Receiving Communion with Fear of the Lord

The faithful Catholic should go to Confession at least once a month, if not weekly. Even after a good Confession, the humble Catholic should receive Communion with the fear of the Lord. The Church has the authority to decide the discipline of Communion. The only unchangeable doctrine on who may receive is that the person must be baptized and in the state of grace. But how many of those persons ranting against the divorced and remarried actually go to Confession frequently and receive Communion in the fear of the Lord.

Yes, I mean to say fear Him. The faithful Catholic should go to Confession and Communion, and “fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.” (Mt 10:28). “For whoever eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks a sentence against himself….” (1 Cor 11:29). It is utter hypocrisy to cry out against the divorced and remarried who receive Communion, while receiving unworthily yourself.

Very many Catholics today receive the most holy Eucharist, unworthily, because they are guilty of objective mortal sins, and are unrepentant. It is absolutely absurd to put all the focus on the divorced and remarried, while saying nothing about all the other grave sins committed by Communion receiving Catholics. The vast majority of Mass-going Communion-receiving Catholics today are guilty of one or more objective mortal sins (which may or may not also be actual mortal sin). And they receive every Sunday. And they never go to Confession.

The most the Church can do, if She wishes to be as lenient and permissive as possible, for persons guilty of mortal sin, is to permit reception, after an act of perfect contrition, with Confession at one’s next opportunity.

The problem is that many Catholics are guilty of mortal sins, and they don’t know or accept that these acts are sins at all, and so they never make an act of contrition. They also never go to Confession. And I suspect that many of those who do go to Confession, do not confess the mortal sins they are committing. They do not confess all their grave sexual sins. They do not confess their sins of contraception. They do not confess the grave sin of rejecting definitive Church teachings, and of replacing these doctrines with their own opinions and the prevailing opinions in sinful secular society. They do not confess their rejection of papal authority by the way that they treat Pope Francis, and their rejection of the Magisterium by the way that they exalt their own understanding above Church teaching.

Neither new rules on who may receive, nor keeping the status quo will solve this problem: millions of unworthy receptions of Communion every Sunday. What can be done? I place my hopes in the plan of God for the pontificates of Pope Francis and of his conservative successor. I place my hopes in the Warning, Consolation, and Miracle, as well as in the grace and providence of God.

But it will be many years before all this controversy is settled, and the Church clears away the unrepentant sinners and teachers of heresy. We will all have to walk a dark path, in which our faith is tested, until then. How I wish the Angelic Shepherd, Pope Raphael, were already in office.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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2 Responses to Receiving Communion with Fear of the Lord

  1. Maria says:

    Ron, i agree with you when you say that today many catholics who receive communion don’t go to confession regularly, commit several sexual sins and are unrepentant but usually this remains hidden to faithful who attend Mass, only God knows their real spiritual situation but a divorced and remarried who receives communion is known by the people of the parish, doesn’t it risk to be a cause of scandal?

    • Ron Conte says:

      So should we say to the divorced and remarried: “Ah ha! Our grave sins are hidden from public view, so we may receive! Yours are known, so you may not receive!” ??? It is never the standard for reception of Communion that grave sins permit reception as long as they are hidden. Recall Jesus’ rebuke of the Pharisees as whitewashed tombs. Also, many of these grave sins are public, such as persons who openly speak in favor of gay marriage, who openly reject Church teaching on various subjects, and teachers who publicly teach heresy. These persons receive Communion, and few object.

      My preference for discipline is that everyone go to Confession at least once every 3 to 4 months, and no one receive, ordinarily, after objective mortal sin, without prior Confession. We cannot single out the divorced and remarried, as if they are the only sinners in the Church.

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