Thursday, August 05, 2004

U.S.: Roman more bishops finally opt for fidelity to Church doctrine

Roman Catholic bishops in three Southeastern dioceses said Wednesday they will deny Communion to lawmakers who consistently support abortion rights unless the dissenting politicians publicly recant.

The bishops said in a statement that Catholics who violate church teaching in policy-making were 'cooperating in evil in a public manner.'

The banned Catholic lawmakers could resume taking the sacrament 'only after reconciliation with the church has occurred, with the knowledge and consent of the local bishop, and public disavowal of former support for procured abortion,' the clerics said.

'There can be no contradiction between the values bestowed by baptism and the Catholic faith and the public expression of those values,' the bishops said."
The Lord's Supper or Holy Communion is not a right. Rather, it is a privilege the Lord conferred upon His Church for her salvation. Though all are to be baptized, not all are to be communed until they can understand the meaning and significance of the eating and drinking. Therefore, the Western Church does not commune children until after they have been instructed into the articles of the Christian faith. For, where baptism wipes away all sin, communion will condemn to damnation if partaken of unworthily.

Martin Chemnitz, in the Examination of the Council of Trent, discusses the importance of eating the Body and Blood of Christ worthily. This eating, Chemnitz notes, is not to be undertaken recklessly, for our very soul is at risk should we eat unworthily. He argues, like Paul, that the partaking of the Lord's Supper should be preceded by prayerful reflection. The man who is to commune must prepare himself for in the eating and drinking he is one with Christ through faith. No man ought to just go to Church and eat of the Body and Blood without considering that should he eat unrepentant, he damns his own soul to hell. No pastor should allow a man to eat of the Body and Blood while he is at odds with Scripture, that rule and norm for life and faith. For a pastor to allow such a one to commune is to be remiss in his responsibiity as a shepherd.

For, the priests of the Roman Church, like Christian pastors and ministers wherever they may be found, are shepherds and bishops of the souls of men. They are charged by Christ with responsibility for our souls' salvation, and He require an accounting of their stewardship of His flock. If the pastor is aware that a man consents to abortion, which is murder and is as the passing of children through fire, and he communes that man, then he receives on himself that man's blood because as pastor, he has failed to see to the safety of the sheep's soul.

Therefore, given the significane of the Lord's Supper to the Church, and the life-endangering penalty attached to eating unworthily of it, it is good that Roman bishops have decided to withhold communion from those who will not recant and repent concerning abortion. One of these days, the flock will realize that the Church is the Body of Christ, and that the smiling Savior born in a cradle in Bethlehem will be replaced by a fierce and frowning judge.

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