As many of you know, Fr. Martin is a Catholic priest who is quite liberal (goes against church teaching) on matters of sexual morality. In his editorial in the Wall St. Journal yesterday (Friday, July 21, 2022,) he seems to make the case that reception of communion should not be denied to politicians who openly support abortion. This view is clearly against church teaching, Holy Scripture, and Sacred Tradition. When I read his article, I quickly realized how his arguments in favor of “communion for all” are easily debunked, which I will now do in this article.
While Fr. Martin correctly states (in the case of Archbishop Cordileone denying Nancy Pelosi communion,) that, “Universal church law, Archbishop Cordileone pointed out in his declaration, provides that such persons “are not to be admitted to Holy Communion (Code of Canon Law, can. 915).””
However, Fr. Martin then disagrees with universal church law by stating, “But there is another approach.” This “other approach” he argues, says we shouldn’t “weaponize” communion (who might I ask, is actually doing such a thing??) Fr. Martin offers several points to show that the Church shouldn’t refuse communion to those obstinately violating its moral laws in supporting abortion.
1.We are all sinners, and who among us is worthy of communion?
Good point, but it’s a useless point. Yes, we are all sinners, and we all fail each day in following God’s laws. But that’s a huge difference from someone saying, “I’m a faithful Catholic but I’m choosing to not agree with the church on certain mortal sins and I shouldn’t be treated any differently than someone who is not living in mortal sin.” Any faithful Catholic should refuse or be denied communion if the priest/bishop has knowledge of the person’s mortal sins. While none of us know the sins of most fellow Catholics, a well-known politician who publicly advocates for fellow citizens to continue in mortal sin is obviously in mortal sin herself, and cannot receive communion without repentance (which is true for all Catholics, not just politicians.)
2.Why target only abortion and not other serious sins?
I agree on this point. Any mortal sin, publicly promoted/encouraged/legislated by anyone is grounds for refusal to receive communion. Right now, abortion is the main focus in our society, so that’s why pro-abortion Catholic politicians are being discussed as to their worthiness to receive our Lord in Holy Communion.
3.Since Pope Francis has never denied Communion to anyone (including Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden??,) neither should anyone else.
If this statement is true, an argument can be made that the Pope is not being faithful to his office and we should pray for him. In my opinion, in understanding of Church teaching, Communion should be denied to me and anyone else who publicly persists in committing mortal sin and encouraging others to do so. To deny communion (or even to excommunicate) is a loving act designed to save the soul of the sinner. Saint Paul clearly states in 1 Cor. 11:26-29, that, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly.” It is true that St. Paul says each should examine himself, as we are all called to do prior to receiving Communion. However, if a shepherd of the flock knows someone is unworthy, it is up to the shepherd to lead the lost sheep back to the flock and prevent further damage to that person’s immortal soul. As Jesus said in Matthew 18:6, “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Intentionally allowing or encouraging someone to continue in mortal sin is worse than the mortal sin itself, and the shepherds will be held accountable for their flocks.
4.Father Martin concludes that since Jesus ate with sinners, we should follow His example and do likewise. He concludes his editorial by stating, “Even Jesus’ closest advisers were against breaking bread with sinners. He wasn’t. It’s no surprise that the controversy, and the grumbling, continues.”
Of course Jesus ate with sinners. Other than his mother, and possibly St. Joseph and a few others, everyone Jesus ate with sinned. I have no problem breaking bread with sinners, since I am one myself. There is a big difference between sharing a meal and fellowship with fellow sinners, and receiving the Eucharistic Lord in Holy Communion. This is no simple fellowship meal but rather a sacrament where we receive our Lord in His very body. This meal is special and while offered to everyone worthy of its reception, is not automatically given to all who seek it. To offer it to those publicly living in and encouraging sacrilege, we would need to offer it to everyone: Protestant, Jew, Muslim, etc. No, this meal is special. Those who receive it say their “Amen” to agreeing that the piece of bread offered at this meal is really the Body of Christ. Those who say “Amen” agree with Church teaching and agree to abide by it, even though we all fall short at times as we attempt to incorporate Jesus and His teaching into our lives. Those who receive it say “Amen” to being “in communion” with fellow believers and sharers in this meal.
To do otherwise, to encourage mortal sin, to say “Amen” and lie, and to receive this meal unworthily is not to be allowed or encouraged by our leaders, our shepherds, our “apostles.” This meal is truly special.