USA Priest: Canon 915 Mandatory & Failure to Apply, Mortally Sinfuleditor
To read the source of the following article, click on the image. All emphases in the original.
A Father Vincent Fitzpatrick, of whom I am totally unfamiliar, has penned a piece for the American Life League that castigates all that great swath of bishops in this country who, for more than 40 years, have refused to enforce Canon 915 by denying the Blessed Sacrament to sinful pro-abort politicians. According to Fr. Fitzpatrick, enforcement of Canon 915 is not just a duty, it is not an option, it is so mandatory that failing to do so is gravely sinful.
Fr. Fitzpatrick (I add emphasis): Here is the text of Canon 915: “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
Several American bishops have made statements to the effect that a bishop must exercise “discretion” regarding whether to “impose the penalty” of denial of Communion. Among them: Chaput, Dolan, O’Malley, and Wuerl.
All bishops who refuse to “impose the penalty” are participating in a lie. Namely, that denial of Communion is a penalty.
Denial of Communion is NOT a penalty.
So? What is the import of this fact?
It means that denial of Communion is not an option that MAY be chosen. It is MANDATED by Canon 915. No bishop, priest, or other minister of Communion is free to disobey Canon 915, for the simple reason that the action Canon 915 forbids is ALWAYS gravely sinful.
It needs to be emphasized that Canon 915 is NOT a canon that may be “applied” or “not applied.” Canon 915 can only be obeyed or disobeyed. And disobeying Canon 915 is always gravely sinful.
Canon 915 exists precisely because giving Communion to a person “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin” is always gravely sinful. Doing so is always to give grave scandal, and to participate knowingly in a sacrilegious act.
Let that sink in. Always gravely sinful.
In terms perhaps more familiar to the laity: To give Communion knowingly and deliberately to ANYONE delineated in Canon 915 is ALWAYS a mortal sin.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl has been the most outspoken of those bishops who refuse to obey Canon 915, but all of them are on record, as he is, as endorsing the commission of MORTAL SINS by their priests and other ministers of Communion. Cardinal Wuerl has even punished those who have obeyed Canon 915.
Of course, this is something he has no right to do, because no bishop has the authority to command anyone to commit a mortal sin!
I believe he is absolutely correct in this. Canon Law is Canon Law, and Canon 915 is crystal clear. For a prelate to so fail in duty that he abrogates a very significant portion of Canon Law is objectively mortally sinful if only from the standpoint of the massive scandal it causes alone. But add to that fact the reality that the Blessed Sacrament is thus received unworthily, and you add sacrilege and blasphemy on top of the grave scandal. It seems a pretty clear cut case of objective mortal sin, to me.
Unless one wants to argue that our prelates are so badly formed they are ignorant of the nature of the Blessed Sacrament, scandal, sacrilege, and all the rest. One might actually have an argument there, which is a scandal of the first rank in its own right.
But really, these men have been corrected so often on this matter, from above and below (including the relegating of then Cardinal Ratzinger’s instruction to enforce Canon 915 by Cardinal McCarrick to the memory hole), that claiming ignorance is to extend a charitable appreciation of the matter beyond the breaking point.
One more point from Fr. Fitzpatrick:
It is said by many, including Cardinal Wuerl, that Communion should not be used as a political weapon.
Absolutely true. And the reception of Communion is being used as a political weapon—by pro-abortion politicians. As long as they are permitted to receive Communion, the bishop (e.g., Cardinal Wuerl) endorses their claim to be “ardent Catholics” whose promotion of abortion is NO SIN.
Again, I totally agree. There is no question in my mind that it is the pro-abort sinners and their episcopal enablers who are politicizing the Blessed Sacrament. They are also committing sins more severe than even the worst heretics of the past.
One sad fact is that the article lists Fr. Fitzpatrick as a retired priest. Of course, no active priest could write a missive like this because they would be cashiered instantly. Source
We’ve had this discussion before, of course, regarding the negligence of priests and bishops who refuse to enforce Canon 915. However, since the “chestnut” moral issues persistently present themselves as a challenge to the clergy and hierarchy, seemingly intent on keeping their heads buried firmly in the sand, it might be useful to give the subject another airing. Is Fr Fitzpatrick right in his claim that “pro-abort sinners and [the bishops] who enable them, are committing sins more severe than even the worst heretics of the past”? And what about “To give Communion knowingly and deliberately to ANYONE delineated in Canon 915 is ALWAYS a mortal sin.” – who are they… those (apart from pro-abortion Catholics) “delineated in Canon 915”?