I have good news and bad news.
The good news is that a priest in loony Austria told a parish congregation that if they were not in the state of grace, they should not receive Communion… and they didn’t!
The bad news is that… they didn’t!
At least that is what the National catholic Fishwrap thinks. I am pretty sure that the folks at NcR think that anyone for any reason at any time can and should receive, since sin and the Four Last Things were done away with by the spirit of Vatican II.
They have a story on this:
Austrian parish listens to priest, none receive the host
May. 03, 2012
By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt [Who also writes for The Bitter Pill.]
VIENNA, Austria — The parish church of Amras, Austria, near Innsbruck in Tyrol, was chock-a-block full for the first-Communion Mass on April 22. Shortly before Communion, the parish priest, Norbertine Fr. Patrick Busskamp, announced that only Catholics who were in a state of grace should come forward to Communion. Catholics who are divorced and remarried and Catholics who do not attend Mass every week were not worthy to receive the Eucharist, he said. [I wonder if he used the word “worthy”. That could be the writer’s own interpolation.]
When Communion time came, not a single adult came forward. The entire congregation demonstratively remained seated. [Suggesting that they were, what, organized? NcR would approve of that, since it meant getting a priest in trouble for teaching the truth.] Only the children received Communion.
In an interview with Austrian state radio in Tyrol, Busskamp confirmed that his words to the congregation had been accurately reported, but added, “I wouldn’t have refused anyone Communion had they come forward.”
Abbot Raimund Schreier of the Premonstratensian Monastery of Wilten, to which the parish belongs, said he regretted what had happened.
“It was most unwise of him to act like this at such a ceremony. [?] I have told him that. Behaving like a policeman shows a lack of pastoral sensitivity,” [So does not telling people what a serious sin it is to receive Communion when you know you are not in the state of grace. What is truly un-pastoral not to instruct people about what is sinful and what isn’t.] Schreier told the press.
The church had to accept reality, he said. It is necessary to keep reminding people of the rules, but that does not mean handling a situation as insensitively as Busskamp had done, he said.
Read the rest there, if you care to.
It is good that we are having these fights. In the process of duking it out about Communion and divorce and remarriage or the Eucharistic fast, or moral sin, or formal membership in the Church, etc., we are regaining something of the clarity we have lost during the last few decades of catechetical and liturgical devastation.
Look. We don’t know all the circumstances of the Austrian parish and the priest.
That said, priests are obliged to teach their parishioners. It a priest’s job to try to keep as many people out of hell as possible. If we don’t do our part, we ourselves will wind up in hell.
Hell is the consequence for priests and bishops who don’t work to keep others out of hell.
Because priests are, by the sacrament of Holy Orders, priests forever, they remain priests in hell, thus increasing their eternal agony of separation from God.
St. Augustine, in one of his tough sermons to his flock, spoke about the heavy responsibility of teaching a message that was hard for people to hear and accept. First, he invoked the stern warning in Ezekiel 3 about negligent pastors. Then, Augustine began to explain himself, tell his people why he was teaching and why he being so tough.
Here is some of s. 17.2.
I am saying this to you and I am saving my soul. If I will have kept silent, I won’t be in great danger, I’ll be in utter ruin. But when I will have spoken, and when I will have fulfilled my duty, pay attention then to your own danger.
What, after all, do I want? What do I desire? What do I long for? Why am I talking? Why am I sitting here? Why am I even alive, except for this intention: in order that we may live together with Christ.
That’s my desire, that’s my honor, that’s my treasured possession, this is my joy, that’s my glory.
But if you will not listen to me and if I haven’t been silent, I will save my soul. But I don’t want to be saved without you (Sed nolo esse salvus sine vobis.)
Priests and especially bishops must stand up in the public square as well as in their pulpits and teach the truth as the Church and nature instruct us. If they don’t, there are eternal consequences for those priests and bishops, because they have endangered their flocks either by lack of instruction or by false instruction. This doesn’t mean that they have to be harsh or aggressive or try to take people from point A to Z without patience. But they do have to do something!
Priests and bishops who don’t teach the truth are in danger of eternal damnation. They have to preach the truth, whether people listen or not, for their own sake if for no other reason. Charity requires finding the best way. The tough part is finding the right ways to preach the truth. But the truth must be preached, nevertheless.
And remember to send a donation to the Diocese of Madison as a sign of support for a bishop and some priests who are being attacked by liberals and the Fishwrap. May I suggest that you all make a donation of, perhaps $1? You can do more, of course. If the bishop were to hear that a large number of folks from all over the place made a little donation, that would be a real shot in the arm.
$10 to Diocese of Madison (St. Joseph’s Fund for Education of Seminarians)
I don’t know how this message could have been delivered in a more “sensitive” way. It is what it is.
It is sad and extraordinary that we live in a day and age when speaking the truth is insensitive, hurtful, and just plain mean. This priest did exactly what he ought to have done – and what every priest ought to be doing! It is a great act of charity to protect people from harm!
I’ve often heard our parish priest inform attendees at Holy Mass of the same fact, that only those Catholics who are in the state of grace can receive Holy Communion. It’s the truth and it ought to be said.
Deo gratias for this priest and his courage! Most likely he knew that there would be some backlash but he had the courage to do it anyway. May God grant us many more priests like him in the Church.
I also donated $10 to Diocese of Madison. Vote with your wallet to support Bishop Morlino & the priests of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest.
Sad that all our churches have big “EXIT” signs to help us escape earthly fires, but the priest gets chastised by the bishop for advising people how to evade eternal fires.
Not only that, but also because (in the words of St. Justin the Martyr)
“no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true”
Catholicism is not an easy religion. It’s a shame that most laity desire or are enabled to think it is, it’s an even bigger shame that many clergy no longer seem to strive to challenge this intellectual dishonesty in their parishioners.
I wish all clergy would be more challenging. What’s the point if it’s not a challenge? I for one admire and respect priests and clergy that constantly challenge us to be more perfect. Far too many laity seem to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect, but if that were true why is culture such a mess?
Bravo to this priest, who is trying to save souls. This is rather odd, as a friend of mine this morning after Mass went up to a friend of hers and told her, that as she was not a practicing Catholic, which is well known, that she should not have gone up to Communion from a new parish priest. Two other women jumped in and told my friend she should not have said anything.
We have a duty to kindly, gently, but clearly help our brothers and sisters attain heaven. Where evil is tolerated, more evil occurs and grows. I think Christ spoke to one of the Churches of the Book of Revelation about tolerating evil, Thyatira. The priest did exactly what he should have done as a good pastor, and as we all should do, if we are in the position to do so. God bless him and I weep at how lax some priests are about the salvation of the eternal souls of their sheep.
If I hear the term “pastoral sensitivity” one more time, I won’t be able to keep from vomiting. Tell me, is this not often a cloak for cowardice and an unwillingness to confront the world head-on? Truth divides, truth can be hard to take, that’s just the nature of truth. If we stop talking about the Truth, we have disassociated ourselves from Jesus Christ, who is the very Truth we are called to have on lips at all times. Ceremonies don’t matter, “rules” don’t matter, what matters is Jesus Christ, who He is, and the fact that He’s absolutely present in glory hidden and power cloaked, in the Holy Eucharist, in Love.
The thing that most irked me is when the article mentioned “we have to remind people of the rules…” No, divorce and remarriage, mortal sin, sacrilege to Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, these are not rules. If your faith is made up of rules, then you don’t understand what sin is at the core. These are offenses against Love, against the very nature of God, who has formed you out of nothing and continually pours out His Love on you through the graces that He gives you. By sinning, and then adding further insult by receiving Him in the Eucharist, you’re acting impiously toward a Being whose very Nature is to LOVE YOU. If you don’t have some place in your heart that is sensitive to this realization, your heart is like a rock and you do not understand the Passion of Christ, and the Blood of Christ, which is Love Incorruptible. To call it ‘rules’ flippantly and then worse-yet, disregard them flippantly for ‘this ceremony’ is a disgrace to the Church.
At one time, I was at the point at which I almost vomited, yes vomited, when I saw or heard the word “pastoral.” I was angry.
Now, I have moved past that. I feel, on the other hand, that I must teach people what that word really means.
But sometimes I still have reversions to my old habit. Like just now.
Not surprising that those in Germany, Austria and so many places in the world have no clue or don’t care that Our Lord is completely present in the Eucharist. And as such, we cannot present ourselves to receive Him if we are in a state of mortal sin. This is not protestant “communion”, which is completely symbolic, and anyone can receive it. But because of decades of poor catechesis, many Catholics fail to understand that the Lord’s Body is present in the Eucharist. And when we have First Communion in a beer tent ,eponymousflower.blogspot.com/2012/05/oktoberfest-mass-first-communion-in.html, how can we expect the young to have reverence for the Lord’s body? So that is why people whine and moan when a priest or bishop actually dares to uphold Catholic teaching, because they have become conditioned to getting their way like petulant children, at the cost of their souls.
Jonathan: “If I hear the term “pastoral sensitivity” one more time, I won’t be able to keep from vomiting.”
Isn’t it interesting that most, perhaps all, of the most liberal are immediately prepared to acknowledge that they are sinners, but object to being reminded of what is right, and seem unwilling to make a good confession more than annually.
I’d do anything to show my support for someone who was attacked by liberals and Fishwrap. They need a taste of their own medicine.
$10 to Diocese of Madison!!!
In this German-language article it states the parishoners “boycotted” Communion. In mid-April, in another church within the same diocese, the priest had the temerity to refuse Communion to a woman who was not married in the Church!
[I wonder if he used the word “worthy”. That could be the writer’s own interpolation.]
I believe that this is the writer’s interpretation. Kath.net’s article says: ” „Geschiedene, Wiederverheiratete und Gläubige, die nicht jeden Sonntag die Kirche besuchen“ der Kommunion nicht würdig seien.” http://kath.net/detail.php?id=36313
This places the “were not worthy” (nicht würdig seien) outside of the direct quote.
However, ORF says the following: “Geschiedene, Wiederverheiratete und Gläubige, die nicht jeden Sonntag die Kirche besuchen – sie alle seien der Kommunion nicht würdig, sagte Pfarrer Patrick Bußkamp vor der Kommunionsspende am Sonntag in Amras. ” http://tirol.orf.at/news/stories/2530665/
This would be like saying in English: “The divorced, the remarried and believers who do not go to church every Sunday – those who are not worthy to receive Communion”
The boycott is connected to not just this, but to an earlier event, where the priest refused communion to a lady. http://religion.orf.at/projekt03/news/1204/ne120418_kommunion.html
There are many comments on Kath.net regarding this. One of them describes him as a great confessor and a humble, deeply pious Priest, who sacrifices himself for the souls entrusted to him. (Er ist ein großartiger Beichtvater und bescheidener, tieffrommer Priester, der sich für die ihm anvertrauten Seelen aufopfert.)
This sort of advice is often given at marriages, funerals etc here where many lapsed or non-Catholics attend for the first time in ages. It is better if such warnings are given in a tactful way: the report implies heavy-handedness, but who can trust it? As for ordinary parish Masses, I often marvel at the almost 100% who present themselves for Communion, no doubt feeling it is their right to receive no matter what. There is an implied stigma too, one feels, at not receiving Communion. This is quite wrong.
All this reflects the crisis of faith in the Real Presence: after all why get worked up about only “symbolic bread?” It is indicative of the paradigm shift in the post Vat II emphasis from sacrifice to meal: add to that Communion in the hand, wrong use of EMHC and downgrading of the role of the priesthood and it is hardly surprising. Asking recently for an EF Mass at a new venue, I was told that it would need “suitable catechesis” for the (potentially bewildered) attenders. You bet it would: it’s called being Catholic.
Thank you for the suggestion, Father. I donated to the Diocese of Madison Seminarian Education Fund. [there were many ways to tag the money; not sure which one was best]
[I think there is even a tag for the parish in Platteville.]
Just donated $10 to the Diocese of Madison, and responded to the subsequent automated Thank You e-mail, letting them know the reason for the donation. Just so you know, it will go to a real person.
We printed the USCCB instructions on the Reception of Holy Communion in our wedding program. It was well received.
Since the scriptures are replete with evidence that Jesus of Nazareth refused to dine with sinners I can’t imagine why anyone would be upset by this.
As a priest you know (or should) very well what the teaching is concerning the proper dispositions a communicant must have in order to worthily receive Holy Communion. Oblique references to Scriptural passages that are irrelevant to the issue at hand, notwithstanding…
As someone of Austro-Hungarian descent all I can say is when are these dissident priests and Bishops in Austria who worry more about pastoral care and liberalism versus the teachings of the Church and Church discipline going to be put in there place. God bless this priest who DID his job!.
$10.00 to His Excellency in Madison earmarked from Platteville.
Never would have guessed a priest with frjim4321’s predisposition would equate Holy Communion with a mere meal…. ;-)
Fr. Jim, with all due respect, this is not God manifest in the flesh dining with those in mortal sin at a regular meal, this is those in mortal sin receiving, physically and spiritually the very Person of God, which is both contrary to the teachings of Holy Mother Church (if you think it isn’t, why does Confession exist exactly?), and is a grave sacrilege to the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of God. Not only does what your saying violate the teachings of the Church, and the respect for the holiness of God in the solemn worship of God that occurs in the Sacrifice of the Mass, it also contradicts Sacred Scripture. St. Paul warned very clearly that those who partake of the Holy Eucharist in a state of mortal sin will be subject both to temporal punishment and possible damnation, and that’s just the truth, Father.
A case of Christ dining with sinners is more analogous to a Priest being kind and charitable to a person talking with him outside of Mass about coming back to the Church after being away for awhile. Holy Mass is the source and summit of all Christian life, where God Himself becomes one with us in marital beauty, body and soul. Those in mortal sin are spiritual adulterers from Jesus Christ, their Divine Spouse. The marital beauty is spoiled if spiritual adulterers *who have not been cleansed through the normative means of the forgiveness of sins in Confession* are allowed to partake of God, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. If the holiness, might, and power, and the fear of God is not on display in the source and summit of Catholic life, where, may I ask, will it be on display? Holy Mass orders the entire life around it and influences every last bit of it. It “sets the tone,” if you will.
His comment is not meant to add to the discussion, but only to be provocative. If he truly means what his statement implies, he not only should not be receiving communion, but should be looking for a new vocation.
FrJim4321 — “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.” (1 Cor 11:29)
@Jim of Bowie,
Sadly, there are still quite a number of Priests who say such things and actually mean it, mainly in the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s generation. There are Fathers of congregations who literally give homilies of this sort of modern unCatholic drivel, and instruct their parishioners in this sort of error.
Exactly the passage from St. Paul that I had in mind.
Jonathan – “divorce and remarriage, mortal sin, sacrilege to Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, these are not rules. If your faith is made up of rules, then you don’t understand what sin is at the core. These are offenses against Love, against the very nature of God”
Extremely well stated!!
$25 donated to the St Raphael Cathedral Fund, with the hope that the architecture will be worthy of the bishop.
I have attended a Mass at which a visiting priest said that everyone present should receive Communion and no-one should feel unable to do so, he did not exclude non-Catholics. I don’t suppose that priest was reported to the bishop or would have been censured if he had. I congratulate this Austrian priest and all those like him. Some of those present would have gone to confess at the next opportunity, I am sure.
I feel like donating my 2 cents to NcR!
One hopes that instructions like these are part of the on-going catechesis in this parish and not something that appeared out of the blue just for a First Communion Mass. But even if they’re not, the priest’s actions are understandable and commendable since First Communions tend to draw all sorts of people out of the woodwork—the instructions are thus appropriate to the circumstances.
Given that no one came up for Holy Communion, I’m thinking that there must be more to this story that we don’t really know about (as some other posters have implied). It’s sad to contemplate that some form of “boycott” may have cast a political pall on a child’s First Communion day. I wouldn’t want that on my conscience.
The stipulations for receiving Holy Communion should be expressed at each Mass as a matter of course, along with “Don’t bring your cellphones in here!” Perhaps a big sign in the narthex would do-you could also add “Please dress modestly.” And probably a few other things.
Finally had the time to sit down and shoot my donation to the Diocese.
Jesus came to save sinners and to bring Gentiles into the Covenant.
But He didn’t block people from celebrating Yom Kippur because repentance is unnecessary; and He didn’t merrily shove Gentiles past the “You’ll be killed beyond this point” sign at the Temple.
Because He wanted them saved and made holy, not dead and dead in their sins.
We have read many times of bishops denouncing priests who are trying to be faithful to the teachings of the Church. If the bishop doesn’t support his priests, their spiritual sons, and has it in his power to discipline the priest the appropriate Congregation in Rome needs to be sent a letter.
Well said! I agree totally. Being pastorally sensitive definitely means keeping people out of hell.
(I hope you don’t mind I giggled, though, at your comment on “moral sin.”)
Thanks for the interesting posts.
Just what is wrong with instructing the faithful in their faith, and preventing sacrilege. We really NEED more of this in our parishes.
I have offered my services as a catechist three times here, to teach without any pay. I have taught RCIA in multiple parishes, been a coordinator of catechesis, done sacramental prep, helped with marriage prep, and taught religion in various schools and colleges. Yet, parishes do not want catechesis. That the priests do not want to upset people has been told to me to my face in two parishes here. People would, apparently get upset learning the Catechism and Catholic teaching. There are no parishes which have the mystagogia that I have been going to and there is no adult faith formation, as in the excellent diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. I blame the laity, my brothers and sisters in Christ, who tolerate evil, refuse to face the teachings of the Church, just in case they have to repent and change their own lives and those of their families. Contraception and the tolerance of such has ruined many parishes in Great Britain. The break with Rome happened after Humanae Vitae. The issue of receiving Communion when under sin is hardly discussed, and at a funeral last week, the priest did not mention that non-Catholics or fallen away Catholics should not come forward. Almost everyone went up to receive, and the vast majority of Communicants were either not practicing, or not even Catholic. Sadly, this is the situation in many places. Until bishops and priests, like this excellent priest in Austria, take the salvation of souls seriously, all these abuses will continue. In addition, as long as some priests and catechists teach that there is no hell and that no one is going to hell if there is one, souls will perish. God bless this wonderfully brave priest.
“The church had to accept reality, he said. It is necessary to keep reminding people of the rules, but that does not mean handling a situation as insensitively as Busskamp had done, he said.”
I’ll admit to being rather perplexed by this statement. I don’t actually understand what Fr Busskamp did or said that purportedly demonstrated such grave insensitivity.
This message is always expressed by our priest at funerals (we haven’t had a marriage in the 8 years we have been here). As there was no catechist and my certification was done many years ago, 3 of us attended the diocesan course and are recognized in our church. Another catechist came to our church and volunteered but the priest would not accept her certification unless she had taken our course. She is no longer in the area – this may be why some aren’t allowed or welcomed with open arms?
Austria and the people’s response is troubling! Just finished reading an essay by a woman who lived through Hitler’s time in Austria. Do you suppose they do not like to have individuals sorted out at the liturgy? And if one couldn’t recieve, none would? Very strange happening. Methinks there is more to this story. Very sad…
At my parish, the priests have repeatedly reminded the parishioners of the conditions for being able to receive Communion, esp. not being conscious of grave sin. On Christmas and Easter, they mention that persons who have been away from the Church for a long time may not receive. They have preached against divorce and remarriage, against co-habitation, against contraception, against abortion, against pornography, against masturbation, against various other grave sins. They have also said that politicians and others who support abortion may not receive Communion.
$50 donated to Diocese of Madison – prayer to follow!
Good for the priest for doing his job! My opinion is this–if we want to bring back the respect and honor due to the Blessed Sacrament, I suggest not only being in the state of grace (which has ALWAYS been required), but a 3 hour fast before receiving (as a kid it was a fast from midnight), reception on the tongue and kneeling. I bet we would no longer require the “Extraordinary ministers” and that the
abuse of the Sacrament would be a lot less… I have told several young people I have worked with that you must be in the state of grace for Holy Communion. I was ignored.
I saw a comment here that the NCR has been asked to take the word Catholic out of its name. That was in 1968. After taking a look at it recently for the first time, I cant imagine the damage it has done over the years, given a voice to writers with their own agendas, misleading readers about the truth. Can nothing be done?
I admire that many of Father Z’s readers have taken an attitude of humor towards this publication, and considering that it continues to use the C word in its title, that’s probably the way to go . “Fishwrap” is a great description: another point of education for this new Catholic.
At every Mass where there are a lot of visitors, particularly weddings and funerals, I always say just before it is time to receive Holy Communion: “I invite all practicing Catholics who are in a state of grace and not conscious of any mortal sins to come forward and receive the Body and Blood of Christ, if you so desire.” I’ve never heard a word of complaint.
Frankly I have no interest at all in being provocative, merely providing a sense of balance. It seems quite clear that Jesus ran afoul of the religious leadership of his time because of the company he kept. Now we have a handful of our religious leaders bending over backwards imposing Draconian interpretations of one exclusionary canon or the other. To say that Jesus’ dinner with sinners doesn’t “count” in this sense because those meals were not Eucharistic in a limited sense is absurd; it was Jesus the Lord dining with them . . . as if a Eucharistic meal represents the presence of Christ more than would an actual dinner with Jesus in the flesh. Amazing!
Uh, Father Jim, the Eucharist IS Jesus in the flesh, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Not only is Jesus really present in His Supper, He is the Eucharist we consume. This IS an actual meal with Jesus in the flesh, and when you say the Consecration, you are not holding a representation of the presence of Christ, you are holding the actual Jesus Christ, Himself.
Christ the Lord may do as He pleases; He is the Ruler of all mankind and answers to no man. We, however, are His creatures, His subjects and His children, so when He speaks, we obey. He said to Peter, “Whoever hears you, hears Me.” Peter, following the warning words of Sacred Scripture, has for the benefit of souls established rules regarding who may receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion. This is an eminently pastoral thing the Church has done, and to turn it into politics is nothing short of blasphemy.
Frankly I have no interest at all in being provocative, merely providing a sense of balance.
Reducing serious doctrinal issues to sociology is avoiding a sense of balance–not providing one.
It seems quite clear that Jesus ran afoul of the religious leadership of his time because of the company he kept.
Hello, Edward Schillebeeckx. Actually, he was not accused of hanging around with the wrong people, but rather of Messianic claims and of comments He made about the Temple.
Now we have a handful of our religious leaders bending over backwards imposing Draconian interpretations of one exclusionary canon or the other.
It is not a matter of canon law but rather of 1 Cor 11:29.
To say that Jesus’ dinner with sinners doesn’t “count” in this sense because those meals were not Eucharistic in a limited sense is absurd; it was Jesus the Lord dining with them . . . as if a Eucharistic meal represents the presence of Christ more than would an actual dinner with Jesus in the flesh. Amazing!
So you are saying that there would be no difference between Christ having dinner with someone and what happened at the Last Supper? I suggest you read the institution narratives of the Eucharist.
“Frankly I have no interest at all in being provocative, ” frjim4321 5 May 2012 at 12:36 am
You can air that out and fertilize the lawn with it.