Saturday, August 29, 2009

Why reception of Catholic Sacraments is a public issue

Who cares if pro-abortion politicians receive communion, or get Catholic burial masses, or take part in the general sacramental life of the Church? Is it any of our business? Isn't it between them and God?

To say such things is to misunderstand the nature of salvation. It isn't a private matter at all, but a communal salvation. To "go to heaven" (an unfortunate turn of phrase) is to become fully a part of the mystical body of Christ, and what is more unified than to be part of the same body? This is the language Scripture uses to describe marriage, that the two become one flesh. To be one body is to be really unified, and to be unified in a mystical body is to be even more unified.

To be a part of the Church is not, therefore, some private arrangement between me and God, but is a public and real relationship between me, God, and the Church. I have responsibilities and duties to all three. Therefore, if I don't fulfill those duties, the Church has the right and even the duty to make it clear. To do less is to damage me and the Church.

In other words, participation in the sacraments is not a right, but is a privilege granted to me, and implicit in this privilege is the approval of the Church on my actions. If I am unrepentant (that's important, that I be unrepentant) then it needs to be clear, for my sake and for the good of the Church, that I am _not_ in union with the mystical Body of Christ.

There isn't anything private, except perhaps hell.

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