by the Cybervangelists at CatholicQandA.com
A Story about the Power of the Eucharist:
"A Plea in the Night" by Lesley S. (Prolifer2) on CatholicQandA.com
Message Board Post from January 1999
A Catholic using artificial birth control who knows that the Church condemns such practices is not to receive communion. If they do receive Communion, they are committing sacrilege against the Blessed Sacrament. Here are some quotes from the Church's official book of Catholic Doctrine--The Catechism of the Catholic Church. These quotes are authoritative because the Catechism is produced and approved directly by the Vatican.
Unnatural Contraception is a Sin:
"EVERY ACTION which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act (i.e. the birth control pill, the IUD), or in its accomplishment (i.e. the condom, the diaphragm), or in the development of it's natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, TO RENDER PROCREATION IMPOSSIBLE IS INTRINSICALLY EVIL" (Paragraph 2370 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church; parenthetical comments and emphasis added).
--The Church officially teaches that artificial contraception, since it's an action that intends to render procreation impossible, is a seriously evil action--a grave sin.
A Catholic in a State of Mortal Sin Must Not Receive Communion:
"ANYONE WHO IS AWARE OF HAVING COMMITED A MORTAL SIN MUST NOT RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession" (Paragraph 1457 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church; emphasis added).
--The Church charges anyone who has not yet received confession for a mortal sin to abstain from the Eucharist.
Three Conditions for a Sin to be Mortal:
"For a SIN to be MORTAL, three conditions must together be met: 'Mortal sin is sin whose object is (1) GRAVE MATTER and which is also committed with (2) FULL KNOWLEDGE and (3) DELIBERATE CONSENT" (Paragraph 1857 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, emphasis added).
--So for a sin to be mortal, the sin must (1) be grave (as artificial contraception is defined), it must be (2) committed with the knowledge that it is a sin, and it must be (3) committed with full consent. Notice that the sinner doesn't have to know that the sin is grave, they only have to know that it is wrong. The grave nature is something that is objective, it doesn't depend on whether the sinner knows that it is grave.
Therefore, since artificial contraception is a grave sin, then as long as a Catholic knows that his/her Church speaks infallibly for Christ, and he/she knows that the Church condemns contraception as evil, then he/she is committing mortal sin if he/she uses artificial contraception with full consent. Furthermore, since this Catholic has then committed mortal sin, they should refrain from Communion by order of the Church until they receive the Sacrament of Confession.
Many people will try to confuse the issue by saying that the general Catholic cannot be held accountable for the sin of artificial contraception because they can only be held accountable for what they know is wrong. This statement is true, but two things are not being mentioned. First, a Catholic is charged by the Church to know what the Church teaches. So, if a Catholic does not know that artificial contraception is a sin, then they are committing a dangerous sin by not learning the faith. Second, if a Catholic does not have the means to find out, then those priests and catechists who are supposed to teach the faith in union with the Pope are committing a grave sin by withholding the official teachings. This sin is grave because it is a robbery of a very precious gift--a theft of the one's right to the Gospel, the knowledge of one's meaning and true fulfillment in life. Therefore, if a Catholic is using artificial contraception, then someone is committing sin. Either the Catholic or his/her spiritual leaders will be held accountable for that sin on judgement day!
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Web Site E-Mail Dialogue from June 1999
I am a recent convert to the Catholic faith and I very much appreciate your web-page. I have one question, however. Why is it that in our church we only receive the host during the Eucharist? I feel cheated not being able to receive the wine also. I know the Catechism says the host itself is complete but I still feel cheated. I don't understand why we can't have both body and blood. I am aware that some churches do. Why the discrepancy? Will this change?
Thank you for your time.
Thank you for your kind words about the web-page. I appreciate any comments about it, especially when they are nice comments. :-)
Technically, all priests are required to offer both bread and wine species to their parishioners. The Church gives them practical exclusions, though. A parish that does not offer the wine specie probably serves members that prefer the bread specie alone. Even though Father is required to offer the wine specie at mass, it may not be a practical option if he finds his parishioners never receive it. Since the Precious Blood still maintains the attributes of wine, Father must consume all that remains so that it does not spoil. And since it still holds the effects of alcohol, he must make sure that he does not have too much remaining that may be an unnecessary burden to himself. You may also find that such parishes have a high level of alcoholism (based on the parish's Alcoholics Anonymous attendance). In that case, the practical option would be to offer the bread specie alone so as not to tempt any recovering alcoholics. Each priest must make a judgement call, while still being obedient to the Church's request.
Does this mean that some Catholics will only receive the body of Christ? No. As you mentioned, the Catechism teaches that those who receive the bread specie alone actually receive all of Christ. The Eucharist is Christ's complete and intimate self-giving to us: body, blood, soul, and divinity. Just because the priest consecrates the bread and wine separately (which symbolizes his death), Christ’s body and blood are not actually separated again. If that were true, Christ would be dying again (actual separation of blood from body is death), and we know Christ now lives forever (Rev 1:17-18). We receive all of Him at communion in the bread and/or the wine species.
Paul affirms the teaching of the Catechism in 1 Corinthians 11:27--"Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord." Notice that receiving EITHER the bread specie OR the wine specie in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning BOTH the body AND the blood. This is true because the body and blood of the Lord are present in both the bread and wine species. Thus, Paul shows that reception of either bread or wine specie is complete reception of Christ.
Please don't feel cheated by the pastor of a particular church you visit who may only distribute the bread specie. He is not intending to keep Christ from you. His intention is to do what is best for his parishioners. If you truly feel you need to receive both bread and wine species, talk to your pastor and see if he will accommodate you. If he has a good reason for not offering both species, you can also call each of your local parishes and ask them if they distribute both. You should find at least one church pastor who will accommodate you. Either way you go, I will pray that you find the satisfaction for which you are looking.
I hope I answered your question sufficiently. If not, please feel free to ask more questions. God bless you. Please pray for my son and my brother.
Steve S. aka Abercius24
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