"This is not your job, dude! That is not up to you to make that decision ... What is the point of Communion, right? It's for sinners. It's the reward of saints, but the bread of sinners,” Goldberg said in late May. “How dare you!”
Brennan said it is indeed the archbishop’s job “to teach, to correct, to admonish and, if necessary, to impose sanctions.”
“It is his job (everyone’s job in fact) to point things out to and charitably correct anyone who is in a sinful situation,” he said. “That is even more important to do when the person and the situation are so public, persistent, and brazen.”
Cordileone even has a role in helping guide Catholic politicians like Pelosi, the Fresno bishop said.
“Although it is not the archbishop's job to make the decision for her to receive Communion or not — it is his job to make every effort to properly form her conscience. It is Nancy's job to decide to refrain from taking Holy Communion until such time as she is reconciled to church teaching about the unborn and until such time as she desists in publicly promoting and advocating the protection and expansion of abortion and abortion rights.”
Brennan said he did agree with Goldberg’s commentary when she said “What's the point of Communion, right? It’s for sinners.”
“Precisely!” Brennan answered. “Yes, Communion is not a reward for good behavior. It is not anything that we are entitled to in any way, shape, or form. Nobody is entitled to receive!”
This is why everyone, including the priest or bishop at Mass, prays, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed.”
“Yes, the Eucharist is medicine for the sin-sick soul,” Brennan said.
“Something essential is missing in all this,” the bishop continued. “The problem I have with most abortion-promoting Catholic politicians is that they do not seem to be acknowledging the sin in any of this. Even if they somehow acknowledge the sin in the depth of their soul and their conscience as they approach the Eucharist, something which only they and God can know, they cannot publicly persist in the sin.”
The bishop explained that in the Sacrament of Penance, which is commonly known as confession, the penitent person must have “firm purpose of amendment.” The Act of Contrition, often memorized by grade school students, reads, “I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.”
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“If you are going up to receive Communion and have no intention of changing your heart, mind, and actions regarding these teachings, then you should make the decision not to receive Communion,” Brennan said. “Otherwise, someone may have to impose the sanction on you.”
Brennan said Cordileone’s action will have effects in other parts of the country.
“It is personally challenging, as it should be to every bishop in this beautiful country of ours, as this encourages all of us to engage in the same kind of dialogue with Catholic politicians in our own jurisdictions about these very same issues,” the bishop said. “That takes time, effort, and courage.”
He asked for prayers that the Holy Spirit will bless his own service in the Fresno Diocese and help him "be a better shepherd of souls for you and with you.”
Kevin J. Jones is a senior staff writer with Catholic News Agency. He was a recipient of a 2014 Catholic Relief Services' Egan Journalism Fellowship.