One of my friends was married recently. My friend is a Lutheran in name, but does not seriously practice, his fiancee is Catholic, somewhat practicing. At the wedding, the priest gave my friend and anyone in the church Communion. This, obviously, is inappropriate and sacrilegious according to any orthodox Christian who believes in the Real Presence (Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox etc.). I wrote that priest a letter, and here it is... and we thought Senator Kerry was spineless!
Dear Father so-&-so,
I was in attendance at the wedding of ------ and ---------, on Saturday,
June 7th, at Our Lady of Victory chapel on the college campus of St. Catherine's.
I apologize that I did not send this important message earlier, but time did not permit.
I was very disappointed that you gave the Eucharist to ------- who
is not in communion with the Catholic Church.
I was also saddened at the fact that you took time
to let the congregation know that you'd be standing in front of the altar (an obvious fact),
distributing the Eucharist, but did not state the norms for reception of Communion.
Thus, --------'s family also received without being in Communion as surely did others
Undoubtedly you are aware of the divisions between Christians; these, as you must
also surely know, are not because of unjust rules or old traditions, but rather because
of what we know and believe about God as Catholics; not things to be taken lightly.
My friend, -------, does not believe in
the Catholic teaching about the Eucharist, therefore, when you presented the host to him
you put him in an awkward place: we, as Catholics, state "Amen"; ---------, grabbed
it in an embarrassed manner and headed for his seat near the altar.
This is really a tragedy on a number of levels.
First, recalling the passage from Corinthians (Cor 11: 23-30)
where St. Paul reminds us that we put the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ on our hands when
we receive the Lord's body in an unworthy manner. Certainly, when -------and others
received the Eucharist, they did not put such a condemnation on themselves, for they
probably did not understand otherwise; however, I grieve for you, having given the
Lord's body to them, knowing they shouldn't receive.
Second, you have also provided ------- and ------ (and everyone else in attendance) with
a terrible witness. By denying Church teaching (based even in Scripture), you have
only strengthened the relativistic culture within which we live. Let's say ------
converts to Catholicism; forever in his mind he will justify disregarding the Church's
teaching (which is there to guide us toward the Lord) because on his wedding
day a Catholic priest failed to respect that most sacred gift to the Church: the
Eucharist. Why would he or ------- ever consider obeying the Church's teaching on
something such as contraception when the priest who married them disobeys the teaching on
communio and the Eucharist?
Basically, you have cheapened what it means to be a Catholic to ------ and ------,
and what it means to be a Christian. You've stated by your actions: "we make the
call on truth; there is no objective reality- we as individuals make it up as we
go along. The local bishop's, the pope's, the councils', and the magisterium's teaching
authority is a naked fiction." Very disturbing. When I asked a -------- family member
if ------ was converting, for he received the Eucharist, they replied,
"Oh no, father's really cool about that stuff."
Does this imply that similar actions have preceded this one, or that you have engaged
in other dissenting practices?
Third, what's more is the fact that such a pastoral call is not ecumenical, but in
fact destroys authentic ecumenism. You did not respect the intelligence or the sensibilities
of those in the church that day when you failed to inform them what the Catholic Church
teaches about the bread and wine becoming Christ's body and blood. You also did not
respect the identity of the Catholic Church with this action, thus undermining and confusing
ecumenical dialogue with your autonomous choice. One can only imagine what
serious members of other Christian communities thought, knowing what you were doing was wrong
more than you; you were an irresponsible ambassador of Christ and His Church on that day.
Finally, at the very least, this was an act of disobedience to our local bishop and his predecessors,
as well as the entire Universal Church, headed by our pope. You most likely did not want to represent
the true teachings of the Catholic faith because they are often difficult; you wanted to avoid
upsetting the status quo of superficial consensus, hoping to not 'offend' someone.
Let me remind you something important about your vocation- it's not about you, it's about Him: our Lord.
It is saddening to think of those who have died for their faith rather than renounce even one iota,
and then how you so cheaply gave away the body of our Lord in the Eucharistic bread.
In closing, I direct you to the Holy Father's Apostolic exhortation "Sacramentum Caritatis"
(found here: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_ben-xvi_exh_20070222_sacramentum-caritatis_en.html )
as well as the United States Council of Catholic Bishops' "Guidelines for the Reception of Communion"
(found here: http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/current/intercom.shtml );
finally, I would appreciate an explanation or response regarding this tragic occurance.
yours in Christ,
Old Books Club