to but can’t find a priest willing to do it.

    Eliminating Communion in the hand would be an excellent way to start that reeducation. It’s not just about teaching the rules again; it’s about giving people a sense of why they’re important.

  13. watters says:

    When I am unable to partake, I join the communion line, bow to the Body of Christ and then return to my seat, enjoying the moment of adoration and praying for spiritual communion. It is simple, meaningful and works.

    If someone is thinking ill of me because I am in sin and recognize my state, perhaps the example will help them in the future. Until people can get over being seen to not take communion, I doubt you will see an increase in those going to confession. In confession they have to get over taking the time, the effort, being seen in the line, and revealing their sins to another person.

  14. iudicame says:

    I believe most people go to communion because they have no idea what “sacrilegious” means AND a much smaller proportion will go (even tho…) because there is no perceived easy way out.

    I have also been to packed churches where folk can find their own way to communion – ushers are not necessary.

    My solution – in the same sense we are commanded to greet each other before the processional and to also silence electronic devices, etc…In the same sense that Mass is interrupted to announce the girl scouts cookie sale, etc: That the priest (in 45 seconds or less) declare that those wanting to receive Communion 1) have fasted beforehand (easy out) and 2) Not have mortal sin un-confessed such as missing Mass or other mortal sins as described in the weekly bulletin. AND “confession will be available before every Mass from now on”. Perhaps a lesson from the pulpit once a month re the mortal sin of unworthily receiving is also in order.

    m

  15. o.h. says:

    JamesJoseph’s point about the unhappy situation of children should not be overlooked.

    I teach 3rd grade CCD, and each year I have a number of children in my class who have never been to confessions since their first confession the previous year. When I teach them that they must not go up to receive Communion with a serious sin on their conscience, and must go to confession first, they are invariably cast into despair.

    “But my parents don’t go to confession.” [Yes; they can't drive themselves to the church, can they?]

    “But if I didn’t take Communion, my mom would make me tell what I did.” [I don't doubt for a moment that their parents would demand to know what their child had done that required confession; how many of us would ask for an appointment for confession if the parish secretary demanded that we tell her what our sins were before granting an appointment?]

    So they go on, year after year, receiving Communion each week and never going to confession, just like their parents. Many of them arrived in my oldest daugher’s Confirmation class, admitting that they had never been to confession since second grade. And who is to blame? No doubt they will not be taking their children to regular confession, if they even stay in the Church.

  16. Golatin5048 says:

    Very well said! This needs to happen.

    I was thinking one day. I got to daily mass at least 3 times a week, I always see the servers go up, and after mass straight to school,(we have a school at our parish). I was thinking, “How many of those kids ate in the before coming here, because they have to go straight to school?”

  17. Golatin5048 says:

    Communion rails need to come back!

    I just attended my first TLM about a month ago. It was VERY cool and very interesting that, instead of everyone forming one line pew by pew, everyone just got up and headed to the Communion rail. I thought this was SO neat and it kind of showed how people from all over the world are united through the Holy Mass.

  18. Ralph says:

    Thanks Father Z.
    You answered my question with your prior post.

  19. Tradster says:

    I’m sorry but to me nothing degrades the Eucharist like the sight of thousands upon thousands of people at the enormous “papal concerts” putting down their drinks and snacks (or even indulging while in line) to go up and grab their wafer in their filthy hands. How could extending the fast or enforcing reception on the tongue on a parish level hope to succeed against those televised sacriligious events?

  20. andycoan says:

    “When I am unable to partake, I join the communion line, bow to the Body of Christ and then return to my seat, enjoying the moment of adoration and praying for spiritual communion. It is simple, meaningful and works.”

    watters, I do the same. Go with the rest of the pew, and when you reach the front, make a respectful bow to our Lord, and keep walking. There’s no tripping over people who remain in the pew, and no confusion. The little ones who’ve not made their first communion yet do it every week. It’s not rocket science.

  21. Shadow says:

    @Joseph-Mary: “We have confession times TWELVE times a week!”

    My response: I ENVY YOU! (in a good way)

  22. Henry Edwards says:

    Requirements like state of grace and longer fast, though commendable, likely would do little without change of attitude.

    Echoing some of the previous comments, a return to ad orientem celebration and communion on the tongue while kneeling would probably eradicate the frivolous and superficial view of Communion is encouraged by current practices.

  23. motheroften says:

    Just encountered this problem at a local parish this past week. After arriving a half hour early for confession before mass, the priest ( who was not saying the mass but is the new pastor) stopped the confession line before the last few people could go stating ‘,ass was beginning’. After mass one of the penitents who had been waiting patiently and then unable to receive communion went to the priest who said mass and asked if he would be willing to hear his confession. This priest then said “The new pastor has said confessions are from 7-7:30 before mass begins, if I hear your confession now after mass I will set a precedent and so you’ll have to wait till next week.” This left half a dozen people unable to get to confession since obviously there was not enough time, or not even priests to hear everyone who had come at the appointed hours.

  24. Sixupman says:

    A priest new to the parish placed notices in the pews concerning a State of Grace and the reception of Communion – there was an uproar, with some leaving the parish. Australia, if I recollect correctly.

  25. MarieSiobhanGallagher says:

    I add that the zealous ushers, Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, Communion standing and in the hand, and de-emphasis of Confession, in my opinion, are the culprits for sacrilegious reception of Communion. Recently I was attending a Sunday mass in the ordinary form. Around the offertory, a family of three, mother father and daughter arrived to mass and sat in front of me. Daughter eating cereal out of a plastic bag. Mother giving inquiring looks at daughter. Mother then leaves pew to go to the sanctuary to distribute communion. Daughter munching on cereal all the way up to receive. Parents say nothing. I see teens chewing wads of gum on their way to receive. On Thanksgiving morning, we attended the local ordinary form and the ushers were completely obnoxious. One guy was holding up his hand to indicate that he did not want to go to communion and the usher just kept waving at him saying, “C’mon! It’s OK!” It was so annoying I wanted to jump in there. Fortunately, the man did not budge from the pew. I found a host (I presume consecrated, I ate it) in the missal holder one morning. I could go on and on, but I’m sure I don’t need to here, but I find myself increasingly distracted by these things and it makes me wonder if I am then improperly disposed since I am in such a tizzy.

  26. Fr. Basil says:

    \\Ushers should cease guiding communicants “row by row” up to the front. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?]\\

    Not from me, Fr. John.

    I wish at my parish we would have ushers indicating people to go “row by row” when there is an exceptionally large crowd at some Sunday Liturgies, for example, when there is a Baptism or a Memorial (priest’s wife will know what I’m talking about).

    It’s become VERY disorderly at times.

  27. JuliB says:

    At the TLM I occasionally attend, we still go up row by row even without ushers. We are trained well. However, people remain in the pews – it’s no big deal as far as I can tell.

    At mass yesterday, Father announced we were having a confessions available in 3 languages from 2-5 PM. I had to laugh, because if you go to that after going to Mass, aren’t you likely indicating that you rec’d Communion while not in a state of grace?

  28. GirlCanChant says:

    @JuliB: Not necessarily, since you can go to Confession and confess only venial sins (if you haven’t committed any mortal ones).

  29. bookworm says:

    If I don’t feel properly disposed to receive Communion — for whatever reason — I just stay in the pew. I used to cringe at the thought of “what everyone would think” but then I realized, probably 95 percent of the people in attendance don’t know me from Adam anyway; and of the remaining 5 percent, they probably have other things to worry about than why I didn’t go to Communion that day. And even if they do care, they will probably forget about it as soon as they leave Mass. No one has ever had the gall to ask me why I didn’t receive Communion, and if anyone ever did, I’d just tell them that it was none of their beeswax.

    It seems to me that in real life, most people probably don’t think or care about what YOU do nearly as much as you THINK they do.

  30. unsilenced says:

    @Titus: I am latino and grew up in a latin “country” and everyone that wanted to receive communion was able to receive without any ushers guiding us. You just get up and go up, if there is a line: you wait… how is that complicated? and why the need to compare that to cattle? really? Just because you are not used to it doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. it works perfectly fne for us and no one feels obligated to get up.

  31. keithp says:

    Like many, if I don’t believe in my heart that I am in a state to recieve communion, I just don’t.
    As one who was away from the Church for many years, while in the process of having our marriage validated, I did not recieve communion despite the fact that our pastor told me it was okay.

    This issue reminds me of a story that my baseball coach used to tell, he said he’d take a single base hit from his players everytime. Singles end up scoring runs if you can get enough of them. In this case, the singles are many of those items mentioned already… reinstall the communion rails, longer fast, communion on the tongue, more easily accessible confession. And, the priests reinforcing the needs for penance. Enough of these happening often will START to get the message across.

    I also want to add the necessity of stopping the blessings given during communion. I am convinced that this reduces, to some folks, the crystal clear beauty of communion. The “blessing in lieu of communion” detracts from the sacramental importance. Also, get rid of teen age EMHC’s. Ugh….

  32. Supertradmum says:

    We have had three winter storms in two weeks. My aged parents could not get to the one communal Penance service and the priest in their parish does not have regularly set Confession times. I tried to find a time to take my parents and was surprised that my parish was only having Confessions for 15 minutes before one Mass on Sunday, when it was below zero, and tomorrow for fifteen minutes. We are having another storm, and I am not sure they will be able to get out. If there were more times, my Aged Ps could have made one time. As it was, they could not get to Confession before Christmas. The priests in this diocese just do not care, or think it is valuable.

    This is particularly hard on those who have trouble getting about. Us “younger ones” can clean off our car and drive a distance to find Confessions.

  33. TKS says:

    My parish has 2000+ families. Confession is an hour before Saturday Vigil Mass with two priests. I have been bringing my Mother an hour early to this Mass for many years so we are there during this time. There are sometimes a few people in the lines. Without making judgments, it seems that Catechesis is sorely needed because the numbers don’t add up.

  34. Tantum Ergo says:

    I’m extremely fortunate that in going to daily Mass, I can ask any priest to hear my confession.
    One priest told me that he knows he must hear confessions “because that’s why God gave me ears.” I hope all priests will consider that kindness to a penitent is kindness to Christ Himself.

  35. Aaron B. says:

    “At the TLM I occasionally attend, we still go up row by row even without ushers. We are trained well.”

    Maybe this is a regional thing. Here in the Midwest, I’ve never been to a Mass — either Form — where this was an issue. If you’re in the tenth pew, you wait until pews 1-9 have gone, and then you go. How hard is that? I can’t imagine needing ushers to tell us when the pews in front of us are empty. Even in fan-shaped churches where there might be 3-4 aisles of people leading up to a dozen EMHCs, people seem to figure it out just fine.

  36. benedetta says:

    I agree with Fr. Z…that if it isn’t scheduled, and, also, if it is only face-to-face, if we are berated or not taken seriously for our willingness to avail ourselves of the sacrament, or if it is disconcerting for any reason, to just go somewhere else. I have noticed that when a priest reputed for taking the sacrament as of value visits town for a retreat or talk that people are willing to wait an hour or more for him to hear their confessions but at the same time would dismiss the notion of showing up for the sacrament with their local parish priest. Perhaps people wish to be taken seriously in seeking the peace the sacrament offers and know that if a priest has spoken on the topic then they believe that he is likely to be sensitive. Interesting…that orthodoxy also denotes a pastoral approach. The priests who preach on confession and encourage people to unburden themselves are also those who are perceived by the faithful as confessors. The approach of liberalism of minimizing the sacrament, substituting the opportunity for individual confessions with communal penance services (do people really feel comfortable to take their turn at such events?) all billed as triumphantly pastoral, has had the unintended consequence of increasing shame such that people do not feel comfortable showing up for the minimal face to face time slot in the parishes. No matter, just look elsewhere…we would drive to a decent dentist, or, physician, right?

  37. K_Suzanne says:

    I used to find not taking Communion at a N.O. Mass to be intimidating, but I’ve found it lately to be a good opportunity: It’s an opportunity explain (charitably, cheerfully, and without embarrassment) to an un-catechized friend or family member who asks, “Yes, there are reasons to not go to Communion, and they are…”

    Funnily enough, once I adopted this mindset, my frequency of being ill-disposed to receive has greatly decreased. :)

  38. webpoppy8 says:

    I’m glad I’m not a priest or bishop responsible for making these kinds of calls. Thank God I don’t have to discern the souls approaching Communion!

    For me, Eucharist is “a remedy, not a reward.” I pray for mercy before and after Communion.

    I have friends disturbed by the disposition of others at Mass. I generally urge them not to let others in the congregation distract them from the mystery of the Eucharist.

    And thanks, Father Z, on keeping up the call for greater availability of Confession!

  39. Stephen Matthew says:

    I think this is a two fold problem.

    One part of it is the difficulties in not receiving, or the pressure to receive, which ever way you look at that. Almost everyone is going, so no one wants to stick out. Also, it is far more convenient to just get up and go instead of making everyone crawl over you. Then once you are face to face with whoever is ministering communion and up in front of everyone it is again difficult to not receive. Then there are all the people such as children or others who are attending mass with family or friends who will then be likely to ask questions, or think things, or what not. There is great social pressure to just go along with the flow. Plus if a person is in a state of sin, it is easy to think that one more sin will not make much difference (which is true in a certai way, but completely false in others). So even someone who knows what ought to be done will likely find pressure (or at least imagined pressure) to conform and receive.

    Then there is the issue of education, formation, preparation, and practices. Most of the above problems can at least be mitigated. First and foremost belief in the Real Presance must be fostered through preaching, teaching, adoration, reverence, etc. It is essential that all Catholics know who the Eucharist is and what grace is available. Second, the Eucharist must be handled with the utmost respect. Thus liturgy should have proper reverence, ministers should take their time when distributing and do it right, the people should likewise receive in a reverent manner. So we must know the truth about the Eucharist and we must act as if that is the truth. (Many ideas have been mentioned about particular practical ideas to make communion more reverent, any or all of these could be a great help.) Also in the matter of teaching and preaching, sin, confession, penance, and yes, even hell must not be forgotten. Again we must at least give everyone the opportunity to know the right thing. Then we must put this into practice with more confession times and the like.

    I would also like to mention that something should be said and taught regarding not judging or presuming regarding the state of others. We must not assume someone is living in grave sin nor must we assume everyone is a saint, even if something seems to point one direction or the other.

    I very much like the idea of a reverent bow by those who are stuck in the line but not able to receive. This could be a good practice for young children, too, and it certainly seems better than the pseudo- blessings from the EMHC.

  40. Kevin B. says:

    My geographical parish has 9000 individuals on the rolls. Confessions are by appointment or on Saturday beginning at 4:45 pm with Mass at 5:30. I seldom go on Saturday evening Mass, but the pews are always packed and I never see more than seven people in line. Here’s one you may not have seen before: the confessional is in the front of the church, practically within the sanctuary, so everyone can see you in line. I presume (I hope) that many are like me and go to one of the adjacent parishes which are much more generous with their scheduled times for confession. Otherwise… keep the pastor in your prayers. I don’t mean to judge the state of his soul, but I fear he will face a terrible reckoning if he doesn’t change his ways.

  41. BenedictXVIFan says:

    I believe we need to look at our going up to receive Communion as a form of witness. I recently read where our reception symbolizes, not Christ’s, but our own resurrection. If we are not in a state where we are ready to face final judgement and therefore be resurrected, then we are not in a state to truthfully give witness by receiving the sacrament that symbolizes our resurrection. We would be a fraud.

  42. Kate says:

    Amen, Father!

  43. don Jeffry says:

    I often speak of the need for the sacrament of confession when I preach. I also often say that a priest has much more respect for a person who confesses their sins than for a person that says “I haven’t killed anybody, stolen anything, etc.” The person who confesses their sins is living in reality and is living the proper rapport with God.
    Merry Christmas,
    don Jeffry

  44. James Locke says:

    Not gonna lie, that pressure to receive communion is massive, even when you know you ought not for any reason. Its awful. I once saw someone post on their Facebook about how they ate an apple absentmindedly before mass and thus didn’t receive. He was shot guilt glares by the people around him and even asked why he did not go up. I honestly once said that the fast ought to be six hours and a young lady from the CM at my university asked me why I would ever want to deny MORE people communion. It is shameful the way that people treat the Lord with such flippancy.

  45. I have thankfully never experienced ushers ushering people up by the pew. The lines just tend to sort themselves out anyway.

  46. benedetta says:

    You know another consequence of this present state of affairs is that folks who are currently divorced, separated, or living in a marriage not valid in the Church come to be the only who decline joining the line to receive communion…now how pastorally “fair”/appropriate is that? Surely there are excellent pastoral reasons for teaching and encouraging people to receive in a state of grace…even those whose faith is informed according to secularism and assimilation must know that even by standards of behavioral psychology, cognitive psychology, one, those who practice their religion report in surveys of such things a greater level of satisfaction, fulfillment and overall happiness in life, and, two, it is a basic precept of our culture today such as it is even that anything worth “having” is worth working for, even in small steps over time…if you are a practitioner of yoga, you don’t just do it all instantly, it is all approached in steps over time (and unfortunately you can go to a so-called “Catholic” retreat center and, do yoga…in lieu of…). So it is even with our faith, that if you wish to substitute a virtue for a, vice, bad habit, sin, call it what you will…you will have to start where you are and make small steps towards a different way. So frequent confession and attendance at Mass are already there in our faith to help us along in this way…no need to consult yoga, buddhism, reiki or otherwise reinvent the wheel! Don’t our priests and bishops want the faithful to be “happy”, after all? What kind of yoga studio is this…they want us to instantly assume some exotic pose and reach nirvana all in one giant contortion? ; )

  47. JMody says:

    ACK – this raises another pet peeve of mine. Look inside your paperback misal/missalette at church sometime – ours are the hideous thing from Oregon catholic Press – at the statement from “the United States Catholic Conference” copyrighted 1996 about guidelines receiving communion for Catholics, other Christians, and non-Christians. It is scandalously vague.
    http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/current/intercom.shtml
    “Guidelines for the Reception of Communion”
    Look particularly at what it says to non-Catholic Christians:

    Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion.

    This doesn’t say anything about the fact that the Reformation denominations deny the Real Presence, and so according to St. Paul in 1 Cor are incurring a supreme penalty if they partake. It says nothing of the fact that Catholics believe it really is the Body and Blood of Christ, and non-Catholics specifically do NOT.

    How can a layman request a revision and simplification to this? Or maybe even propose the revision?