Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Monday 20 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Andrew Kim Taegon and Companions

Denying Communion: An “Act of Mercy”

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 03/14/16

From the Catholic Herald in the U.K.:

Over the weekend, my attention was drawn to a news item from two years ago: a 2014 LifeSiteNews interview with Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth. In it, he suggested that “people [who] are not in communion with the Catholic Church” on core teachings – he specifically cites here politicians voting in favour of abortion or same-sex marriage – “shouldn’t be receiving Holy Communion”. In such cases, moreover, actively denying Communion would be “an act of mercy”, done in the “hope that… it would encourage someone to come back to seek communion with the Lord, with the truth, and say I’m sorry I got lost.” When and why old stories suddenly resurface on social media is an interesting question in itself. Regardless, since it seems to be doing the rounds again, now is as a good a time as any to share some observations on the understandably sensitive issue of who should or should not receive (or, relatedly, be offered) Communion. It is, after all, not an issue that is likely to go away. The first is simply this. In general terms, Bishop Egan was – and I assume still is, though I’ve not asked after his present stance – on very firm scriptural, patristic, and scholastic ground. Paul’s strictures against those who “eat and drink judgment on themselves” (1 Corinthians 11.29) are, of course, well known. Partaking of Christ’s Body and Blood is no casual affair – “Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup” (11.28) – and it is far better not to receive, than to receive unworthily.
Evidently, this point applies to everyone, and not just to elected officials. It also, note well, applies to many more matters than voting for abortion or same-sex marriage (serious matters though they indeed are).

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
Kathleen N. Hattrup
On same-sex unions, Pope says Church doesn’t have power to change...
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
Visalia CHURCH
J-P Mauro
The largest Catholic parish church in the US will soon be in Cali...
See More