Caution: Communion Not for Everyone

As many faithful Catholics have long observed,  reception of the Holy Eucharist has become little more than an ongoing scandal.  Leaving aside for the moment the practice so-called pro-abort Catholic politicians, many church-going Catholics are not prepared to receive Our Lord in His flesh and blood either. We know this because the Confession lines are not too long on Saturdays while on Sundays the church is packed.  Sin is certainly no less today than it was yesterday. Ergo, people are receiving unworthily and adding sacrilege to their sin to boot.  I guess the culture of entitlement has extended itself into the Holy of Holies as well. 

The annual Christmas celebrations, of course, only compound this scandal as the “Christmas and Easter” Catholics show up en masse to fulfill their two holy days of obligations for the year.  A cousin of mine told me a long time ago that you had to go to Mass at Christmas and Easter to consider yourself Catholic. I am not sure how this particular erroneous teaching started to spread, but spread it did, despite it having absolutely no basis in Catholic moral and sacramental teaching.  (Catholics are required, on pain of mortal sin, to attend Mass every single Sunday along with the OTHER holy days of obligation which do not happen to fall on a Sunday.)

Anyhow, this past Advent I was treated to a special surprise when I attended Mass a few weeks ago with my family.  What To My Wondrous Eyes Should Appear, you ask?!  Check it out:

I could hardly believe my eyes.  After initially reading it and quelling my euphoria, I read it again and reflected on just how brilliant it was.  Factual, Polite, Firm, Simple, Effective.  No doubt the Cumbaya Crowd would have a problem with it, but, really, it’s about bloody time the Church started to get serious about its respect for the Holy Eucharist — otherwise, how could She expect the general public to do so?  And since it would be rather onerous to keep mentioning the obvious at Mass every Sunday, this was a great way of keeping the message right in front of our faces. Oh, yes, I forgot to mention that point. This card (printed on cardboard stock paper) is placed hanging on the back of every pew in full view of  each parishioner.  It actually hangs on that metal hook where the ladies normally hang their purses!  (You’ll notice the little hole at the top of the card where the metal hook is placed through).  Apart from the actual text of the card, the placement of it is the really ingenious thing:  on every hook on every pew in the entire church!

This is a St. Maurice parish initiative.   But I hope it starts to appear in parishes across the English speaking world.  If you think it’s worthwhile, approach your priest and ask him to consider using it. 

Needless to say, this Christmas St. Maurice received the best gift of all:  a message to respect the Holy Eucharist. 

15 thoughts on “Caution: Communion Not for Everyone

  1. Great initiative… just one correction…. this card is similar to St. Mary’s cards that have been in front of each pew for as long as I can remember….

    So now 2 Churches in Ottawa do it… let’s get them in the other 50 or so Churches…

    Blessings
    David MacDonald

  2. Peace of Christ
    I think this is a Companions initiative.
    When Fr Yves was in Rockand almost 10yrs ago we started using the same cards left on the chairs during Christmas and Easter.
    We use them in St Edith Stein.
    God Bless
    Keith Doucette

  3. I almost ignored this when I first saw it thinking it was just another notice or something. Like you, I had to pause for a moment then said a prayer of thanksgiving for giving us priests like those at St. Maurice.

    I hope this goes to the Bishop with a suggestion to encourage other parishes to do the same. And to those who had put this up before, to keep replenishing their supply and occasionally remind the people to read it again.

  4. Great card, but they left out an important section:

    There needs to be a prohibition on teenage (and sometimes older) girls chewing gum at mass. I’ve seen girls work the gum all through mass, go to communion, then come back to their pews still jawing away. While on earth, the Body of Christ was subjected to pain, hunger, torture, and even death….I think it’s fair to ask that His Body not now be subjected to Strawberry-Banana Blast.

  5. This is also the practice at St. Mary’s church on Bayswater. It seems to me that the practice originated with the Companions of the Cross headquartered at St. Mary’s and who also supply priests to St. Maurice’s parish.
    Yes this is indeed a good thing!!! It demonstrates a deep respect for Jesus true and loving present in this most Holy Sacrament.

  6. Well, I’m glad you’re “euphoric,” John; but, it seems to me and perhaps my more “militant” American sensibilities that you are a victim of your native Canadian mildness and civility in this regard. 🙂 The reality is that the problem is far more pressing and has moved WAY beyond the point where it can be solved by “friendly reminders” like this. A warning not to receive if you’re in a state of sin printed ON THE REVERSE SIDE of a hanging card comes nowhere close to dealing with the problem effectively or handling our Christ-demanded obligation to defend the Church from wholesale sacrilege –the fact being that pretty much EVERY Catholic Mass that was offered last Sunday (and every other Sunday) was marred by serious sacrilege, forcing one to wonder how God can accept the Church’s Sacrifice when it is clearly no longer a pure sacrifice, but (on our side of it –communally speaking) a distortion of Covenantal fidelity. In other words, it is not “Communion” at all …not as long as people consistently and overwhelmingly receive it unworthily. Catholicism, after all, is not a “me and Jesus” religion like Evangelical Protestantism, but is a COMMUNIAL faith as well as a personal one. Yet, we undermine and deny this principal at every Mass because we have lost our sense of “the Church” –that is, the Church as the spotless Body of Christ, and of the Thing which MAKES the Church the spotless Body of Christ: the Eucharist. In John 6:56, Christ says “He who eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood REMAINS in me and I in him.” This refers to remaining in the Body of Christ; to active communion in the Church, which was determined by whether or not you were permitted to receive the Eucharist with the rest of the congregation or not –something that serious sin would prevent you from doing. Yet, today, we have adopted a distorted Anglican-style “politeness” about Eucharistic reception, whereby most Catholics go up to express their “unity” with Christ and with the Church, when in reality no such communal unity exists. Thus, at every Mass, the Catholic Church LIES –that is, we lie to ourselves, and we lie to Christ! If God does not chastise us for this, then the Protestants are right in denying the Real Presence. The situation is that grave. And such a grave situation requires, at the bare minimum, an outrageously serious safeguard, WHICH IS BUILT INTO THE LITURGY ITSELF. I refer to something like the ancient Jewish synagogue prayer which excluded believers in Christ from attending synagogue services –the prayer being designed to intentionally offend Jewish Christians, thus driving them away. Another example would be the order of Pope Leo the Great that both Bread and Wine be distributed at Communion –a move designed to expose and drive the Manichaeans out of the Church, since they vowed never to drink Wine, not even in the consecrated Sacrament. If we do not adopt this type of serious, universal and outrageously in-your-face response to the ridiculously rampant abuse of the Lord’s Body and Blood, we (and especially our bishops) are negligent in our commitment to Christ, and have pretty much excommunicated ourselves from any solidarity with the saints in Heaven and of centuries past. That’s how serious the problem is. What is needed is a strong and direct warning by the priest from the altar AT EVERY MASS –a statement or prayer built into the Liturgy itself. For, who warns a child in passive, written form when that child is about to make a life-threatening mistake? If your child was about to fall into a pit, you would cry out and warn them before they fell in. You would not hand them a printed card and be satisfied that this handled your duty as a parent. Well, is the fatherly duty of a priest any less pressing? Likewise, even in the medical profession or in law enforcement, doctors and policemen are bound by law to warn people of their rights and risks –directly and orally –EVERY TIME these professionals discharge their duties. They do not claim the luxury of assuming that citizens and patients already know these things. Rather, the warnings are built into the performance of their duties themselves. Are the responsibilities of a priest any less important than those of a medical doctor or police officer –especially when a priest is responsible for the eternal life of a soul, not just public well-being? Again, if God does not chastise us, then we should not bother to take Him seriously. And, I’m sorry to disagree with your perspective, my friend (for we so seldom disagree on things), but a printed card is no solution, but pathetically poor and half-hearted failure to meet the Church’s real obligation to uphold the treasure of the Real Presence and to maintain true Communion among Catholics with their God. We have OUTRAGEOUSLY fallen shot; and we need serious repentance and reform. If we do not do this, we deserve everything that we get. It’s time to wake up.

    Mark Bonocore

  7. Jesus loves us so very much that He puts Himself in a position to be united with even the blackest of souls by way of His Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Why? Because the sick are in need of a physician. He wants to reach them from the inside as well as the outside. His love and mercy cover all this. He who merited by his passion and death the redemption of all of us for eternity, loves even the worst of sinners and continues to reach out to them no matter what the circumstances. We can all use a good dose of humility. Lead by example and teach gently like our Master did. This is not an arena for militancy , rather we must concentrate on getting the planks out of our own eyes and leave the rest to God’s mercy and love. I adore the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist as much as any of you do, but I will not condemn the Christmas-Easter Catholics for their ignorance.

    Yes the priests need to teach us better about how to have reverence for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, by talking about His presence in the present tense, and not talking about Him as if it is just a history lesson, or worse yet, a philosophy class. His teachings are real and applicable to our daily existence. He is there watching all of us as we pray. All catholics should put their hearts into all the prayed responses and increase their fervour and zeal for rendering due worship to the King of Kings.

    But as for those poor souls who are stuck in the world, let us pray that God’s grace will lift them out of their blindness. We need to attract all catholics together with love for the sake of the unity Christ spoke about before he offered Himself up on the cross. For the sake of unity, be gentle and welcoming to those of us who are not yet as far along on their faith journey.

    • Me resonding to me. OK, the above sounds all airy fairy. Judge not lest we be judged – yes – well and good. But do not support intentionaly blindness or invincible ignorance on the part of card carrying catholics who abuse the gift of membership. Welcome home all Catholics who have been away – but teach them the tenets of the faith to keep them true to their baptism.

  8. While I agree with Mark’s assessment, I think John’s point was more to emphasize that we have to start somewhere, and this little pamphlet is a good beginning – an initial stone dropped into the pond which will hopefully ripple and spread across the entire pond. My local priest encourages the parishioners to go to confession, but few do. As Mark has said, a warning from the Priest from the Altar may work, but it may also backfire. It could drive many people away from our Churches. In addition to a warning, maybe what the priest needs to do is emphasize each and every mass what a great gift God has given us in this sacrament of reconciliation. This sacrament could put the mental health profession our of business if people would only use it.

  9. Chris Beneteau writes:

    >>

    GOOD! 🙂 That’s PRECISELY what is necessary. See Romans 9:6: “For not all who are of Israel are Israel.” And not all who call themselves “Catholic” are Catholic. Our problem (and it is a problem which our money-obsessed bishops are allowing to fester) is that we encourage and reward lute warmness in the Catholic Church; and we do this, as I said, because our prelates are scared to death that if we become too “controversal” (read: honest about the demands of the Gospel) the collection baskets may come up short. But, the Church of Jesus Christ should not operate based on a profit motive, and the Communion of Saints is not a capitalist “numbers game.” Those who receive the Eucharist unworthily are committing a great evil. And when bishops and priest fail to voice a warning about this, they make themselves guilty of the same sin, and they bring the sin upon our entire Communion. We need to wake up and stop being so pathetically “touchy-feely” about the Faith. Go read the Gospels and the Epistles. Christ and the Apostles were not “touchy-feely.” They were often quite harsh with people (when appropriate); and they allowed people to walk away –see John 6:66. If Christ Himself permitted this to happen, are you saying that our priests should not??? we NEED to drive non-Catholics (those who claim to be Catholic but are not)out of the Church. 90% of our present problems result from our failure to do this. While the doors of the Catholic Church must remain open to whomever wishes to dwell there, active membership and participation in the Church must be on CHRIST’S terms (true, orthodox, and Apostolic terms), not just anyone’s terms. If we are not united in Truth, then we are not united at all. So, let’s drive as many people away as possible. Those with a true Catholic Faith will remain and/or return. Stop trying to do the Holy Spirit’s job. It for the Spirit to lead hearts; it is for us to preserve orthodox and be faithful to it.

  10. Note: I tried to quote Chris’ line about how we risk driving people out of the Church, but the system would not let me quote it. Everyone above from the word “Good!” on are my words, not Chris’ I’m saying that we SHOULD drive such people out of the Church. Sorry for the confusion.

  11. It should not be about driving people away, but it should always be about the call to conversion. Yes sacrilege is terrible and we should loath it, but let us be careful not to become angry and judgmental Catholics. Let us pray for our Pastors and Bishops in this Year of the Priest, and let our joy and our reverence be an inspiration to others.

  12. I also noticed the cards in the pews of St. Mary’s when I first attended years ago. Problem is I from the looks of it do not beleieve many people first of all,,,look at them, and two, adhere to them.

    It is the duty of those in Authority to remind people
    of the neccessity of receiving The Most Holy Eucharist under the conditions specified by The Catholic Church’s Catechism.
    If the people have family or firiends sho do not remind them of this as well, before they may receive HIM unworthily, they too are in grave error
    and have committed the sin of ommission on the most important of matters.

    Unfortunately the ol’ people pleasing, or passive
    approach of “we don’t want to “drive” them away, and so on and so on drivel…again” is the norm
    amongst so many who themselves are out of Communion with what the Catholic Church teaches and have decided they will tell people it is “O,K’ with Jesus ’cause He loves us all. This is a grave lie (NOT that He loves us), but to receive Him without proper respect and adherence to what is said in the Catechism, and reduces WHOM they think they can
    speak for.

    If one does not have the proper reverance and purity of heart to receive Jesus they are not in communion with all of the Body. As was said, We are a “Body”. That means we do not sin in a vacuum, and yes I do not go up to every person and look around to see who “may or may not be”,what I think is out of order (that is, and can be presumption, assumption and leads to judging) AND
    that is not my job, but it must be make VERY
    clear by those in Authority, and yes WHY not at every Mass.

    People who are receiving Jesus while they are co-habiting praciticing addictions, before they receive Him, have committed mortal sins of the body , i.e. using contraception and have been involved with allowing abortion or having one and have not properly seen a Priest and had Good Confession, and really taken the time to do a good moral inventory, thena Good Confession to make sure they are pure of heart, mind, and body
    should not receive The Pure Undefiled Body of Christ.

    Unfortuantely the Charasmatic movement brought problems of its own, and everybody swung the other way treating God as some “casual guy”.

    Yes , Jesus is our One True Freind He says He Is,
    but that type of Friend deserves way more than secualr “friends”, because of Who He Is , (part of The Blessed Holy Trinity).

    One can tell how much they love Jesus by how often and how important the Sacrament of Reconcilliation is to them. It is pride that makes people think they do not “need” to frequent Confession…nothing less, and that is for EVERYBODY. Those who think they do not need to go, maybe or often in error because they somehow think they are “better” then others. That is pride in itslef. A healthy Church will have frequent and many opportunities for Confession.
    One last thing …Finally at St. Mary’s the Pastor made up another card (a blue one, I believe) which seem to, at tleast the last time I looked,
    dissapeared, that spoke about Sacred Silence in the Church before and after Mass (The Church Hall, or outside is supposed to be for fellowship, and chatter and hugs, etc), and also the importance of attending Mass on time, unless it
    cannot be avoided for some reason not of ones own making, as well I wish He had mentioned the importance of STAYING till the end, NOT right after one receives Communion and rushes out to who knows where, in their mind is more important.

    I remember Father Stan Fortuna’s anger about this. He said He felt like locking the Church doors because people do this so often.

    The card alsoo addressed what is considered proper attire and dress, that one should respect when being present during Holy Mass. ( That also, can be found in Catholic literature,,,IF ONE CARES…That is). It states, amongst other things, it is not to be provocative with our underwear showing , or tight to be provocative or showing our body and drawing attention to it, (which is also disrespectful of God, I might add), nor overly showy, so that we
    idolize our attire more than God. We are called to be modest, and respectful. We are not going to a movie, camp the beach or a hockey game (thus sweat suits or not very respectful).

    We also should not eat, drink( I used to clean up God’s Home after Mass and it was sickening what I found). We should be as quiet as possible and NOT be running all over the Church as if we were at a party hugging and speaking with whomever,
    ignoring, Why, and for Whom we are there for in the first place, we should as a body of people cease from making noise for just an hour or so, because that enables Gods Children to hear His Most Holy Word. Not to mention it is respectful.

    What has happened is those in Authority have allowed this , unfortunately and I think they mean well or are lost as to how and when to speak more about this, and it is, to the detriment of some,who actually revere Christ enough and put HIM first, that they with good reason, feel offended when these things are not even respected. When you love someone you feel awful if they (Christ in this case is treated with such indifference or casually.

    THAT- is not being judgemental( but hey that is the catch word is it not for those who are traditional and brought up right to respect and rever just WHOSE HOME they are priveledged to be in and yes welcomed.

    Being welcomed, in a Church does not mean one comes in and just does what one wants.Hopefully, It might result in that knowing that they are welcomed, one has grattitude for being welcomed and hopefully out of respect is courteous and learns what is appropriate behaviour in the prescence of THEIR KING and Saviour, as well as those around them.

    One day while I was prostrated in front of
    The Most Blessed Sacrament during my Holy Hour,
    (I say “my” because it was the hour I signed up for) a loud banging overly loud banging was present in the Church and this when on and on,)
    Finally I got up and went to the back to where it was originating from a child with her mother. The mother was just allowing the child to kick and create loud noise wherever the child wished. I asked her if she could stop her child because it is a time of Silent Adoration ( I did not go into anything else…such as it is the rule that during Silent Adoration ,silence, pure silence…not even quiet prayers said aloud,… is the matter of the day).

    She replied without even missing a beat in a matter of indifference that was scary . The Pastor was probably in her understanding o.k. with it.

    I guess things have changed A LOT, cause when I grew up courtesy and respect for Jesus and others was all important. We had not trouble following that our partents told us to eat and drink at least an hour before, and go to Confession if we have been disrespectful and or lied, been selfish etc.
    as wll as stay put and be quiet during Mass and when were old enough to go the bathroom BEFORE we wewnt to Mass. It is not, I repeat NOT ROMPER ROOM …

    It is Cavalry

    One shows love by having boundaries and respect
    is one of them First for God then others. If we really wat to be good lovers we put God first and pay attention to Him and since He is God we should not treat Him so casually.

    I love You Lord and I am sorry when You are not recagnized as being Enough and All and Deserving of all we have for we are NOTHING and WRETCHED sself-centered peole who need to focus ON YOU and YOU alone before anything else.
    Your little girl…Frances
    who needs You SO Much and loves and adores only YOU and of course I love You too Blessed Mother and Virgin Mother Mary, St. Joseph, and ALL The Saints and Angels ,You Dear Father Son and Holy Ghost have given us in Your Love and
    Church to help us on Your Way to You In Eternity.

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