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Bishops, priests and scholars correct Pope Francis’ statement on Holy Communion



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Four bishops, several priests, and numerous Catholic scholars have signed a statement rebuking Pope Francis for a recent statement about the reception of Holy Communion, according to which “everyone is invited to the supper of the wedding of the Lamb (Re 19:9). To be admitted to the feast all that is required is the wedding garment of faith which comes from the hearing of his Word.” The Pope wrote these words in his June 29 Apostolic Letter on the liturgy, Desiderio desideravi, but for the signatories of this new statement (see full text below), he omitted the “essential topic of repentance for sin for the worthy reception of the Eucharist.”

Therefore, the papal words about the “garment of faith” as the only requirement for the reception of Holy Communion, “contradict the faith of the Catholic Church,” as the authors wrote. They explain:

The Catholic Church has always taught that in order to receive the Holy Eucharist worthily and without sin, Catholics must receive sacramental absolution, if possible, for any mortal sins they may have committed and obey all other laws of the Church concerning reception of the Eucharist (as, for example, the laws concerning fasting prior to reception of the Eucharist).

If a sacramental confession is not possible, but the reception of Holy Communion urgent (such as for a priest celebrating Mass), the Sacrament of Penance has to be sought as soon as possible afterwards, and the penitent must have perfect contrition for his mortal sins. By extensively quoting from the Council of Trent’s documents, the signatories also make it clear that such teachings as presented in Pope Francis’ document have already been condemned as heresy. “The claim,” they write, “that faith is the only requirement for worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist was condemned by the Council of Trent as a heresy.”