Thursday, April 01, 2004
(This was submitted to THE GALVIN OPINION and approved. It is a response to a Newsmax.com piece about the editor of Crisis Magazine's call for John Kerry to be refused Communion at Mass. The following was written by Albert Greenland).
Via the dogma of Transubstantiation, bread (the communion wafer) becomes the actual body of Christ (the Eucharist) during the Consecration incantation performed during every mass, wherein the Priest speaks the same words that Jesus spoke during the last supper. This doctrine of Transubstantiation is an article of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian faiths, for Protestant denominations believe that communion wafers are just “symbols” that represent the true body of Christ. Catholics believe that even though the communion wafer looks like a sliver of unleavened bread, it is in fact the Body of Christ. That is where Catholicism injects an element of mysticism or the metaphysical into the Mass that Protestantism does not.
As a result, not everyone is entitled to receive the Eucharist in a Catholic Church. Notwithstanding that those who are not Catholics (or in some cases other Orthodox Christians) cannot receive, those Catholics who have committed a “grave” or “mortal” sin cannot receive. A mortal sin, when committed, is a stain upon the soul. It will strip the soul of certain grace, and if the soul is not cleansed via the sacrament of Penance (confessing one’s sins to a priest) or a sincere act of contrition in the absence of the sacrament, the sinner will merit eternal damnation if he dies. Non-exhaustive examples of mortal sins are found within the Ten Commandments (i.e. adultery).
Therefore only those whose souls are not stained with “unconfessed” grave sins or only those who have repented can receive the Eucharist. Dropping the Eucharist into an unclean body is something akin to dunking a lamb in motor oil. An unclean temple (soul/body) is not a proper receptacle for the Eucharist. Accordingly to Catholic teaching, to receive the Eucharist while in the state of mortal sin is a “sacrilege”- a grave offense directly against God.
The Bishops are right to argue that John Kerry is openly in the state of mortal sin, however, not because of his alleged adultery—as some may be made to believe. Notwithstanding his [possible] support of gay marriage—because John Kerry is a “waffler” on that and many other issues—he openly PROCLAIMS without waiver his support for abortion.
All arguments aside, abortion is Murder. The Catholic Church knows the truth that life begins at conception and that that cluster of cells in a woman’s womb is very much alive... So where Kerry openly supports abortion, not only does he abet the mortal sin of murder, but he also commits the grave sin of promoting teachings that are anathemical to the beliefs of the Church. This promotion of abortion on the part of Catholic politicians and leaders is sinful really scandalous. So not only should Kerry be refused communion if he attends mass (a right all priests have to prevent sacrilege on the part of known mortal sinners), he should also be excommunicated—the punishment for heretics/those Catholics who prominently and vociferously propound anti-Catholic and poisonous ideas to the masses.
So congratulations to the Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis and to all others who have the courage to speak out against the evils and evil persons of our time. Whether or not his proclamation may inspire a reaction that would undermine what the Bishop hopes to achieve is another question.
Update: Another site, Pandagon has quite a different opinion. Discussing the issue in a wider scale is a New York Times article, "Kerry, Candidate and Catholic, Creates Uneasiness for Church."
DEFINITELY check out Mirror of Justice: A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory. This blog consists of eleven fantastic legal scholars including Professor Bainbridge and three professors from where I went to law school, Notre Dame. Due to my experience at Notre Dame Law School with Professors Rick Garnett, Paolo Carozza, and Vince Rougeau I am confident that the other contributors on this blog are just as educational, insightful and thorough.
Update: Read the latest on this Kerry issue from Professor Bainbridge