Fr. Peter Scott Blasts German Bishops for Allowing the Protestant Spouses of "Catholics" to Receive the Eucharist. Fr. Scott's Newsletter Points the Finger at New Code of Canon Law as Culprit.
Reverence and respect for the Blessed Sacrament is a practical manifestation of our Faith in the Real Presence, in the divinity of Christ. It is for this reason that recent news from Germany appalls us, namely that the German Episcopal Conference at Ingolstadt [N.B., Ingolstadt is the Bavarian city that was the place where modern Freemasonry first organized itself.]
The Bishops’ Conference in February voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new guide approving the administration of Holy Communion to Protestants who are the spouses of Catholics. Conditions were given, but that does not change the fact that this is an approval of administration of Holy Communion to excommunicated persons. The four conditions, in fact, do not change the scandal that such a measure creates, since they are all subjective and publicly unverifiable, namely a serious examination of conscience, affirming the faith of the Catholic Church, spiritual distress and a longing for the Eucharist.
If these conditions were truly adhered to, then the spouses in question would have already converted to the one true Church, as must, under pain of mortal sin, any person who believes in the Catholic Faith, understands the gravity of his sins, and who is distressed by his separation from the true Church and longs to receive Our Lord`s body and blood. Consequently, there is a direct contradiction between the conditions and the measure granting Holy Communion to such insincere persons. It is not surprising, then, that, Cardinal Marx, President of the Episcopal Conference rejected the idea that this would amount to a path that would call Protestants to conversion to the Catholic Church. (Quoted by Edward Pentin, NCR, February 22, 2018). This refusal is the error of indifferentism, namely that it does not matter what religion one belongs to. It deliberately leaves souls in error, outside the one true Church, on the way to Hell, and it is a grave offense against charity.
Alas, this ecumenical novelty of Eucharistic hospitality for non-Catholics, is not an invention of the German bishops. They are simply putting into practice the authorization already given in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, Canon 844, which permits Catholics to receive the Holy Eucharist from non- Catholic ministers who confect it validly, and non-Catholics to receive It from Catholic ministers “provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed”. Of course, the two conditions make no sense, for it they were truly fulled, then the person would already have converted to the Catholic Church.
In 1992, for the 30th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, Pope John Paul II published the new Catechism of the Catholic Church. It maintains the same revolutionary contradiction: Schismatic Eastern Orthodox are not only permitted, but “encouraged” to share in the Catholic Eucharist, and vice versa (§1399), as a direct application of the Vatican II document on Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio, §15). It is likewise said of Protestants that they may not receive the Holy Eucharist, since they have not preserved “the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness” (§1400)- in fact, they have retained nothing of the Eucharistic mystery, for they have no Blessed Sacrament and no Real Presence. But then it continues to say that they may do so, if there is a grave reason and the two conditions mentioned in the 1983 Code are fulled (§1401). They may not, and yet they may!
Why this contradiction? Benedict XVI, in his 2007 Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist (Sacramentum caritatis), attempts an explanation. Although he admits “the intrinsic link between the Eucharist and the Church`s unity”, yet he proceeds to affirm the contradictory statement: “Yet it remains true that, for the sake of their eternal salvation, individual non-Catholic Christians can be admitted to the Eucharist...” (§56) How could it be for the salvation of souls for them to receive sacrilegious communions without Confession, whilst being public heretics, excommunicated from the Catholic Church?
TRUE HUMANISM THE CAUSE
The answer is what Benedict XVI in his first encyclical called the “true humanism”(Deus caritas est, §9), that is a religion “in the service of man”. This humanism is a fusion of the natural and supernatural, no longer maintaining the distinction. It is to make one the two kinds of love, eros and agape, self love and self-sacrificing love. It is to confuse nature and grace. That is why, in the above exhortation on the Eucharist, he has this to say: “There is nothing authentically human – our thoughts and affections, our words and deeds – that does not find in the sacrament of the Eucharist the form it needs to be lived to the full. Here we can see the full human import of the radical newness brought by Christ in the Eucharist” (§71). Amongst these authentically human thoughts and affections are to be found those of Protestants. Hence, according to the humanist logic, they can have access to the Eucharist so as to live them to the full. Thus, according to Benedict XVI, “eucharistic communion, includes the reality both of being loved and of loving others in turn.” (Deus caritas est, §229). With Benedict`s new definition of love, this is just as possible on a natural level, for a non-Catholic, as it is for a Catholic on a supernatural level. This confusion between the natural and the supernatural leads in turn to a theology of the environment: “The relationship between the Eucharist and the cosmos helps us to see the unity of God’s plan and to grasp the profound relationship between creation and the “new creation” inaugurated in the resurrection of Christ, the new Adam”.(SC §92). Hence the “justified concern about threats to the environment present in so many parts of the world”. (SC §92).
THE CHURCH`S TEACHING
Let us examine, in contrast, the God-centered approach to those outside the Church. The traditional (1917) Code of Canon Law is very clear: “Those who are publicly known to be unworthy, such as those who are excommunicated, or interdicted, or who are manifestly of ill repute, must be refused Holy Communion until their repentance and amendment have been established, and they have made satisfaction for the public scandal they have given” (Canon 855). Note that here the Church does not just speak of mortal sin, that is of the personal obligation of refraining from Holy Communion under pain of sacrilege (subject of the following Canon 856), but rather of the external and objective state concerning which it can judge publicly. Divorced persons remarried outside the Church are publicly known to be unworthy and must be refused Holy Communion. Validly baptized Protestants are all excommunicated from the Church (Canon 2314 of the 1917 Code and Canon 1364 of the 1983 Code) from the very fact that they persevere in their heresy and schism and refuse to submit to the authority and teaching of the Church, regardless of any personal subjective disposition, regardless of whether their heresy is material, that is through invincible ignorance, or formal, that is willful. This is not changed by believing in one or other doctrine (eg. concerning the Eucharist), but only by accepting all the Church`s teaching, making an act of profession of Faith and of abjuration of heresy and receiving absolution from the excommunication, and sacramental absolution from their sins. The denial of this is the object of the anathema of the Council of Trent: “If anyone says that faith alone is sufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist: let him be anathema”(Db 893). It is difficult to see how the German bishops do not fall under this anathema.
THE HOLY EUCHARIST AND CHURCH UNITY
It is helpful for us to understand the reason behind this exclusion of non-Catholics from Holy Communion. It is that Protestants are publicly outside the unity of the mystical body of Christ, the Catholic Church, and that the most Holy Eucharist is a an efficacious symbol, producing unity, but only in those who share the same Faith and submission to the Church, without which there can be no real unity. Thus the Council of Trent teaches that the most Holy Eucharist is “a symbol of that one `body` of which He (Christ) is the `head` and to which He wished us to be united,
as members, by the closest bond of faith, hope and charity, that we might `all speak the same thing and there might be no schisms among us`” (Db 875) and beseeches “that each and all, who are classed under the Christian name, will now finally agree and be of the same opinion in this `sign of unity`, in this `bond of charity`, in this symbol of concord”. (Db 882).
Pope Leo XIII in his beautiful encyclical of 1902 on the Most Holy Eucharist (Mirae caritatis) makes the connection between the effects of fervent Holy Communion and unity within the Church, between the veneration and adoration we owe to Our Divine Saviour in this wonderful sacrament and the life of the Church.
“This sacrament is, as it were, the very soul of the Church; and to it the grace of the priesthood is ordered and directed in all its fullness and in each of its successive grades. From the same source the Church draws and has all her strength, all her glory, her every supernatural endowment and adornment, every good thing that is hers; wherefore she makes it the chiefest of all her cares to prepare the hearts of the faithful for an intimate union with Christ through the Sacrament of His body and blood and to draw them thereto. And to this end she strive to promote the veneration of this august mystery by surrounding it with holy ceremonies.”
The same Pope points out how true charity, which unites the Church into one Communion of Saints, is given by this Most Holy Sacrament to those who are rightly disposed in the unity of the Church.
“The grace of mutual charity among the living, which derives from the Sacrament of the Eucharist so great an increase of strength, is further extended by virtue of the sacrifice to all those who are numbered in the communion of saints. For the communion of saints, as everyone knows, is nothing but the mutual communication of help, expiation, prayers, blessings, among all the faithful, who, whether they have already attained to the heavenly country, or are detained in the purgatorial realm, or are yet exiles here on earth, all enjoy the common franchise of that city whereof Christ is the head, and the constitution is charity...That genuine charity, therefore, which knows how to do and to suffer all things for the salvation and the benefit of all, leaps forth with all the heat and energy of a flame from that Most Holy Eucharist in which Christ Himself is present and lives, and in which He indulges to the utmost His love towards us, and under the impulse of that divine love ceaselessly renews His Sacrifice.”
In his 1943 encyclical on the Mystical Body of Christ, Pope Pius XII explained the necessity of belonging to the Church, as a visible body, with a juridical structure, as Christ established it, and not just to an invisible, hidden, imaginary, purely spiritual church: “Since its Founder willed this social body of Christ to be visible, the cooperation of all its members must also be externally manifest through their profession of the same Faith and their sharing the same sacred rites, through participation in the same Sacri ce, and the practical observance of the same laws. Above all, it is absolutely necessary that the Supreme Head, that is the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, be visible to the eyes of all..” (§69).
It is for this reason that this last traditional Pope before Vatican II longed for the conversion of those who do not belong to the visible body of the Catholic Church, with these words:
“We ask each and every one of them to correspond to the interior movements of grace, and to seek to withdraw from that state in which they cannot be sure of their salvation. For even though by an unconscious desire and longing they have a certain relationship with the Mystical Body of the Redeemer, they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church. Therefore may they enter into Catholic unity...Unfortunately many are still wandering far from Catholic truth, being unwilling to follow the inspirations of divine grace, because neither they nor the faithful pray to God with sufficient fervor for this intention.” (Ib. §103, 104).
Let not this rebuke of the error of indifferentism be directed towards us. Let us maintain our prayers for the conversion of heretics and schismatics, Jews and pagans as we did on Good Friday. Let us make reparation for the illicit communions allowed by the post-conciliar Church, communions which are sacrilegious and draw down condemnation from heaven as St. Paul threatened (I Cor 11:29). Let us do so by our Eucharistic adoration, and by Holy Communions that are always more fervent, so that, to quote once more the Council of Trent:
“mindful of so great a majesty and such boundless love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His own beloved soul as the price of our salvation, and gave us His own flesh to eat, they (we) may believe and venerate these sacred mysteries of His body and blood with that constancy and firmness of faith, with that devotion of soul, that piety and worship, as to be able to receive frequently that super-substantial bread, and that it may be to them (us) truly the life of the soul and the perpetual health of mind, that being invigorated by the strength thereof, after the journey of this miserable pilgrimage, they may be able to arrive in their heavenly country to eat without any veil that same bread of angels which they now eat under the sacred veils.” (Db 882)
May the Queen of Heaven, who merited to bear our Divine Saviour, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, obtain for us perseverance in our love and devotion for this continuation of the mystery of the Incarnation which is the Blessed Sacrament.
Father Peter R. Scott