Thursday, March 15, 2012

Go ahead

Discussion about the Father Guarnizo situation continues.

Here is Ed Peters' latest.

Here it is again, on Deacon Greg Kandra's site, which I include because Dr. Peters does not allow comments.

Here is commentary from Mark Shea.

The Curt Jester weighs in here.

My final (I hope) thoughts on this matter are as follows: gay and lesbian activists, pro-abortion politicians, those baptized Catholics who now hate the Church and everything she stands for, unmarried couples shacking up whose status isn't already publicly known to the whole parish, divorced and remarried Catholics with invalid marriages outside the Church who are not known to the priest, and anyone else who feels entitled to the Eucharist: go ahead. Line up for Communion secure in the knowledge that no priest will ever dare to withhold the Blessed Sacrament from you again.

Never mind any notion that priests in charity ought not to help people to eat and drink condemnation upon themselves; that notion, a pious thought, is not covered by Canon 915. So unless you are clearly, indisputably, indubitably obstinately persisting in manifest grave sin, go ahead.

And even if you are obstinately persisting in manifest grave sin, go ahead. By the time the Church's authorities and legal minds finish arguing about what "obstinate," "persisting," "manifest," "grave," and "sin" mean, you'll be long deceased, as will we all.

Go ahead. Advance your agendas, commit your sacrileges, and don't be afraid that anyone will dare to embarrass you or hurt your feelings. It won't happen. Not anymore.

So go ahead.


Rebecca in ID said...

I forgot the link last time, here is Cardinal Burke's take on Canon 915:

It seems to me his opinion is much more in line with centuries of tradition, would take Fr. Guarizno's actions as being well-justified and in line with canon law, and would disagree with Ed Peter's interpretation. I haven't read the other links you posted yet.

Rebecca in ID said...

Okay, and Red, looking at what Mark Shea is saying, esp. here in the comments: "I understand that and appreciate it. My point is simply that, if the Archdiocese is to be believed, it is irrelevant to the reason for the Administrative Leave. What is relevant we don’t know, because nobody has access to those facts yet. It is quite possible that Fr. Guarnizo did the right thing about the communion incident (I would incline toward saying he did, but even there I don’t know what the facts of the situation really were) and yet has also done all sorts of other stuff the Archdiocese is rightly concerned about. I don’t know. Neither does anybody else. So until we know, we should mind our own business."

It looks to me like Mark would incline towards the view you (and I think Cardinal Burke) hold, that if the facts are as they seem about the withholding of the communion, then this priest acted prudently and justly...but Mark is just having a problem with all the conspiracy speculation about the administrative leave, and you have not engaged on that level.

Mercury said...

Fr. Guarzino seems like he did the right thing, and he does not seem phony like some of the other guys Mark Shea so lovingly calls "folk heroes".

However, I am ashamed at some of the venom being leveled at the bishop and Cardinal Wuerl, when we really do not know ALL of the facts, or whether something else was happening.

And even if the Bishops act despicably, we can't say things like "'Cardinal' Wuerl is a despicable worm working for 'pope' Benedict and the Novus Ordo cabal", as I saw in another combox. Or follow every "lead" that "proves", even tangentially, that Wuerl works for the gays or is satanically-influenced, both of which I have seen asserted.

Some Catholics think that just because some saints denounced bishops and even popes, they therefore have a right to do so if THEY seem said pope or bishop is not Catholic enough for their fancy. Criticism is one thing, but holding them in utter contempt is another.

There seems to be a knee-jerk reaction that any bishop is automatically a liberal who cannot be trusted - even when they don't preach a very dubious orthodoxy (Weakland, Zollitsch), but are just wishy-washy go-along-to-get-along types.

Aaron said...

Ever since Ed Peters suggested that Canon Law implicitly says married permanent deacons are bound to perfect continence, because the Law never explicitly says they shouldn't be (never mind that no Church document or authoritative body states this and in 45 years it hasn't been asked of them), I take anything he says with a grain of salt. He tends to apply a literal, American-style jurisprudence to Church Law, sometimes giving a literal interpretation of a canon precedence over magisterial teaching, Church history, and common sense. In this case, Fr. Marcel's statement makes it very clear that he was not thinking about canon law, but was trying to prevent a sacrilege.

The facts of the case and the aftermath suggest that he was absolutely correct in discerning that Barbara Johnson should not have received communion.

Here is a pretty thorough rebuttal of Dr. Peters:

Tony said...

After Dr. Peters' explanation, I have to drop firmly on his side of the fence.

The woman introduced the other woman as her "lover". This may or may not involve a sexual component. There is no way for Fr. Guarnizo to know that. Also her cohabitation status was not known. And even if she were cohabitating, the most that could be ascertained would be scandal, not sin (I know of two Catholic men suffering from SSAD who love each other and live together as brothers for the sake of their souls).

Even if she claims to be a Buddhist, she is a baptized Catholic and as such has the right to present herself for any sacrament that any Catholics of her state is qualified to receive.

Fr. Guarnizo was overly scruplous in the criteria for reception of Communion, and this lesbian activist played him like a violin.

I feel bad for him, because I'm sure he's a faithful priest on fire for the Lord. But he needs to understand where his authority begins and ends. When he distributes the sacraments he is in persona Christi and as such has to do not what he thinks is right, but what Christ Himself teaches through the Magesterium of His Church.

Rebecca in ID said...

Come on. "Lover" has a very specific meaning.

nate said...

"this lesbian activist played him like a violin"

Lots of people are being played. Right down to the dear soul who writes:

"Never mind any notion that priests in charity ought not to help people to eat and drink condemnation upon themselves; that notion, a pious thought, is not covered by Canon 915"

No one says that. No one is trying to say that. No one is remotely saying anything vaguely resembling that.

Act on on one conversation? Or never act?
Congratulate the imprudent action of the poor priest? Or condemn the whole Church to sanctioning sacrilege?
Do what is right? Or follow Canon Law?

No wonder Ed Peters does not have a comment section open. So many conclusions from so little.

"The Church can best defend herself from a hateful world seeking her harm when she follows her own rules; but when she, or hers, fail to do so, the problems become legion."

The cowardice of priests and bishops that will not act prudently to deal with scandal never justifies the celebration of lawlessness.

Oh for some Thomas Mores and John Fishers for this day that can provide wisdom and spine to the gutless and respect for law to the enthusiastic.

Luther? The Libertine? Both lawless dead ends. Which is why Robert Bork quotes Bolt dramatizing Roper's recording of More's dictum about the devil's right.

"And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?"

Roper ended up being More's biographer so there's at least as much hope for the enthusiast as their is for those who need to be confirmed in order to act. Don't let Mark Shea's acerbity hide the naked truth there is no call here to pick sides.

L. said...

Go ahead?

But why would we WANT to???

Rebecca in ID said...

Oh really, come on. I don't get this whole "one conversation" point. A lot can be said in a few words. Someone can say, in just a very few moments, "I plan to hide the host in my cheek, then when I leave the Church, I will take it out, and bring it to a Satanic celebration where it will be desecrated." That doesn't take long to say. You really don't have to talk for a long time with that fellow, look deep into the cockles of his soul, or whatever, to see what is up. I am absolutely astonished that folks would not view that as falling under the Canon's "manifest" clause, just as, "I am a Buddhist and here is my lover" also gives you a very manifest picture. Really, people, this just does not seem like rocket science. I am with Cardinal Burke on this one.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Well, being a simple Protestant, I don't know why there is a need to debate arcane points of canon law, like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

The woman obviously wasn't Catholic, much less in good standing, so why should the priest have to serve her communion?

Mercury said...

I think the very fact that this was used as a political issue and made public by the woman herself indicates that the priest acted rightly.

Honestly, who of us, upon being denied communion, would go to the press, and not to the priest himself for an clarification? And even if the priest was being stupid, why even then go public with it and not to the priest's superior?

Patrick said...

I don't think anyone is "entitled" to receive the Eucharist, and I don't think a non-Catholic has much cause to complain here, but let me pose this theoretical question:

Does the power of the Eucharist presuppose any disposition on the part of a sinner to begin saving their soul?

I don't think so, which is why I'd have a difficult time denying even a Buddhist lesbian the Eucharist, figuring, "if this lady consumes the body of the Living God, she will have the spirit of truth and humility in her, and begin to turn away from sin and toward the Father. After all, Christ can't deny the Father and she's eating Christ. Whether or not she subjectively believes that is beside the point."

I'd be hard-pressed to deny even a sinner who insists their sins aren't sinful the Eucharist, not because I'm a nice or tolerant person but because I believe the Eucharist does precisely what it's supposed to do regardless of whether the recipient thinks it does. In other words, it's because I believe in the Real Presence that I wouldn't withhold the Eucharist from even the most sinful fellow.

By the way: there's something a little fishy in denying the Eucharist to someone who is an active homosexual or clearly drunk and yet giving the Eucharist to a bunch of stone-sober Pharisees every week.

c matt said...

well, Patrick, those are nice sentiments, but the problem is that Scripture and the Church teach very explicitely that receiving communion when not prpoerly disposed brings judgment upon you. Precisely because of the Real Presence. Hence, the very reason for canons 915 and 916.

Rebecca in ID said...

1 Corinthians 11:27-29

"Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself."

I don't mean to zoom in and proof-text but I don't have time to look up more references, but I am certain that if you were to look around in the Catechism and other Church documents you would find that it makes all the difference, whether a person is aware of being in a state of mortal sin when receiving our Lord. It is true, however, that receiving communion will forgive all sins, even mortal sins that may have been forgotten, but if the person is aware of having committed a mortal sin without confession or intends to persist in sin, receiving Our Lord does not confer grace but further condemnation because it is a sacrilege.

Yes many of us are Pharisees on some level (hence we confess "Lord I am not worthy...") and there will even be many who approach the Eucharist knowing they have unconfessed mortal sins, but the minister of the Eucharist is not responsible, as I said before, for looking deep into people's souls, but he is responsible for protecting the Blessed Sacrament from profanation and his congregation from scandal, and the individual souls from condemning themselves, to the degree that he can *reasonably* do so. So for instance, it is reasonable to require the host to be consumed (placed in the mouth) in his presence; it is not reasonable to check people's mouths afterwards to make sure they fully consumed it and didn't later take it out. It is not reasonable to quiz each person about all of their beliefs and habits before distributing communion; it is reasonable to believe a person who declares unapologetically that he is living in sin or is not a Catholic.

Hope that makes sense.

Patrick said...

@ c matt:

Sure, but it's clearly a judgment call by the priest, and one that I'm glad I don't have to make. By judgment call, I mean this priest had to guess that the woman was unchaste (which is obviously a "reasonable guess", but nevertheless he's got no actual knowledge and so it's a guess.) Moreover, the priest could rightly (and ludicrously) decide that everyone in church is persisting in the sin of pride, a very grave sin, because they're not saints shining in white light. And he'd be right: technically, anyone who hasn't humbled themselves completely is persisting in the sin of pride to that extent. Of course that's ridiculous, which is why it's a judgment call and not a drone-like application.

As far as Scripture goes, you've got Saint Paul - who writes that women shouldn't speak in church and ought to ask their husbands privately if they don't understand something (1 Cor. 14:34 - which is the same letter as "eating and drinking judgment") and should wear a veil in church (1 Cor 11:5). Yet we've got women lectors and few women wear a veil.

On the other hand, we've got Jesus breaking bread with prostitutes - prostitutes! whose profession *requires* persisting in grave sin (Mt 9:10-13) without knowing if every last one of them ever repented or stopped being prostitutes the moment they met Jesus.

I'm not sure how they've decided St. Paul's epistle is binding in one case and not the other; nevertheless, I'd err on the side of letting the Eucharist do what it's supposed to do, and let God decide about "eating and drinking judgment". It's certainly a tough call, though: and like I said, I'm glad I don't have to make it.

Rebecca in ID said...

wearing a veil in Church is obviously a matter of custom and therefore any laws relating to it are part of positive law. The state of a person's soul and awareness of that state, when receiving Communion is not just a matter of custom but part of the deposit of Faith.

If you think the priest was not sure that the woman was a practicing lesbian because he didn't actually watch her having sexual relations with another woman, we are now in la-la land. Yes, he was morally certain, as far as a person can be. Even if the woman only publicly professed to be a lesbian and actually wasn't, that itself is a deadly sin, enough for a priest reasonably to withhold communion. Just as if someone states that they are not Catholic (and they are secretly), that is enough to withhold communion. This is all common sense, folks, the people receiving, and the minister, need to use common sense. As Siarlys stated so well, it isn't necessary to get into angels on the heads of pins!