Courage Is In Short Supply!

July 17, 2008 09:00 AM
It was heartening to read the report from the Philippines about Archbishop Jesus Armamento Dosados, who has emphatically declared that pro-abortion public figures who claim to be Catholic may not receive Christ in the sacrament of Holy Communion. In his comments, the archbishop declared, "The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion merely as a consequence of being present at Mass is an abuse that must be corrected." He went on to say that such individuals must be denied the sacrament "until such time as they bring to an end the objective situation of sin."

In supporting the actions of his fellow archbishop, Archbishop Oscar Cruz told the news media that it could well be that the question will be brought before the country's entire bishops' conference, and he pointed out, "If a priest or bishop does not punish a public sinner, it is the priest or bishop who is wrong."

My joy upon reading this report was tempered with the clear understanding we all have in this country that our own United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has not taken such a bold stand nor have they articulately defended the courageous bishops in our nation who have! Quite the contrary, in this age of political correctness – in which serving the desires of man has superseded the reality of Christ's presence in the Eucharist – we are saddened and heartbroken.

It seems so obvious that if an archbishop in the Philippines can cite Vatican documents, then certainly the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops could and, indeed, should do likewise. Objectively speaking, this is a question of whether or not those who are given the immense honor of distributing Holy Communion to the faithful will defend the person of Christ from sacrilege.

This is not merely my opinion. None other than the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us,

It is by the conversion of the bread and wine into Christ's body and blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament. The Church Fathers strongly affirmed the faith of the Church in the efficacy of the Word of Christ and of the action of the Holy Spirit to bring about this conversion. Thus, St. John Chrysostom declares:

It is not man that causes the things offered to become the Body and Blood of Christ, but he who was crucified for us, Christ himself. The priest, in the role of Christ, pronounces these words, but their power and grace are God's. This is my body, he says. This word transforms the things offered.

And St. Ambrose says about this conversion:

Be convinced that this is not what nature has formed, but what the blessing has consecrated. The power of the blessing prevails over that of nature, because by the blessing nature itself is changed...Could not Christ's word, which can make from nothing what did not exist, change existing things into what they were not before? It is no less a feat to give things their original nature than to change their nature. (Section 1375)

I therefore write this blog today with a heavy heart, having been a frontline participant in the war to protect the preborn child, whose real presence is frequently denied in the law, in the culture and in the minds of men and women across this nation. For it occurs to me that if America's most populous Church has few courageous leaders who will defend the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, how can we hope to see Catholics defend the real presence of the child before birth and do so with gusto?

Courage demands honesty, and I ask you: Where is it among the policies of the U.S. bishops' conference in questions as basic as whether or not they will expend every effort to defend Christ at all costs and regardless of public opinion?

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