Recently I posted a letter written to an Archbishop prior to the legalization of same sex marriage in Canada in 2005. Other letters were exchanged at the same time on related subjects. The following is one such letter, dealing primarily with Canon 915, and has been edited only slightly, with some personal details removed, in order to make it suitable for this posting.
I appreciate your response to my two previous letters of concern. I can only say that I am deeply disappointed to hear that your continued approach with Prime Minister Paul Martin and other scandal generating Catholic politicians is simply one of ‘patient dialogue.’
Much could be said about Church teaching on this matter and I am quite confident that you are fully informed on these matters. You referred to the means of ‘canonical sanctions’ yet you did not respond to the more basic issue of defense of the Holy Eucharist. As a Catholic I am realizing more and more the central importance and significance of the Holy Eucharist to the life of the Catholic. As John Paul II reminded Catholics, the Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian experience. Could it not be said then that the unworthy reception of the same is the basest and most defiling action the Christian can take? Who will defend Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist from such defilement (and the sinner from further condemnation)?
Canon 915 is a sacramental law that refers to the Eucharist and how not to suffer scandal; it is not a penal law. Bishops are called to govern and correct and an unworthy act of Holy Communion, willfully chosen by an obstinate, persistent sinner, is a most grave matter. A conscientious faithful bishop in such a situation would not be putting 'sanction' on the person in question; the offender has, in fact, fallen under the canon 915 sacramental prohibition themselves.
Paul Martin is an aggressively pro-abortion, pro-gay ‘marriage’ Catholic politician who continues to scandalize the Catholic community in a most acute persistent manner. The Vatican has spoken repeatedly on who may or may not be admitted to Holy Communion:
“there should be no such refusal to any Catholic who presents himself for Holy Communion at Mass, except in cases presenting a danger of grave scandal to other believers arising out of the person's unrepented public sin or obstinate heresy or schism, publicly professed or declared."
Canon 915 places the responsibility on the minister should he unlawfully administer the sacrament with the consequent danger of scandal for the rest of the faithful.
Very soon now, if nothing is placed in his way, Martin intends to force same sex ‘marriage’ on all Canadians, persisting in his grave sin and risking what the Vatican states as “wide-reaching and profound influence” and resulting “in changes to the entire organization of society, contrary to the common good.”
Is the Church’s sacramental law simply words on a paper somewhere in the Vatican, and without substance or force? Does it apply at all to any other Catholic anywhere else outside the Vatican? If so, then it must surely apply to Paul Martin and other Catholic politicians (no doubt to scores of other Catholics living in mortal sin as well) who willfully sin by holding vital Church teachings in contempt, and then present themselves as “good” Catholics wishing to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ who paid the supreme price of His Life because of the sin of mankind. What an insufferable outrage!
If bishops and priests don’t respect and honour Church teaching, (and the Most Holy Eucharist) how can it be expected that Catholics in the pews or in politics will show respect? What a heartbreak it is to see all these offenses occurring with impunity in full view of Canadian bishops!
It makes my heart break further when I see at Sunday Mass the little children who are being greeted with smiles, prayers and words of good will and blessing just prior to being sent off for Christian catechesis. They will learn far more from the example and legacy of their leaders and teachers than they will from any formal catechesis. In a few short years they will be amongst the thousands (even millions) of victims of the corruption and evil that took root and flourished in Canadian society because Church leaders were too weak, faithless and disobedient to Church teaching to take every precaution possible to protect them and the rest of society. Is this not the gravest kind of offense to the little ones that Jesus spoke of?
While reading an article just this week I was struck by a startling statement made years ago by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, in an address to the Knights of Columbus, who said:
"Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops like bishops and your religious act like religious."
Startling, but also immensely sobering. What sort of actions can the ordinary Catholic undertake to accomplish such a task? God Himself must provide the answer individually for each one asking, but then rise to the task one must.
The grace of God be with you.