Friday, May 2, 2008

Show Me Your Soul

Maybe this is my liberal bias kicking in but why are so many people concerned about who receives communion? I certainly don't sit around and look at the people who go up to receive and who don't. It's not my business nor my right to pass any judgments onto people sitting in the pews. I've been guilty of receiving communion with mortal sin on my soul. I'm sure everyone has at least once-- we're human and we sin. For a lot of people, that happens by plain ignorance. For a long time, I didn't know that skipping Mass on Sundays was a mortal sin. I know it's a grave thing but our Lord is also loving and forgiving as well and we're given with an opportunity by going Confession to acknowledge our sins and ask for absolution.

Yes, I know how wrong it is to receive Communion without being in the state of Grace. I don't disbelieve that it's the Body and Blood of Christ and yes, it's shameful to receive when one ought not to, but it happens. Should we chastise those who do? The fact that people obviously do chastise and judge troubles me.

Most people in the pews aren't public figures. Now, I'm speaking of the Catholic politicians who received at the Washington DC Papal Mass. Who knows what is/was really in their hearts that day? Just because they're liberals, doesn't mean they're lesser Catholics. Maybe they went to confession the night before, made a proper and sincere confession? Maybe they renounced their pro-choice positions in their confessions? Maybe they didn't, but it's really between them and God. None of us know what they did hours before that Mass. It's not our business to condemn or judge them. God will do that just like he'll judge all these people who are acting holier than thou and declaring it wrong that they went. Now, I'm not condoning them for going, nor do I condone anyone who goes with un-confessed mortal sin on his or her conscience. It's a grave thing and as Catholics we should all know that. Some of us, however, are probably more fortunate that we've been taught properly or we have priests who are willing to stand up before the laity and express the correct teachings of the church. So, they should know better and refrain from receiving Communion until they are in a state of Grace. Sadly, because of situations and circumstances, some may never be, but we should never judge them.

Still, so what, they went to communion and no one stopped them. It's not our decision as lay people to make. Maybe the bishop should have taken a stance, but as he said, he did not because he didn't have any direction or guidance from their own bishops in their dioceses.

"Archbishop Wuerl indicated that he would not bar a politician from receiving Communion unless the bishop of that politician's diocese had taken that step. He explained that he has "always respected the role of the local Church and the ministry of the individual bishop as shepherd of the Church entrusted to his care." "

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that it was their choice to receive communion, whether or not they should have, that's between them and God (maybe their bishop if he took a stance) and not the rest of us. I guess the preoccupation and obsession about it on the blogosphere, in message boards and in comments to online articles is what raised my ire a bit.

We are all capable of sin, in fact some of us sin a lot more than others. We all need to recognize that God doesn't want us to suffer and has given us opportunities to confess and ask for forgiveness.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed following the Pope's visit. I enjoyed watching his appearances, the masses were beautiful, and his speeches were profound, but I'm tired of all the negative fall out and commentary about the visit as well. We, as Catholics in America, should revel in the fact that the pope came to our country, offered thoughts of healing and hope to us as a people and a nation. He offered his blessings and imparted some wonderful words. I hope we take the time to remember those things and not what what we didn't like or what he didn't say or what didn't happen.

I also enjoyed the DC Mass. I'm used to multiculturalism in the pews and was astonished to hear all the negative commentary about that Mass. Sometimes, I forget the rest of the country is not like where I live. From my vantage point in my living room, Pope Benedict XVI didn't seem put off by it.

I think one lesson to take away from this Communion Kerfuffle, at the next stadium Mass, don't offer Communion to those in the pews, or better yet, don't have a stadium Mass.

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