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Blessed Be The Rigid

October 7, 2021 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

Another plane ride, another papal interview. This was on the return flight from Hungary and Slovakia and it was a bumpy one for the Church.
The Pope gave: He affirmed that the abominable crime and sin of abortion is “murder.” Legal or not, procured abortion is always the unjust taking of an innocent human life. Whether human life is in the womb or out is irrelevant. The taking of a human life is murder and disobedience to God who has decreed, “Thou shall not kill.” Capital punishment is not murder, but that’s a discussion for another time and place.
“It’s a human life, period. This human life must be respected. This principle is so clear. And to those who can’t understand it I would ask two questions: Is it right, is it fair, to kill a human life to solve a problem? Scientifically it is a human life. Second question: Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem? I said this publicly…when I did, I said it to COPE, I have wanted to repeat it. And period.”
So far, so good. The Pope forcefully reaffirmed the Commandment, in accord with the duties of his sacred office as conferred by Christ, to “strengthen the brethren” in our holy Catholic faith.
But the Pope also took away.
In the context of answering a question about enforcing canon 915, although the canon was not specifically referenced, the Pope says he has never denied anyone Communion. Canon 915 requires Holy Communion be withheld from public sinners. Joe Biden is a public sinner. According to Catholic teaching, Communion should be withheld from Joe Biden. This is not happening. Questions are justified.
The Pope responded that he has never denied anyone Communion. To explain his comment, however, the Pope told the story of offering holy Mass in a nursing home.
“Simply, the only time I had a funny thing happen was when I went to celebrate Mass in a nursing home. And we were in the living room and I said: ‘Whoever wants Communion, raise your hand.’ And everybody, they were elderly, raised their hands. And I gave Communion to one lady, and [afterward] she took my hand and she said, ‘Thank you, Father, thank you, I’m Jewish.’ She took my hand. . . . The only strange thing. But the lady told me afterward.”
The lady told him afterward. That is the point some of the U.S. bishops are making in regard to Joe Biden. Biden is not the Jewish woman in the nursing home, unknown by the priest, who raises her hand when asked if she wants Communion. Such a method is not in the rubrics for Mass and for a very good reason. A lot of people want Communion, but it should only be given to those who present themselves. Handicapped or feeble elderly in wheelchairs need other arrangements, of course, but these can be taken care of prior to the Mass.
I gave “first Communion” to a bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding. She obediently followed the other bridesmaids out of the pew and up the aisle at Communion time and also presented herself along with them and I gave her Communion. I didn’t know she wasn’t Catholic until the non-Catholic groom’s side of the family let out a collective gasp. But the point is, I didn’t know. And the Pope also did not know the Jewish lady who raised her hand wasn’t Catholic.
Irrelevant. The bishops know Joe Biden is a public sinner. He is a sinner because he aggressively supports, funds, and promotes the killing of children. His sin is public because he is the president.
The U.S. bishops are not frivolously casting stones here. And they are not happy about anyone being outside of Communion in the Church. No one is. But the Lord made clear that scandal is a sin in which we involve ourselves and for which we incur guilt ourselves, in which we forsake both the public sinner and the other members of the Church.
There is no greater or more scandalous involvement in public sin than to give the public sinner the Body of the Lord at holy Mass. Every Mass is a public event at which every reception of Communion is a public act.
Every time Joe Biden receives Communion his guilt increases, the guilt on the part of bishops who support this sacrilege increases, and the priests who give Communion to Biden become even more guilty through compounding the scandal in which they are entangled.
The Pope doesn’t have the luxury of picking and choosing as to which among the Commandments he will teach and uphold. The Lord taught that not a jot or a tittle of the law will change until it all comes true. The Pope also took away when he libeled those who continue to teach integrally the dogmatic truths which flow from the Commandments.
The Pope affirmed that the bishop is also pastor of the excommunicated. And the Church is the expert on what is pastoral, as expressed in Canon 915: The pastoral thing to do in the case of the unrepentant public sinner is to call him back to repentance by withholding the Eucharist. In Biden’s case Communion does not save but rather condemns, until he returns to his senses and repents. The Church fails to be pastoral when she loses sight of the highest law of salvation in the matter of each soul.
On September 18, the Pope addressed the people of Rome in regard to the upcoming synod and in his comments attacked as sinful what he called “rigidity” and “clericalism.” He expanded on this idea by saying that such unbending culpability is found in bishops and priests who “tend to see themselves as teachers and everyone else is expected to follow,” according to Gerard O’Connell in an America magazine account of the event.
“There is much resistance to overcome the image of a church rigidly divided between leaders and subordinates, between those who teach and those who have to learn, forgetting that God likes to overturn positions.”
The Lord commanded the twelve apostles: “Go, and teach all nations.” Is the Pope calling Jesus rigid? Will the Lord now contradict Himself and “overturn” the positions He conferred upon the apostles as teachers? How can He be truth and contradict Himself? How can it be a sin against the patience of God to place salvation of souls first?
The Pope continued: “…there can be a rigid way of considering things, that can mortify the patience of God…the God who looks far, the God who has no haste. Rigidity [in the Church] is a sin against the patience of God.” That last sentence wasn’t in his written comments, as noted by O’Connell.
The patience of God is found in accompanying the sinner who has yet to return to full Communion by explaining things to them, teaching them, by the priest or bishop who has the responsibility for such in the first place, only in necessity by the lay faithful. Lying to the public sinner by giving him or her Communion is a rigidity of confirming and compounding damnation.
If it is rigid to recognize that the Lord appointed some teachers, such as the Pope and the apostles, the first bishops, and continues to command that their successors, when they have recovered, must “strengthen their brothers” who have weakened in or lost their faith altogether, then I say: “Blessed be the rigid.”
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.
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