This controversy would not have occured had the Archbishop of Moncton followed Church norms as he is supposed to. The Vatican issued an instruction (Redemptionis Sacramentum) in 2004 in an attempt to correct various liturgical abuses, including the giving of communion to non-Catholics.Paragraph 84 states: “when Holy Mass is celebrated for a large crowd, […] care should be taken lest out of ignorance non-Catholics or even non-Christians come forward for Holy Communion, without taking into account the Church’s Magisterium in matters pertaining to doctrine and discipline. It is the DUTY OF PASTORS at an opportune moment to inform those present of the authenticity and the discipline that are strictly to be observed. As for Fr. Bourgeois’ comment that communion may be given to non-Catholics at major occasions, he is utterly wrong: canon 844 §4 states that other Christians may receive Communion “only if the danger of death is present or some other grave necessity urges it, provided that these people manifest Catholic faith in respect to the Eucharist”, in other words, that they recognize it as the body, soul and divinity of our Lord, Jesus-Christ.
The lay association, Catholics United to Peter, Moncton Chapter, has urged the archbishop in the past to ensure that this and other Church norms be followed by diocesan clergy, all to no avail. Communion continues to be given indiscriminately to whoever comes forward: non-Catholics, remarried divorcees, active homosexuals, those who long ago abandoned the faith, politicians openly in favour of abortion, etc. “The Lord [may] provide” claims Fr. Bourgeois, but He is certainly not amused for the embarassment caused to his Church.
If there ever was a scandal, it is Catholic clergy choosing not to follow Church norms. Not Mr. Harper who received the host directly from the hands of Mgr. Richard who “didn’t see anything wrong with it because he was busy doing something else (?).
James Ouellet, Chair
Catholics United to Peter, Moncton Chapter
The problem here is simply that the bishops and priests are not following the Church’s canon law. It’s as simple as that. And they are not following it because their underlying faith in the Jesus and the Eucharist is weak.