by John Smeaton
The agents of revolution know how best to attack God’s laws, infallibly taught by the Catholic Church. They attack Christ and his real presence in the Eucharist. During the English Reformation, for example, when the Church in England broke away from the authority of the Church, the Visitation Articles of Archbishop Edmund Grindal of 1571, in its enforcement of anti-Catholic policies, declared:
“Ye shall not deliver the Communion-bread unto the people into their mouths, but into their hands; nor shall use at the ministration of the Communion any gestures, rites not appointed by the Book of Common Prayer, as crossing or breathing over the sacramental bread and wine, nor any showing or lifting up of the same to the people, to be by them worshipped and adored, nor any such like”.
According to St Edmund Campion’s biographer, Richard Simpson, such repressive actions by the Protestant establishment caused St Edmund’s old friend, Bishop Cheney, the bishop of Gloucester, to waver in his adherence to the truth of the Catholic Church. This prompted the saint to write to Bishop Cheney a famous letter, on All Saints Day, 1571, in which he said:
“You have (as they say) one foot in the grave; you must be taken from this life, perhaps at once, certainly very soon, to stand before that tribunal, where you will hear, ‘Give an account of thy stewardship’; and unless while you are on the way you make it up quickly and exactly with the adversary of sin, it shall be required to the last penny, and you shall be driven miserably from the land of the living by Him whom you will never be able to pay.”
450 years later, in 2021, the agents of revolution continue to attack God’s laws, infallibly taught by the Catholic Church, by attacking Christ in the Eucharist – and today’s bishops continue to waver in performing their duty publicly to defend the body of Christ and Catholic teaching that “whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the Chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord”.
A headline in the New York Times last week, which accurately represents the current situation, reads: “Catholic bishops avoid confrontation with Biden over Communion”. The newspaper was reporting on a new document from the US Catholic Bishops Conference (USCCB), approved by the USCCB by a vote of 222 – 8, entitled “The mystery of the Eucharist in the life of the Church”.
President Biden’s administration is described by pro-life leaders in the United States as “the most pro-abortion ever”. The Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life political campaigning group, says:
“Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and their pro-abortion allies in Washington are determined to use the White House to force taxpayer funding of abortion at-home and abroad, coerce pro-life medical personnel to participate in abortions, and to expand brutal and painful late-term abortion on demand.”
The New York Times story begins:
“The Roman Catholic bishops of the United States backed away from a direct conflict with President Biden on Wednesday, approving a new document on the sacrament of the eucharist that does not mention the president or any politicians by name.
“At issue was the question of which Catholics, under which circumstances, are properly able to receive communion, one of the most sacred rites within Christianity. For some conservative Catholics, the real question was more pointed: Should Catholic politicians who publicly support and advance abortion rights be denied the sacrament?”
Last month, after meeting Pope Francis (29 October), President Biden was asked “Did the issue of abortion come up at all?” Biden responded, “No, it didn’t. We just talked about the fact that he was happy I was a good Catholic and keep receiving Communion.”
When asked to confirm the president’s remarks, Matteo Bruni, the Vatican spokesman, reportedly said: “It was a private conversation”.
George Weigel, a Catholic Conservative American author, has defended the US bishops’ new document. Weigel refers to a section which mentions abortion, euthanasia and other evils and which states, “We all have a responsibility not to remain indifferent but to combat everything in human society that is in conflict with the life and dignity of the human person”. The bishops’ document “The mystery of the Eucharist in the life of the Church” continues:
“We look forward to the day when all such evils will be eliminated, when the Kingdom of God is established in its fullness.”
Weigel argues that, through their “finely crafted statement” the US bishops “have now recommitted themselves to the hard work of bringing wayward Catholic public officials to the truth and they should be supported in those efforts by the people of the Church”.
Unintentionally, George Weigel has, I believe, got to the heart of the problem. The US bishops have produced a “finely crafted statement” when powerful denunciations were in order.
We are living in the most murderous age in the history of humanity. More human beings have been murdered by abortion, at least two billion in the past 30 years alone, than all those killed in all the wars in recorded human history – and President Biden, by virtue of his presidency of the most powerful national on earth, is the world’s leading advocate of this murder. He and his advisers have cynically used Christ in the Holy Eucharist to advance their pro-abortion political agenda and, in response, the US bishops have issued a statement which “looks forward to the day when all such evils will be eliminated” but names no names and places no responsibility.
Perhaps, on the other hand, it’s not surprising that the US bishops have failed to uphold the honour of Christ in the Holy Eucharist with appropriate vigour. Over the past two years, the anti-Catholic policy of enforcing Communion in the hand during the English Reformation has been unlawfully implemented throughout the entire world by Catholic prelates, including in the US, leading inevitably to desecrations of the Holy Eucharist which, just like the number of abortions worldwide, are too many to be counted.
The sacrilegious communions of President Biden and other pro-abortion politicians, on which the US bishops are keeping a diplomatic silence in their document published last week, reflect the “loss of reverence for the august sacrament of the altar” which was foreseen, ironically, by Pope Paul VI in Memoriale Domini (1969). This is the self-same document which, contradictorily and tragically, provides for certain conditions under which communion in the hand may be permitted leading to the very situation – loss of reverence, profanation and adulterating the true doctrine – the realisation of which Pope Paul VI knew he was risking.
Paul VI’s Instruction states:
“This method of distributing Holy Communion [on the tongue] must be retained, taking the present situation of the Church in the entire world into account, not merely because it has many centuries of tradition behind it but especially because it expresses the faithful’s reverence for the Eucharist … A change in a matter of such moment, based on a most ancient venerable tradition, does not merely affect discipline. It carries certain dangers with it which may arise from the new manner of administering Holy Communion: the danger of a loss of reverence for the august sacrament of the altar, of profanation, of adulterating the true doctrine.”