Msgr. Charles Pope: U.S. Bishops Must Clear Up This Communion Confusion

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Paolo da San Leocadio (1447-1520), “Christ With the Host”

If one in a state of mortal sin — no matter what the sin — has not sacramentally confessed and been absolved, he must not receive Holy Communion. There are no exceptions.

By Msgr. Charles Pope, National Catholic Register, 12/5/19

Judge Sara Smolenski, Chief Judge of the 63rd District Court in Kent County, Michigan, was recently advised by her pastor, Father Scott Nolan, that she should not receive Holy Communion because she claimed to enter into a “marriage” with a woman. He did this privately, but she chose to make the matter public. You can read the full story here.

The priest’s actions were certainly proper. Judge Smolenski’s civil marriage is a public act, and because she is a public figure her actions were widely known. For the good of her own soul, as well as to avoid the scandal of apparent approval, the pastor was correct in requesting that she refrain from presenting herself to receive Holy Communion. Judge Smolenski is certainly a public dissenter from the Church’s constant teaching that marriage is a sacred covenant between one man and one woman. There is also the reasonable public perception that she is engaged in and approves of illicit sexual union — in this case, homosexual acts.

As expected, there are charges that this action is targeting the “LGBT” community. Judge Smolenski herself says, “This feels like selective discrimination. Why choose gay people and why now?” However, the standard for worthy reception of Holy Communion applies to all. Neither heterosexuals in invalid marriages nor those cohabitating outside the bonds of marriage may licitly receive Communion. No one may simply go on living in an invalid marriage (adultery) or in cohabitation (fornication) and still be worthy to approach for Holy Communion. Fornicators, adulterers and those who engage in homosexual acts may not licitly receive Holy Communion unless (and until) they repent and receive absolution in the sacrament of Confession.

No one person is singled out, nor is any group singled out — chastity is required of all. There is no place for sexual intimacy outside of traditional marriage. There are no exceptions.  ….


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