Since the Synod on the Family we have heard neo-Modernists make the charge that the Catholic Church has been using the Eucharist as a reward for good behavior; in other words a form of blackmail to elicit a behavior that is in keeping with the teachings of the Church. Much of this stems from the truthful words of our Pope when he declared that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”
This is of course true; for no one is worthy to receive the Sacrament in reality. But this is not the whole story of why there are certain restraints on people from receiving the Eucharist when they are in a state of mortal sin. It is hard for the world or many protestants to understand the distinction that the Catholic Church makes in regards to sin; specifically, sin which is classified mortal or venial.
Venial sin is a lesser sin whose effect on the soul of a person is to weaken or damage the soul. It is like an illness, which, if left unchecked, will worsen and perhaps lead to death. It can be remitted by sorrow and taken away by reception of the Eucharist while interiorly showing sorrow and remorse for their sin.
But mortal sin is a type of death of the soul and a freewill choice to disobey God in matters concerning gravely sinful acts; thus the name mortal is used to define it. So while venial sin is not serious enough to render the sinner a mortal blow and does not bestow a penalty of hell upon the soul at death, with mortal sin that is not the case: for though a venial sin is perhaps a glance away from God, mortal sin is a deliberate or willful turning of one’s back on God and His commandments. They have effectively broken communion with God and the Church and driven Christ from their soul. For Christ neither forces himself into our souls nor does He refuse to be expelled.
Therefore, there is another sacrament that has been instituted as medicine for those who have committed mortal sin; namely the Rite of Reconciliation or what is commonly known as Confession. The purpose of this sacrament is to restore the soul to the state of Grace that it formerly had before committing a grave sin and who has thereby separated themselves from Christ and His Church and rendered their souls dead . . . being deprived of sanctifying or salvific grace; a special indwelling of the Holy Spirit within the soul. For such people, the reception of the medicine that is God’s indwelling in the soul of the recipient, as He has become the entire bread and wine of this august Sacrament, is not meant to be mocked and scandalized. For Christ cannot and will not inhabit the soul of those who have willfully turned Him out. To receive this sacrament in mortal sin would be a grave sin, willfully acted upon, and thus adding mortal sin to mortal sin.
Likewise, the Sacrament of Penance, has requirements. One must have sorrow for the sin and one must cease to commit the sin and make a good will effort to ‘go and sin no more.’ Otherwise, we have a similar problem as we did with those who received the Blessed Sacrament in a state of mortal sin. For this likewise requires that we do not mock or scandalize the Confessional. Once again to do so is committing another grave sin to be added to the former sin or sins. You cannot lie to Christ without consequences.
This is, quite logically then, why a person who is continuing to live in a state of grave mortal sin, is un-repentent or has no firm purpose of amendment will be denied access to the absolution that they need within Confession. For to do so is to heap sin upon sin.
Now I am not going to reopen the floodgates of all the cloudiness that has been stirred up by Amoris laetitia and that is not my intent. The back and forth regarding ‘grey’ areas and ‘culpability’ etc. can be argued elsewhere for all I care. My intent is to give background to show why the Church does what it does and says what it says. And from this explanation I am hoping that the wider point is to understand the sinfulness of mocking or scandalizing a Sacrament.
My contention is, that if there is use of the Eucharist as blackmail, it is being done by the neo-Modernists who would have you believe that the medicine of the Eucharist should outweigh any complicity with scandal, irreverence and outright disrespect of the Sacrament in order to receive it. For it seems clear to me that people have been so mesmerized by cure that they are willing to overlook sins committed against our Lord in the Tabernacle, so much is their desire to receive Him.
The desire and the thirst to receive our Lord in the Eucharist is laudable and I wish everyone truly believed in the Real Presence of Christ Who awaits us in the Sacrament of Sacraments. But to be forced to take part in frivolity and actions that are demeaning and at times outright scandalous of our faith and belief in the Sacrament seems to me to be counter intuitive. Are we not committing scandal by participation and thereby willfully committing serious sin in order to remit this commission of sin?
I doubt many pastors will see this as a serious sin but then again much has changed. That which got pastors laicized or removed from parishes in the past are now seen as in the mainstream of Catholic practice and thought. So there we have it. A complete mess. Nobody knows what to say, do or believe anymore as there are authoritative voices from every direction who say quite the opposite of one another. The concept of sin itself is being consistently undermined such that the word itself is being rendered useless and parishioners are out on the highways seeking a parish that meets their understanding of what Catholic Teaching demands. It seems to me that when a person remaining in grave sin is no longer culpable of that sin then we have hit an exit ramp from the Church and Her Teachings. But then nobody said that being a Catholic would be easy. In fact, I was warned that the contrary would be true. They proved themselves right.