From a reader…
I have worked for a USA based Catholic non-profit for 5 years. I am a Catholic in good standing and am attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and am a lay member of the Confraternity of St. Peter. The CEO of my non-profit employer recently changed. The new CEO has threatened to terminate my employment if I do not receive Communion regularly at Novus Ordo Masses. This is in contradiction to my understanding of Dignitatis humanae. I have demonstrated my attachment to the Church and to her hierarchy by receiving Communion from bishops and priests whenever they celebrate the EF and I attend the Novus Ordo when I must in order to fulfill my canonical obligation. Nor am I attached to any non-canonical or “schismatic” groups.
To whom do I have recourse? What, if anything, can I do? If I need to hire a lawyer, how does one hire a canon lawyer?
Not that this is the case here, but I’m reminded of what my old pastor used to say, “Scratch a liberal, and find a fascist.”
This sounds like a job for the St. Joseph Foundation – the website has some broken links, but the basic info is there.
If this Catholic agency is under the aegis of a diocese (and we allllll know how strict dioceses are about letting groups use the title “Catholic” these days. Certain groups, that is), then this would be a tough policy for them to try and enforce.
Depending on how the parameters of employment are written, an employer could include some pretty strict requirements. For example, “All employees of St. Philemon Catholic School will be registered at St. Philemon Catholic Parish and attend Mass there each Sunday unless excused.”
Civil law could be in play here. That’s where the St. Joseph Foundation would also provide good connections. They are canonists, but some have backgrounds in civil law. They have worked on cases that require the input of civil attorneys.
Some people are nearly maniacal about forcing uniformity when it comes to Mass. Everyone has to go to Communion, no matter how many millions of people are in the park or field. Everyone must NOT kneel. Everyone is to sing every word of every verse. Everyone must shake hands or hug or offer self-conscious waves. Some priests practically force other priests to concelebrate. We will have UNITY! It is as if the beatings will continue until moral improves. “CELEBRATE DAMN IT! WE ARE AN EASTER PEOPLE!”
None of this is Catholic.
It is NOT obligatory to receive Holy Communion at Mass.
Alas, we are living in an age when the meaning of reception of the Eucharist has become twisted in several ways. I have in mind a range of weird positions from, on the one side, “I won’t receive a host consecrated at a Novus Ordo Mass” to the very common “Mass? Oh, you mean liturgy! That’s when they put the white thing on your hand and then we sing the song together!”
Okay… I’m done ranting.