Denied Holy Communion

By: Modesto P. Sa-onoy

Under present situation, I don’t believe that the Catholic Church in the Philippines will exercise one of its powers to instill obedience to its doctrines that are being violated by politicians and community leaders with impunity.

Here is a report that should answer one question many asked me about what the Church can do against politicians and other leaders that flaunt their heresies and yet consider themselves Catholic and receive Holy Communion that priests or the lay Eucharistic minister give without blinking an eye.

LifeSiteNews published last June 7 a report about an American bishop who issued a decree denying two of the state’s high officials from receiving Holy Communion. This decree however, binds only the priests within his diocese although it could impact in others where a priest may, on his own accord, also refuse the Eucharist.

In his decree, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, states: “In accord with canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law…Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan, who facilitated the passage of the Act Concerning Abortion of 2017 (House Bill 40) as well as the Reproductive Health Act of 2019 (Senate Bill 25), are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois because they have obstinately persisted in promoting the abominable crime and very grave sin of abortion as evidenced by the influence they exerted in their leadership roles and their repeated votes and obdurate public support for abortion rights over an extended period of time.”

Of course, no-one, least of all the good bishop, wants anyone to be deprived of Holy Communion, LifeSiteNews said, but he did what so many Catholics had hoped the bishops would do to bring home the truth that politicians or people of influence cannot play around with heresy or acts contrary to and would endanger the life and faith of people.

But, “when a politician publicly and obstinately puts himself out-of-communion with the Church’s teaching on the taking of innocent human life (i.e., on abortion), then the faithful understand that the Eucharist and the Church must be protected from such scandal,” LifeSiteNews explained.

“Pro-abortion politicians should not think that they can demean the Body of Christ – by promoting killing other human beings – with no consequence! But, depriving politicians of Holy Communion is not just meant to prevent scandal; it is also designed to bring a grave public sinner to repentance. In this way, such an action is meant to be for the good of their souls, too.”

Bishop Paprocki still opened the door for the American legislators who, like all sinners who repent, are always welcome. He said, “These persons may be readmitted to Holy Communion only after they have truly repented these grave sins and furthermore have made suitable reparation for damages and scandal, or at least have seriously promised to do so, as determined in my judgment or in the judgment of their diocesan bishop in consultation with me or my successor.”

During the debate on the controversial Philippine Reproductive Health Bill, aggressively pushed by the government of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino and his Department of Health as well as senators and congressmen, the Philippine Church was lulled to the naïve belief that the Catholics of great influence in the passage of law – Aquino, his cabinet, the senators and congressmen and leading citizens, would listen to the Church and abide by the teaching of the faith – contraception is contrary to Church doctrine.

Note that Bishop Paprocki denied communion to the two legislators for exerting their influence and voting in favor not only of abortion but contraception as well. Contraception is against Catholic doctrine. How many of those who obstinately worked for the Philippine Reproductive Health Law are communicants as if the law they passed was to distribute candy?

No bishop or priest denied communion to the rabid pro-HR law, some of them professors of Catholic colleges and universities who argued against Catholic doctrine. Several bishops and priests spoke against the bill and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines expressed its opposition but the RH bill passed just the same.

US President Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy says, “Speak softly and carry a big stick, you will go far.”

The bishops spoke softly but without a stick and the politicians ignored them.