What justifies withholding the Eucharist? | Catholic Culture

Appearing with Raymond Arroyo on his World Over broadcast last night, we talked about the US bishops’ debate on the proposed “Eucharistic coherence” document. Then, switching gears, he asked for my thoughts on some other issues—including the Chicago archdiocesan policy that requires Catholics to wear a mask in church if they cannot furnish proof of vaccination. I managed an answer, but this morning I woke up with a better idea. The response that I should have given would have run something like this: “Look, just a minute ago we were talking about the bishops’ debate, in which we heard some bishops saying that it would be a terrible thing to create the impression that some people aren’t welcome in church. Isn’t that the impression that the Chicago archdiocesan policy creates? And notice that in Chicago, the archdiocese is imposing restrictions that the government doesn’t impose. On what basis? Is the archdiocese setting itself up as a public-health authority? “But let’s take this question a bit further, and look at how the Church in general responded to the Covid epidemic. Again, we’ve been hearing bishops tell us that it would be wrong to deny the Eucharist to anyone. But last year, the bishops denied the Eucharist to everyone! “Oh, but you might say that the bishops had an important reason for shutting down the churches and shutting off access to the sacraments. They were trying to keep everyone healthy. “OK. Let’s leave aside the scientific arguments, and the question of whether these extreme measures were necessary. The point of the lockdown was to keep people healthy. But the point of “Eucharistic coherence”—the point of withholding the Eucharist from people in a manifest state of grave sin—is to keep people spiritually healthy. And isn’t that the first duty of the Church’s pastors?

What justifies withholding the Eucharist? | Catholic Culture

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