Reuters reported on Saturday, October 9, of a September meeting where the Pope was asked about the communion of politicians debate within the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference. His Holiness told reporters that abortion is “murder”, even soon after conception. But then he appeared to criticise [sic] the U.S. bishops for dealing with the issue in a “political” rather than pastoral way. The papacy has confronted the U.S. bishops about issues of fostering divisiveness within the Church over the issue of abortion as well.

“Communion is not a prize for the perfect … communion is a gift, the presence of Jesus and his Church,” the pope said. The link is here: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/pope-meets-pelosi-abortion-debate-rages-back-home-2021-10-09/ Your Holiness, ‘perfection’ has nothing to do with it.

And as we saw yesterday, the U. S. Bishops drafted their decision to commune whosoever will regardless of what they commend if they happen to occupy public office. The language of the draft gives no specific reference to any public figure, allegedly stating that lay people who occupy public office should give specific reference to Church teaching while commending that to others via some such non-divisive rhetoric.

The fact remains that Canon 916 of the Code of Canon Law states plainly, “A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.” https://www.vatican.va/archive/cod-iuris-canonici/eng/documents/cic_lib4-cann879-958_en.html

The 1986 Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition concurs:

“1415 Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance.”

Apparently where disunity is a leading consideration, mortal sin and genuine contrition take a back seat in public life as only “political” issues.


The issue of faithful reception of Communion has nothing to do with one’s perfection, but rather has everything to do with one’s integrity. As St. James writes in his epistle, “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (1:8, emphasis mine).

The difficulty of talking out of both sides of the mouth is that when or even if a politician receives absolution for advocacy of abortion or other evils, yet persists in that advocacy, then he or she is commending that evil to others regardless, not to mention providing legal means for the politically correct murder that is abortion on demand. The assumption is that Roman Catholics and other Christians who choose to participate in public service have carte blanche to “park it at the door”, to cast off the strictures of the values and beliefs that they are called upon to uphold. When we make that decision, we fail to live according to our own integrity.

We ought to place no trust in the sort of mealy-mouthed politician who tells us that, “Well these are my personal beliefs and values, but I don’t believe that I ought to impose them on others.” That person has thereby told us beforehand that he or she cannot be trusted in any matter of commitment. For if they will not conduct themselves and endeavor to make policy according to their beliefs, then we should replace them with others who will.

The way to fight back against such notions is to call the integrity of a person’s ‘private’ belief into question and expose the hypocrisy bring it into plain sight. For these politicians palpably express a contradictory public belief. Then instruct everyone who will listen that the nature of a commitment to the Pantokrator militates against any desire on our part to ‘park it at the door’ of this world’s demands.

No, Christian folks, when we commit ourselves to the Risen Christ and elect to drag our cross publicly, we don’t get to “park it at the door”.

Father David+   

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