.- Speaking to the 11th General Synod of Bishops yesterday afternoon at the Vatican, Cardinal Julian Herranz, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts said that while there are certain personal requirements to receiving the Eucharist, the faithful deserve access to the proper means--i.e., confession, prayer before the Blessed Sacrament--to properly dispose themselves.
"Humanity”, he said, “has no right before God to receive the Eucharist, precisely because this is an act of infinite generosity and mercy. But once God has given the sacraments to the Church for the good of His people, all the faithful enjoy the following right formulated by ... canon 912: 'Any baptized person who is not forbidden by law may and must be admitted to Holy Communion.'“
While the topic of who may, and may not receive communion has been frequently discussed throughout the course of the Synod, Cardinal Herranz suggested that individual cases may not always be black and white.
“We are dealing here”, the Cardinal said, “with a fundamental right but not, as some think, an absolute one. There are, in fact, personal requirements limiting that right.”
He pointed out that “The need of a state of grace to receive Holy Communion, which the people concerned must judge for themselves, also has certain external manifestations that make demands on Pastors.”
“Perhaps” he said, “we should be more sensitive to the reasonable requests of the faithful who express their 'hunger for the Eucharist.' In fact, many of them complain of the difficulty of finding a confessor, even where priests are not lacking in the parish; they point out liturgical abuses and trivializing desecration of Eucharistic celebrations; they suffer because, contrary to canonical norms on public worship, churches are always closed except during community celebrations, and people cannot remain in adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament, etc.”
“Since justice consists in giving each their rights ('unicuique suum tribuere'),” he added, “we ask our Lady - 'Speculum Iustitiae' - to help us guarantee our lay brothers and sisters the exercise of their rights: for the good of their souls, but also for the apostolic vigor of the entire People of God."