Detroit Archbishop tries to save souls; Mainstream media not happy.

Since when do outlets like Slate, Huffington Post, CNN, Esquire, and USA Today care about who receives Holy Communion? They rarely, if ever, concern themselves with the inner-workings of Jewish or Muslim worship services. Well, since Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron said Catholics who support redefining marriage should not receive Holy Communion, a number of secular news outlets have seen to it to let their readers know just how unpopular some Catholics think his decision is.

Here’s what Archbishop Vigneron said that’s got everybody up in arms:

For a Catholic to receive holy Communion and still deny the revelation Christ entrusted to the church is to try to say two contradictory things at once: ‘I believe the church offers the saving truth of Jesus, and I reject what the church teaches.’ In effect, they would contradict themselves. This sort of behavior would result in publicly renouncing one’s integrity and logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury.

Detroit Archbishop

Archbishop Allen Vigneron

Some Catholics respond to a situation like this by arguing Holy Communion should not be used as a political weapon. If a politician who promotes principles antithetical to Church teaching presents themselves for Communion, they should not be denied, because ultimately it is God who will decide if that politicians’ actions are right or wrong. Not the priest.

This argument is wrong on a number of fronts. Archbishop Vigneron oversees the Archdiocese of Detroit, home to 1.3 million Catholics. That’s 1.3 million souls he is responsible for getting into heaven. It’s a responsibility I would not want to have at this point in my life. As the Book of James reminds us, “not many of you should become teachers… for you will be judged more strictly.”

As such, Archbishop Vigneron is responsible for doing everything he can to make sure those 1.3 million Catholics are not in danger of losing their souls to eternal damnation. He will be judged more strictly for his actions than the rest of us. Therefore, he is responsible for making sure, among other things, that the deposit of faith is upheld. He is also responsible for making sure those 1.3 million Catholics are able to go to confession on a regular basis, that they are able to attend Mass as frequently as possible, and that they are in a state of grace while attending Mass so they can worthily receive Holy Communion, lest they further compound their sins and offend God even more.

Outlets like Esquire and the Huffington Post are trying to turn this into a political issue by arguing Catholics can support redefining marriage if their conscience tells them, and that this is nothing more than a conservative Archbishop trying to punish liberal Catholics.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

As Ed Peters – a professor of Canon Law at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and legal adviser to the Vatican – has pointed out on his blog over the past several weeks, Canon Law 915 explicitly states “Those…who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

There is no wiggle room here. That is what the Church teaches. It is not a conservative issue. It is not a liberal issue. It is the official teaching of the Catholic Church. Period.

Be that as it may, the Detroit Free Press made Peters seem like he was but one of a handful of supporters of Archbishop Vigneron’s statement. The Free Press quotes Fr. Thomas Reese of Georgetown University as saying “Most American bishops do not favor denying either politicians or voters Communion because of their positions on controversial issues.” Fr. Reese added that only about “30 or so bishops have said that pro-choice or pro-gay-marriage Catholics should not present themselves for Communion.”

Dr Ed Peters

Dr. Edward Peters

Again, by citing Fr. Reese, the Free Press is attempting to undermine Archbishop Vigneron and Peters’ arguments. But as Peters points out on his blog, Fr. Reese’s statement is misleading: “Reese is commenting on how bishops act whereas I am commenting on how canon law expects bishops and others to act. Reese’s claim about bishops’ (in)action, even if true, would not make my views (actually, the 1983 Code’s views, resting on settled Church teaching) wrong, it would simply mark them as ignored.”

Interestingly enough, CNN also makes it seem like Peters – who Esquire calls a “nuisance” and claims is merely relying on his own opinions and not Canon Law – is on the wrong side of history. At the end of the CNN article, readers are conveniently reminded that “a majority of Catholics, according to polling, disagree with [Peters’] view of Communion.” To which I would respond, thank God we don’t decide what is right and wrong in the Catholic Church based on polling data.

In an effort to make Peters and Archbishop Vigneron appear even more off base, Slate interviewed the reliably left-leaning Michael Sean Winters. “The principal threat to our Catholic teaching about traditional marriage is not gay marriage,” Winters argued. “The principal threat [to our Catholic teaching about traditional marriage] is divorce. “

He’s got a point about divorce, but he’s blinded by ideology if he thinks redefining marriage won’t be disastrous for the Catholic Church.

At the end of the day, Peters simply pointed out what the Church teaches about Holy Communion. And Archbishop Vigneron is simply echoing that teaching by reminding us that, as a Catholic, you cannot say “two contradictory things at once.” One being that you believe in Jesus Christ, and two being that you believe homosexual unions are part of His plan

The Church is in the business of saving souls. It alone, and not the media, should decide who is worthy to receive Holy Communion. It is not a political issue to deny Holy Communion to someone who does not uphold Church teaching in their daily lives. It is about the eternal destination of that person’s soul. I couldn’t think a better expression of love than concerning yourself with where someone will spend eternity. As atheist Penn Jillette once asked, how much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them how to attain it?


Categories:Marriage Media

  • Rosario

    I agree with Cheri; well said. God bless you.

    • Thomas Edwardson

      I too!

  • Bryan Mantis

    As a Catholic i have to disagree with the Archbishop….Canon law was created by man not God, Jesus loved sinners, and to deny sinners the body of Christ is to deny them Jesus. you can’t save sinner by denying him his savior. a person’s beliefs are between him and God, not the archbishop. He has no right to deny anyone communion. This is the teaching of God. Period. my priest would give anyone who came up for communion the body of Christ, even if they weren’t Catholic. he always said that it was between the other person and God. as long as they do it out of respect, its fine. Its sad the people can not understand the foundation of our religion, LOVE and FORGIVENESS. there are a lot worse sins then supporting gay marriage. along this line of thinking we should deny prison inmates communion, in fact we should deny every Catholic communion because we all sin. People forget that the Church is Run by man not God God never told us to deny people the body of Christ nor does the bible.

    • Carmela

      I’m sorry, but i have to disagree with this statement. Although the canon law was created by men, they are truly driven by the Holy Spirit, the same way the Bible and the Cathechism were.
      Second, denying communion doesnt mean not forgiving that person. Jesus never forces us to come to Him, but He always invites. It is a response. The person (or sinner)’s response is to deny his own will and follow Jesus. It’s the hardest thing! But it must be done. Plus, Jesus always said things that weren’t popular opinion, and He always made the high priests in His time angry. (Um, who arrested Him and condemned Him to the cross, again? )

      Third, your priest does that? I’m sorry, but that’s wrong. How can one receive Jesus in the Eucharist without believing his true presence in it? That piece of bread and wine turns into the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. This is serious stuff that must never be taken for granted. To truly believe in Christ in the Eucharist is to also believe in the Church He Himself built! Taking the Eucharist not in a state of grace is not only unacceptable, but is dangerous for the soul. This is why the grace received in the sacrament of Confession is important.

      The church is not denying communion as an act of hate, but rather, an act of Love and respect for our dear Lord. Please, look into the issue further.

    • Mary

      1Corinthians 11:29
      For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.
      Pray for your priest who has been ill trained in the duties of a Roman Catholic priest.

    • Antonio A. Badilla

      “He has no right to deny anyone communion. This is the teaching of God. Period. my priest would give anyone who came up for communion the body of Christ, even if they weren’t Catholic” Wow! This is the teaching of God? Says who? The Scriptures are clear, “He who eats my body and drinks my blood unworthily eats and drinks his own condemnation.” And if your priest “knowingly” gives Holy Communion even to non-Catholics, he is seriously wrong according to Church teaching, not even according to you or me. Who on earth taught you the Catholic faith?

  • Mag

    Marriage is a sacrament instituted by Christ,. A sacrament is an out ward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. It is the man and woman who enter into a covenant between themselves and Christ. Not a man and a man or a woman and a woman. This is what we believe as Catholics, or should I say what we should believe. There is no gray area, it is black and white! You are not a practicing Catholic if you do not believe this.

    • Bryan Mantis

      Wow I didn’t know god gave you the right to decide who a practicing Catholic is….just because we don’t agree with another person does not give us the right to deny them Jesus

      • Stephen

        To be a “practicing Catholic” is not a matter of subjective opinion when intrinsic evil is involved. A public denial of doctrinal truth does indeed result in an objective result … one is not in communion with the Church and must not receive the Eucharist.

      • Paul Sadek

        Bryan, this goes much deeper than “because we don’t agree with another person”; it is “because we don’t agree with the Church on what the truth is.” And that being said, it is, in essence, a denial that the Church is what it claims to be. And THAT denial, my friend, is what causes a person to cease to be a “practicing Catholic” and become a “Catholic in name only.”

  • Mag

    Right on Cheri! Couldn’t have said it better! The Church with the authority of Christ makes it own rules there is no other way around it! God help all of us!

    • Bryan Mantis

      Wow I didn’t know god gave you the right to decide who a practicing Catholic is….just because we don’t agree with another person does not give us the right to deny them Jesus

  • http://CATHOLICVOTE.ORG Bill Pearson

    Marriage is between one man and one woman anything else is wrong. God Bless Archbishop Vigneron.

  • Cheri

    I’m so sick of the Licentious Liberal Loonies lipping off about EVERYTHING as if they know what’s best for the world and for all people in general. Their “educated” sense of intelligence and intellectual snobbery says nothing about their wisdom – or lack thereof. They have an overblown sense of their own intelligence and their snooty noses are stuck so high up in the air that they can’t see where they’re going – which is nowhere but Hell. They seem to think that anyone who believes or does things differently than they would is completely beneath them and is utterly contemptible. Well, I find them in contempt. And it really ticks me off that many who aren’t even Catholic and know nothing about the matter – or worse, are nominal Catholics who seem to think that they’re an authority on the Church just because they “belong” to it – think that they can call the shots on something like… the Sacraments, for crying out loud! That’s like an illegal immigrant thinking that they have the right to march on Washington when they’re not even a citizen of this country! Oh… oops. I guess the Liberals wouldn’t get that analogy, would they? At any rate, who does the Liberal Media think they are?? They have no say – and no right – to tell the Church what to do with Her own policies and doctrines. Those things lie within the realm of the Magisterium. The Liberal Loons have no say in the matter!

    But to speak to the Church’s understanding of “Communion,” think of the very word. The reason that Archbishop Vigneron thinks it is wrong for so-called Catholics who believe in gay marriages to receive Communion is the same reason that it is not permitted for non-Catholic Christians to receive: simply put, they AREN’T in “communion” with the Church’s teachings. To receive Communion, one has to BE in communion with the Church. One has to live and act on what one professes to believe. Now, when it comes to sin, we are all sinners, and we all sin. But there’s a difference between sinning in the heat of the moment and then repenting, and, on the other hand, sinning without repenting and instead, trying to rationalize away the sin by claiming it’s not a sin at all and making a big fuss in the hope that all the clamoring and whining will make the Church change her tune. Not a chance! Church doctrine is not decided by the human vote. I think it is especially hard for Americans to understand, perhaps, that the Catholic Church is NOT a democracy. It is a Theocracy. The guidelines and rules that the Church’s Magisterium hands down are those that were given it by Jesus Himself. So to insist that sin is not sinful, and to try to change immorality into something that is morally acceptable is being untrue to one’s faith and in fact, living a lie. It is also to mislead and misguide others into sinfulness, which is to destroy the Church from within. It is to cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face. Better if a millstone be wrapped around that person’s neck and he be thrown into the sea than that he should lead his brother into sin. So… the Liberal Media outlets can complain all they want, but they have absolutely no say in Church policy. That’s not for them to decide. It’s none of their business, frankly.



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