Bp. Egan (D. Portsmouth): denial of Communion can be act of mercy, love

It is time for happy and articulate culture warriors to rise up and speak out.

The Bishop of Portsmouth, England, Most Reverend Philip Egan, explained clearly what every bishop and priest ought to be able to repeat in public with sincere charity for their deeply confused and demoralized flocks.

If you vote in favor of or support redefinition of marriage to include same-sex unions, you should extract yourself from the Communion line and not receive.  If you are support pro-abortion laws and the politicians who make them, you should not go forward for Communion.  If you are a widely recognized public figure and you support things that are contrary to nature and to the Church’s clear teachings, then pastors of souls should help you, in charity, to see your error and, while protecting the flock from your scandalous bad example, deny you Holy Communion.

From Life News:

UK bishop: Denying Communion to anti-life/family politicians is ‘an act of mercy’

PORTSMOUTH, England, March 13, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – “When people are not in communion with the Catholic Church on such a central thing as the value of life of the unborn child and also in terms of the teachings of the church on marriage and family life – they are voting in favor of same-sex marriage – then they shouldn’t be receiving Holy Communion,” said Portsmouth Bishop Philip Egan in a wide-ranging on-camera interview with LifeSiteNews last week.

Bishop Egan explained that rather than a punitive measure, the denial of Holy Communion is “always an act of mercy.” It is done, he said, “with the hope and prayer that that person can be wooed back into full communion with the Church.”

Nobody is forced to be Catholic. We’re called by Christ and He’s chosen us, it’s a free choice. We live under the word of God. It’s not my truth, its God’s truth,” he said. [As it has been said, I am just the mailman.  I don't get to edit the mail.]

“One would hope that in that case it would encourage someone to come back to seek communion with the Lord with the truth and say I’m sorry I got lost.”

The difficulties faced by Catholics and other Christians in an increasingly secular and intolerant Britain are keenly felt. Bishop Egan has been outspoken in his defence of life and family, writing to the Prime Minister and speaking eloquently on the issues. He has himself experienced backlash both in terms of “unpleasant correspondence” and even a confrontation at the Cathedral.

For him, however, the duty to witness to the truth in love is not an option despite the persecutions that may come. [And they will come!] Christians, he says, “are bound to come into conflict” with the secularized culture. [It has ever been so.]

We must not go looking for a fight, “but we will, being Christian, have to suffer, and have to go to the cross,” he said. “This is one of the ways, particularly as a priest or a bishop, in which that cross is going to come out, because you have to witness to the truth.”

[...]

Read the rest there.

Fr Z kudos for Bp. Egan.

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This entry was posted in Fr. Z KUDOS, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Bp. Egan (D. Portsmouth): denial of Communion can be act of mercy, love

  1. Magpie says:

    I was very encouraged to read this. We should write notes of encouragement to the bishop as I am sure he gets negative comments.

  2. Joseph-Mary says:

    May it please God to grant us more such bishops. How we need them and not so much the ones that are pleasing the world but those who want to please GOD and save souls but standing boldly for the Truth.

  3. Supertradmum says:

    Yes, persecution will come in Great Britain, the EU and here, in the States, which I have always believed would be the worst of all.

    Why so many priests and bishops refuse to acknowledge this obvious fact mystifies me. That this good bishop is so up-front is great. Catholics have THE TRUTH, so why should be be on the defensive, instead of on the offensive?

  4. Mike says:

    I expect any time now to read in this comments roll either that this report came from a non-”legitimate” news source (which, as the world would define legitimacy these days, is happily true), or that His Excellency is starting a “Communion war” (which ignores the abuses practiced daily upon the Eucharist in modernistic liturgical celebrations, of which flouting of Canon 915 is but one).

  5. Simon_GNR says:

    “The Bishop of Portsmouth, England, Most Reverend Philip Egan…”

    Note for Fr. Z: May I remind you, once again, that bishops in England & Wales are “Right Reverend”, not “Most Reverend”? In England & Wales only archbishops are “Most Reverend”.

  6. chantgirl says:

    Denying Communion in situations like these is loving, much as staging an intervention is loving. It is tough love, calling a soul back from a path that leads to death. It is not pastoral to nod and wink as a soul stumbles toward a cliff.

  7. Iacobus M says:

    We should all pray for this good bishop, and pray that other bishops find the courage to speak as clearly and forcefully as he has.

  8. kmack says:

    I wish Cardinal Wuerl in Washington would follow his example.

  9. Long-Skirts says:

    Bishop Egan is the one who REALLY deserves the “BRAVO”!!!

  10. frjim4321 says:

    Honestly, nobody is going to see turning a person away from table fellowship as an act of love. It will properly be seen as an inhospitable act.

    I don’t know what is going to happen here. It depends on whether marriage equity is on the ballot in ’14 or ’16. It’s still unclear. But I am pretty sure our ordinary will issue a letter urging parishioners to “vote to preserve traditional marriage”. I am pretty sure the dear man, despite his manifest flaws, will have the wisdom not to get involved in the “communion wars.”

    In this diocese I suspect a number of my brothers will vote for marriage equity but alas we are all dinosaurs. Those ordained 20 and less years will probably vote to preserve the status qui.

  11. frjim4321 says:

    Argh!

    Of course I meant “quo.” Darn cataracts.

  12. Vecchio di Londra says:

    “Table fellowship”????
    That’s inviting someone to make up a four at bridge.

  13. frjim4321 says:

    Vecchio di Londra, I sure hope not, I don’t know how to play!

  14. TWF says:

    May God bless his lordship!

  15. idelsan says:

    I meet bishop Egan in Rome, this last september, and was greatly impress by him.

  16. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:
    Honestly, nobody is going to see turning a person away from table fellowship as an act of love. It will properly be seen as an inhospitable act.

    Was there Table Fellowship at the Crucifixion? Did they set up tables and have a pot luck dinner? (“Who made the Cherry Pie? . . . Are there any deviled eggs left?”)

    “Table Fellowship” is a phrase invented by people who didn’t believe in Transubstantiation and wanted a reason for the Eucharist.

  17. wmeyer says:

    frjim says: “Honestly, nobody is going to see turning a person away from table fellowship as an act of love. It will properly be seen as an inhospitable act.”

    Better then, Father, to let him receive in mortal sin, compounding that sin? This “table fellowship” is one of those “spirit of Vatican II” notions which seeks to help people hide from themselves the reality of their own sins. It is, at best, a grave disservice to the faithful.

    From the CCC:
    1457 According to the Church’s command, “after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.” Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession. Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time.

    Shall we all, then, simply ignore Church teaching in favor of warm fuzzy feelings of community?

  18. frjim4321 says:

    Was there Table Fellowship at the Crucifixion? Did they set up tables and have a pot luck dinner? (“Who made the Cherry Pie? . . . Are there any deviled eggs left?”)

    “Table Fellowship” is a phrase invented by people who didn’t believe in Transubstantiation and wanted a reason for the Eucharist. – R. Brown

    As with all terms dealing with the Eucharist “Table Fellowship” is indeed inadequate and also fails with respect to being culturally appropriate, i.e., gender inclusive.

    Better then, Father, to let him receive in mortal sin, compounding that sin? This “table fellowship” is one of those “spirit of Vatican II” notions which seeks to help people hide from themselves the reality of their own sins. – W. Meyer

    As I really, this post is not about people who are in mortal sin, it is about individuals who hold that constitutional rights and equal protection under the law apply to all people equally, regardless of sexual orientation. That being the case I respectfully disagree with this prelate.

    [EVERYONE: frjim has committed a serious error in the comment. The same-sex "marriage" putsch being perpetrated today is NOT a civil rights issue. It is often called, by many, a civil rights issue. They want you to think that denial of legal recognition of this contrary-to-nature activity is unjust in the same way that denial of equal access to everything to people with a different skin color was unjust. Do not accept his premise. Furthermore, what is at stake is protection of the faithful from SCANDAL by public figures who have openly promoted sinful things. It has less to do with the state of their private conscience.]

  19. wmeyer says:

    As I really, this post is not about people who are in mortal sin, it is about individuals who hold that constitutional rights and equal protection under the law apply to all people equally, regardless of sexual orientation.

    Wow! So you would have the Church bend to the U.S. Constitution? Or worse, to state laws enacted out of a concern only for political correctness? And need I point out that the prelate you fault for his differing view is in England, as well.

  20. Mike says:

    frjim4321, I am offering Hail Marys for you and your congregation. Your dissonant, politically correct meanderings have led you and them far from the eternal truths of our Church.

  21. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    Here is the text of Canon 915:

    Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.

    Several American bishops have made statements to the effect that a bishop must exercise “discretion” regarding whether to “impose the penalty” of Denial of Communion. Among them: Chaput, Dolan, and Wuerl.

    All bishops who refuse to “impose the penalty” are participating in a lie. Namely: That Denial of Communion is a penalty.

    Denial of Communion is NOT a penalty.

    What is the import of this fact? It means that Denial of Communion is NOT OPTIONAL. It is MANDATED by Canon 915. No bishop, priest, or other minister of Communion is free to disobey Canon 915.

    It needs to be emphasized that Canon 915 is NOT a canon that may be “applied” or “not applied,” precisely because it is not a penal canon and Denial of Communion is not a penalty. Canon 915 can only be obeyed or disobeyed. And disobeying Canon 915 is always gravely sinful.

    Canon 915 exists precisely because giving Communion to a person “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin” is always gravely sinful. It is to give grave scandal, and it is to participate knowingly in a sacrilegious act.

    Let that sink in. Always gravely sinful.

    In terms perhaps more familiar to the laity: To give Communion knowingly and deliberately to ANYONE delineated in Canon 915 is ALWAYS a mortal sin.

    Cardinal Donald Wuerl has been the most outspoken of those bishops who refuse to obey Canon 915, but all of them are on record, as he is, as endorsing the commission of MORTAL SINS by their priests and other ministers of Communion. Cardinal Wuerl has punished those who have refused Communion in obedience to Canon 915.

    This is something he has no right to do, of course. No bishop has the authority to command anyone to commit a mortal sin!

    http://tinyurl.com/pont915

    4. Bearing in mind the nature of the above-cited norm (cfr. n. 1), no ecclesiastical authority may dispense the minister of Holy Communion from this obligation in any case, nor may he emanate directives that contradict it.

    Of course, Cardinal Wuerl and many other bishops have precisely emanated directives that contradict the norm of Canon 915.

    To that end, they have emanated repeated Red Herrings. Here are some of Cardinal Wuerl’s preposterous statements, made in these or very similar words:

    That’s not my style.

    I follow a “Pastoral Approach” rather than a “Canonical Approach.”

    We need to find out if the canon was written for the purpose of bringing politicians to heel.

    I will not deny Communion to anyone who has not been formally excommunicated.

    But the divorced-and-illicitly-remarried are not excommunicated. Yet, does anyone doubt that, were Cardinal Wuerl to direct all ministers of Communion in his jurisdiction to give Communion to the divorced-and-illicitly-remarried, Rome would take action within hours? But Canon 915 mentions no particular SPECIES of sin! That is, the KIND of sin in which a would-be communicant is publicly involved is of no account!

    In other words: Cardinal Wuerl’s determination to give pro-abortion people Communion is precisely as outrageous and scandalous as would be a directive to give Communion to the divorced-and-illicitly-remarried.

    There is no evidence that this massive scandal has attracted the attention of “Rome.”It is said by many, including Cardinal Wuerl, that Communion should not be used a a political weapon.

    Absolutely true. And the reception of Communion IS being used as a political weapon–by pro-abortion politicians. As long as they are permitted to receive Communion, they can plausibly claim to be “ardent Catholics,” whose promotion of abortion is NO SIN.

    Abraham Lincoln is credited with the statements: You can fool all of the people some of the time. You can fool some of the people all of the time.

    At the present time, Cardinal Wuerl and others appear to be relying on the truth of these observations. It appears that it has been left up to the laity to demonstrate the truth of Lincoln’s further statement: But you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

    “Rome” needs to hear a great noise from the laity.

    Further reading:
    http://tinyurl.com/canon915
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_915

  22. frjim4321 says:

    frjim4321, I am offering Hail Marys for you and your congregation – Mike

    Thank you, that is very kind. It is appreciated.

  23. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    Article by George Neumayr on Canon 915. Note that Neumayr gets it. That is, that obeying Canon 915 is OBLIGATORY. http://spectator.org/articles/57167/reaping-wuerl-wind

  24. St. Epaphras says:

    I really wonder what (some) Catholics are thinking sometimes. The denominations or fellowships we were involved with or members of either practiced closed Communion — because they really didn’t want someone who was in a state of sin to receive Communion (bread and grape juice) — or would at least have not given Communion to people living a sinful life, if they knew of it. The Anabaptists had closed C. because they believed unrepentant sin would send you to hell and the Bible says if you aren’t right with God, do not receive Communion. And all these folks believe in the Real Absence.

    The only non-Catholics I know of who want everyone to receive every time they offer Communion are very, very LIBERAL.

    What the Church actually teaches on this subject and others impresses me. What is often done by all manner of clergy who try to be welcoming and inclusive does not impress me. I think “What wimps. Holy Communion doesn’t mean a thing to them. We thought more seriously about it back in the protestant or anabaptist groups.”

    This is sad. Genuine Catholicism lived out, even publicly, is a wonderful thing. Spineless jellyfish make me sick. However, this is the Church Jesus Christ established and I’m sticking with it — because of Him, not the wimps.

  25. PA mom says:

    Fr Fitzpatrick- now, THAT is clarity and accuracy.

    “the reception of communion is being used as a political weapon by pro abortion politicians….”

    BULLS EYE.

  26. wmeyer says:

    Fr. Fitzpatrick, thant you for that wonderful exposition. I pray frjim may reflect upon it.

  27. frjim4321 says:

    Holy cow, I must have lived a long time. Bp. Whuerl is now considered a raving liberal!

    Somewhere along the line somebody must have forgotten the three magical requirement for “mortal sin.”

    ["Magical"? EVERYONE: Since most of us haven't had "My Little Pony" theology, let me jump in and clarify some things. First, "magic" is not involved in the determination of the commission of a mortal sin and the guilt of that sin. We Catholics stick with reference sources such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church. CCC 1857 does not mention "magic" when describing the three conditions required for a sin to be a mortal sin. The object of the act must be grave matter, it must be committed with full knowledge, and it must be done with deliberate consent. BUT... can. 915 concerns people who are openly acting in a certain way. Get that? Openly. Publicly. People who openly commit grave sins must be admitted to Communion. There is an objective and a subjective dimension to each act. A person who commits Gravely Sinful Act X is objectively committing a sinful act. More investigation is needed to determine what the person's guilt of that act is. That is the subjective dimension. A doctor who participates in some direct way in a direct successful abortion may would not be guilty if, which doing so, he had a gun pointed at his head and at his wife and children. A person who steals bread because he is starving is not as guilty of the act he committed as the person who did this for fun, fully knowing that stealing is wrong. However, can. 915 concerns people who are openly, publicly, in a manner known by many, commit objectively sinful acts. No "magic" involved, see?]

  28. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    I would be grateful to anyone who disseminates my post in any way possible, to anyone who needs to read it. There is one “typo.” There should be two carriage returns just before:

    It is said by many, including Cardinal Wuerl, that Communion should not be used a a political weapon.

  29. frjim4321 says:

    Fr. Vincent … i think think it was the pope who said communion is not a reward for righteous.

    [It was also the Pope who promulgated the Code of Canon Law.]

  30. Pingback: On Canon 915: “Denial of Communion is not a penalty” | dclatinmass

  31. robtbrown says:

    FrJim4321 says,

    As with all terms dealing with the Eucharist “Table Fellowship” is indeed inadequate and also fails with respect to being culturally appropriate, i.e., gender inclusive.

    Table Fellowship (or perhaps the feminine version Table Fellaship) has as much do with the Eucharist as does “Happy Hour”.

  32. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    frjim4321 says:
    15 March 2014 at 10:01 pm
    Fr. Vincent … i think think it was the pope who said communion is not a reward for righteous.

    Is that really the level at which your intellect functions?

  33. Mike says:

    It was also the pope who, as Cardinal Bergolio, chaired the editorial committee that produced the Aparecida Document, which states, in the name of the General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, the following (emphasis added):

    436. We hope that legislators, heads of government, and health professionals, conscious of the dignity of human life and of the rootedness of the family in our peoples, will defend and protect it from the abominable crimes of abortion and euthanasia; that is their responsibility. Hence, in response to government laws and provisions that are unjust in the light of faith and reason, conscientious objection should be encouraged. We must adhere to “eucharistic coherence,” that is, be conscious that they cannot receive holy communion and at the same time act with deeds or words against the commandments, particularly when abortion, euthanasia, and other grave crimes against life and family are encouraged. This responsibility weighs particularly over legislators, heads of governments, and health professionals.

    In this context (as if, granted, it were needed), it can reasonably be stated that to flout Canon 915 is eucharistically incoherent.

  34. frjim4321 says:

    Is that really the level at which your intellect functions? – Vincent

    I know, staggering, isn’t it?

    Try not to be envious.

  35. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    Not even a twinge.

    [You are rather new as a commentator here. Frjim often uses, deftly, misdirection. He is pretty good at distracting people from the main (inconvenient) issue.]

  36. wmeyer says:

    And I believe it is the inerrant Holy Scriptures inspired by the Holy Spirit that say that whoever eats Communion unworthily, eats his own condemnation.

    1 Corinthians 11:27-29
    Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

    I do not understand, in the face of such a clear lesson, how it could be considered “table fellowship” to allow someone to eat and drink judgment upon himself. I would have thought that “feed my sheep” would also preclude assisting them in compounding their mortal sins.

    I weep for those whose priests will not provide correction, who will rather allow their flocks to hell rather than to risk afflicting the comfortable.

  37. Pingback: Duke’s Sex Star & Pope Francis’ Lenten Intentions - BigPulpit.com

  38. I am switching on the moderation queue.

  39. acricketchirps says:

    Fr. Jim communion is not a reward for righteous.

    True. At that level, Communion is more like medicine for the repentant.
    But to the unrepentant, as has been shown, it does more harm than good.

  40. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    Canon 915 exists because the act that it forbids is always gravely sinful. Not the other way around.

    This is why the “Pastoral Approach” that Cardinal Wuerl likes to talk about is monstrously evil. He has no authority himself, and no authority to pressure others, to give Communion to people who are involved in manifest grave sin.

    Interestingly, Cardinal Wuerl declared on Easter Sunday, 2013, on ABC News, that people in legal same-sex marriages should not be given Communion, like the divorced-and-remarried.

    Which is more evil, and more scandalous to society as a whole: a same-sex sexual relationship, or promoting abortion for decades on end? Adam and Steve receiving Communion, or Nancy Pelosi? (Oh, by the way: Congratulations, Mrs. Pelosi, on receiving the Margaret Sanger Award this month!)

    In Pittsburgh, Cardinal Wuerl delayed shutting down the “Dignity Mass” for nine years after the Vatican mandated doing so. So, based on his past actions, Cardinal Wuerl evidently saw no scandal in the reception of Communion by people in known same-sex sexual relationships. Yet now he has changed his tune. Why has he not similarly changed his tune with respect to Nancy Pelosi?

    I put it to a fair-minded public that Cardinal Wuerl formulates his “policies” on these matters on some basis other than intellectual honesty and moral theology.