VATICAN CITY, OCT. 11, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Church must be loving toward those whose personal situation does not allow them to receive Communion, says Cardinal Julián Herranz.
The president of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, addressing the Synod of Bishops on Monday, explained that the inability to go to Communion does not mean exclusion from the Church, much less excommunication.
The cardinal reminded the synod’s participants that there is the “necessity of a state of grace to receive holy Communion, which the interested person must judge.”
In his encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” No. 37, Pope John Paul II said that “in cases of outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm, the Church, in her pastoral concern for the good order of the community and out of respect for the sacrament, cannot fail to feel directly involved.”
“The Code of Canon Law,” he wrote, “refers to this situation of a manifest lack of proper moral disposition when it states that those who ‘obstinately persist in manifest grave sin’ are not to be admitted to Eucharistic communion.”
Cardinal Herranz explained that “this norm regards a vast diversity of irregular situations: all of which, however, are to be followed with loving patience and pastoral solicitude, in order to make them regular and avoid that any faithful distance themselves from the Church or even considers themselves excommunicated, by the sole fact of not being able to receive Communion.”
Finally, the cardinal highlighted “the valid request of the faithful who express their ‘hunger for the Eucharist.'”
“Many lament, in fact, hardly ever being able to find a confessor — even where priests are not lacking in the parish,” he said.
“They point out liturgical abuses and desacralizing trivialization of the Eucharistic celebrations,” the cardinal added. “They suffer because, against the canonical norms on public worship, the churches are always closed outside of the communitarian celebrations and they cannot stay in adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament.”