Archbishop of Denver: It's a matter of honesty: to receive Communion, we need to be in communion

Archbishop of Denver: It's a matter of honesty: to receive Communion, we need to be in communion


The matter of Communion and pro-abortion politicians is not one about giving or not giving the Eucharist, but a matter of honesty on the part of the recipient, said Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver in a column published yesterday in the Denver Catholic Register.

“The current media turmoil over ‘denying Catholic politicians Communion’ is filled with ignorance about the Church and the real meaning of the Eucharist,” said the archbishop. 

“Denying anyone Communion is a very grave matter.  It should be reserved for extraordinary cases of public scandal,” he continued. 

“But the Church always expects Catholics who are living in serious sin or who deny the teachings of the Church – whether they're highly visible officials or anonymous parishioners – to have the integrity to respect both the Eucharist and the faithful, and to refrain from receiving Communion,” he said. 

Like every previous Catholic generations, said the bishop, Catholics today must still take the words of St. Paul very seriously:  "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" (1 Cor 11:27). 

The bishop also cited St. Justin, who taught of the significance of Communion, saying: "No one may take part [in the Eucharist] unless he believes that what we teach is true, has received baptism for the forgiveness of sins and new birth, and lives in keeping with what Christ taught."

“If we ignore or deny what the Church teaches, or refuse to follow what she teaches, we are not ‘in communion’ with the Catholic faith. We separate ourselves from the community of believers,” the bishop said. “If we receive Communion anyway, we engage in a lie. 

“Claiming to be Catholic and then rejecting Catholic teaching is an act of dishonesty and a lack of personal integrity,” he said. “Worse, if we then receive Communion, we violate every Catholic who does believe and does strive to live the faith fully and unselfishly. 

The bishop said 50 years ago, many Catholics avoided receiving Communion “out of an excessive fear of our own sins. Today, far too many of us receive Communion unthinkingly, reflexively, with no sense of the urgent need for our own self-examination, humility and conversion.”

The bishop said Catholics need to turn back to the sacrament of penance before they receive Communion, and in order “to regain a basic understanding of grace and sin.”

“If we claim to believe in Jesus Christ and the Catholic faith, then we need to act like it – without caveats, all the way, all the time, with all our heart, including our lives in the public square,” he said.

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