Tuesday, 20 October 2015

The Desperate Need for Approval

We all seek approval from those whose views we value. And it strikes me that that is a large part of the problem with the whole re-married and LGBT desire to be admitted to Holy Communion. It is, in many cases, less about wanting to receive their Saviour, than about wanting to feel affirmed by the community.

That is why the language is all about 'exclusion,' and a 'club for the virtuous' and so on. Many see the Mass primarily as a social occasion that is about who is 'in' and who is 'out' rather than a journey to and through Calvary with Our Lord.

And the bishops sold the pass on this back in the 1960s when they did not hold the line on Humanae Vitae, and with the concurrent collapse of the practice of confession. 

The reduction of the Eucharistic Fast to (effectively) don't eat during Mass did not help either: it means that it is normative for everyone to receive; and people do so with an incredibly casual attitude (being in practice forbidden from kneeling, and bullied/educated into receiving in the hand and from the ubiquitous EMHCs have also contributed to this).

And yet, still, in my own parish, there are heroic people in irregular situations who attend Mass regularly, but do not present themselves for Holy Communion. I cannot, of course, know the state of their consciences, but I am sure that such fidelity and humility will not go unrewarded.

My own experience, for what it's worth, is that when I do not receive Holy Communion, for whatever reason (not having got to confession, having absent-mindedly eaten a mint on the way to Mass, or whatever...) and I make a Spiritual Communion - those Masses are often those at which I pray the most fervently, and am the most contrite.

But +Kasper and his allies risk teaching all and sundry that whatever they do, that's all right.  All sin will be approved and all sinners affirmed without any requirement to recognise, let alone repent of and try to amend a sinful way of life. As long as they can square it with their own conscience. And again, speaking from my own experience, (and reflecting on the huge numbers of contracepting Catholics who go to Communion regularly) I know how easy that is...

2 comments:

hughosb said...

"And yet, still, in my own parish, there are heroic people in irregular situations who attend Mass regularly, but do not present themselves for Holy Communion. I cannot, of course, know the state of their consciences, but I am sure that such fidelity and humility will not go unrewarded."

My instinctive response is to agree unreservedly to the above. Such people are certainly showing respect to the Church and the Faith, and that mitigates their situation.

But if we are being boldly honest, we have to admit that "irregular" equals "objectively sinful", and they need to repent. The good thing is that by attending Mass yet not receiving Communion (which would be poison to their souls if in mortal sin) they open themselves to hear the Word of God and its encouragement to repent.

No doubt that would be labelled patronising and cold comfort by some. But is it true? If so, there are consequences, no?

Pax!

Ben Trovato said...

To be honest, I don't know what their irregularity consists of. I imagine that you are right, and clearly living in a state of objective sin is harmful, and as you say the way forward is repentance. But we also know that the subjective element is also important: that if there is duress, for example, the subjective guilt (and presumably the harm) is reduced.

My point is that repentance becomes more likely because of their fidelity and humility: that Our Lord can work with that more readily than with the hardness of heart of a person in a similar situation who simply thinks that the rules are unfair and they are perfectly virtuous.