Bishop Rene Henry Gracida, retired Roman Catholic Bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas, has denounced the “scandal” of Ted Kennedy’s funeral. He wrote, “There was so much wrong with the funeral liturgy celebrated in Boston . . . for Senator Edward Moore Kennedy that I hardly know where to begin.”
He added, “Aside from the impropriety of such a grandiose celebration for one of the country’s most notorious dissident Catholics, the ‘celebration’ was filled with liturgical errors and transgressions against the General Instruction of the Roman Missal which governs every celebration of the Church’s liturgy.”
Bishop Gracida concluded, “It is not unreasonable to suggest that the ‘buck’ for the scandal of the secular extravaganza which obscured the sacred liturgical nature of the Kennedy funeral should stop at the desk of the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston. Again, since I do not want to directly criticize another bishop, I leave it to the laity to analyze the true nature of that celebration.”
This article is the attempt of one layman, a former lawyer and judge, to “analyze the true nature of that celebration.” The issues surrounding Ted Kennedy’s funeral are not limited to whether Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, should have allowed or presided at his public funeral or whether he should have allowed the grand celebration of Kennedy’s supposed legislative accomplishments (without mention of his support for abortion, embryonic killing or same-sex marriage) or the liturgical transgressions or even the quasi-canonization by Fr. Mark Hession in his homily. The central issue is whether sacrilegious Communions were committed by Catholic politicians who publicly support the horrendous sin of abortion.
Cardinal O’Malley’s office and his Communications Director were requested to confirm or deny that these pro-abortion politicians received the Holy Eucharist at the funeral. Instead of answering this simple question, his Communications Director wrote, “With respect to the Cardinal’s participation at Senator Kennedy’s funeral we refer you to his blog statement. . .” However, the Cardinal was not asked about his participation but about the participation of Catholic pro-abortion politicians in receiving the Holy Eucharist. The Cardinal’s blog said nothing about this.
Moreover, neither Fr Hession, the homilist, nor his staff returned phone calls or answered emails that requested them to confirm or deny these Communion receptions, even after giving them three days notice before the publication of this article.
Neither the Cardinal nor Fr. Hession answered the very simple question of whether these Catholic pro-abortion politicians received. They could easily have denied it, but their failure to do so leads to the reasonable inference that they did receive. Canon Law 915 mandates that those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin are not to receive the Holy Eucharist.
This was interpreted by Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Ratzinger, to mean that when a Catholic politician has consistently campaigned and voted for permissive abortion laws, his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Holy Eucharist.
Cardinal Ratzinger also said that when “these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,” and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.”
If the pro-abortion Catholic politicians at Mr. Kennedy’s funeral received the Holy Eucharist, perhaps they were never warned by their Pastor or Bishop or by Cardinal O’Malley or any of the celebrating priests that their conduct violated Canon 915. Or, if they were warned and their minster of Communion knew it, than the minister failed under his duty to refuse to distribute the Holy Eucharist to them.
Curiously, the printed program for the funeral liturgy did not contain the usual U.S. Bishop’s statement on the guidelines for receiving the Holy Eucharist. These guidelines are that only Catholics may receive and Catholics who do receive must be property disposed. Moreover, neither presiding Cardinal O’Malley nor any priest gave any oral statement about the guidelines before the distribution of the Holy Eucharist. Giving these Catholic pro-abortion politicians the extraordinary benefit of the doubt, perhaps they were in total ignorance because no Pastor, priest or Bishop ever warned them as they should have.
Nevertheless, even though they may have never received any warning, still their reception of the Holy Eucharist was objectively unworthy and an objective sacrilege against the Holy Eucharist. This is why the Church in America is spiritually sick and infirm. Eucharistic sacrilege means to treat the Holy Eucharist unworthily and is a grave sin because in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is made substantially present for us. (Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 2120). St. Paul said, “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily sins against the body and blood of the Lord…. That is why many among you are sick and infirm, and why so many are dying. If we were to examine ourselves, we would not be falling under judgment in this way.” (1 Cor. 11, 27-31; Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 1385). Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter, The Church of the Eucharist, reaffirmed this teaching. He said, “I reaffirm that in the Church there remains in force, now and in the future, the rule by which the Council of Trent gave concrete expression to the Apostle Paul’s stern warning when it affirmed that, in order to receive the Eucharist in a worthily manner, ‘one must first confess one’s sins, when one is aware of mortal sin.’” (No. 36).
It is very doubtful if any of these Catholic pro-abortion politicians first confessed their objective mortal sins of publicly supporting abortion. They never showed any public repentance and they persist in their pubic support of abortion. So to all appearances, their receptions of the Holy Eucharist were knowingly sacrilegious. We should not judge from appearances. We can, however, judge their objective actions which were publically sacrilegious and scandalous whether they know it or not. We should not pass judgment on their state of grace or the lack of it or the subjective and personal guilt of any of them or of their pastors or Cardinal O’Malley. Rather, we should react to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion by ourselves making Holy Communions to repair for sacrilegious Communions.
Bishop St. Ambrose refused the Holy Eucharist to the powerful Emperor Theodosius and thrust him back from the threshold of the Church. He did this because Theodosius had caused seven thousand innocent persons to be slaughtered by his soldiers. Eight months later, Theodosius requested absolution which St Ambrose gave him after he had submitted to the public penance of the Church.
Bishop St. John Chrysostom told his priests, “Though a captain or a governor, nay, even one adorned with the imperial crown, approach [the table of the Lord] unworthily, prevent him; you have greater authority than he . . . Beware lest you excite the Lord to wrath, and give a sword instead of food. And if a new Judas should approach the Communion, prevent him. Fear God, not man. If you fear man, he will treat you with scorn; if you fear God, you will appear venerable even to men.” However, we cannot reasonably expect any priest or Bishop to act like St Ambrose or to follow the advice of St John Chrysostom in the United States today. No American priest or Bishop has ever refused to distribute the Holy Eucharist to any Catholic pro-abortion politician who presented him or herself to him for reception. They have always publicly received without any public rebuke from their Pastor or Bishop or any public repentance by the recipient. Unless there is a reformation, they will continue to do so and the Church will suffer from continuing sickness and infirmity because of it.
It is fruitless to blame priests and Bishops for this. We the faithful should ourselves make reparation for these sacrilegious Communions. Moreover, most Catholics go to Communion every Sunday but very few go to Confession. Many are in the state of mortal sin because of the willful practice of contraception. Many of them are ignorant that this is grave sin because they have not been properly taught by their Pastors and Bishops. However, many others do know that this practice is gravely sinful and they have no intention of stopping it, or of confessing it, and they still receive the Holy Eucharist. This is why we should make reparation for sacrilegious Communions.
“Reparation” means to repair for the damage of these sacrilegious Communions. We should practice the First Friday Devotion and the First Saturday Devotion to make reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We should also practice the First Wednesday Devotion to St. Joseph as revealed in the Our Lady of America Devotion and the Novena of Communions revealed in the Jesus King of All Nations Devotion.
The First Friday Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is based on a promise made by Him to St. Margaret Mary in France in the 17th century. He said, “I promise you in the excessive Mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful Love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months the Grace of Final Penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.”
The First Saturday Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is based upon promises made by her to the children of Fatima, Portugal in the 20th century. She said, “I promise to help at the hour of death, with the graces needed for salvation, whoever on the First Saturday of five consecutive months shall Confess and Receive Holy Communion; recite five decades of the Holy Rosary; and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”
The First Wednesday Devotion to St. Joseph was revealed in the Our Lady of America Devotion in the 1950’s. Jesus and Mary desire that the Pure Heart of St. Joseph be honored on the First Wednesday of each month. On March 30, 1958, St. Joseph appeared to Sister Mildred and said:
I am the protector of the Church and the home, as I was the protector of Christ and His Mother while I lived upon earth. Jesus and Mary desire that my pure heart, so long hidden and unknown, be now honored in a special way. Let my children honor my most pure heart in a special manner on the First Wednesday of the month by reciting the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary in memory of my life with Jesus and Mary and the love I bore them, the sorrow I suffered with them. Let them receive Holy Communion in union with the love with which I received the Savior for the first time and each time I held Him in my arms.
St. Joseph promised, “Those who honor me in this way will be consoled by my presence at their death, and I myself will conduct them safely into the presence of Jesus and Mary.”
The Novena of Communions was revealed in the Jesus King of All Nations Devotion in the 1990’s. This Novena consists of offering nine consecutive Holy Communions in honor of Jesus King of All Nations. Jesus said, “I desire that the faithful souls who embrace this devotion to Me. . . make a Novena of Holy Communions. They therefore shall offer me nine (9) consecutive Holy Communions, and go to Confession during this Novena, if possible, in honor of Me as ‘Jesus King of All Nations’.”
Jesus indicated that by “consecutive”, He meant nine Communions, uninterrupted, one after another, that the souls would receive. They need not be on nine calendar days in a row, just each Communion received, one after the other. Jesus promised, “For those souls who will offer Me [this] devotion I will bid an angel of each of the Nine Choirs, one with each Holy Communion, to guard this soul for the rest of its life on this earth.”
The damage of sacrilegious Communions is the infirmity of the Church in America.
“Reparation” means to “make up” for this infirmity just like strong right arms make up for infirm and withered left arms by becoming stronger and doing the work of two arms. We the laity must make up for the infirm, withered left arm of the Church in America by making Holy Communions. Reformation and reparation through these Holy Communions are the only hope for the Catholic Church in America. By thy holy and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, Our Lady of America, deliver us from evil and pray for the Church in America!
Dan Lynch Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Permission is granted for reproduction or copies made for non-commercial, non-profit use so long as the source of http://www.JKMI.com <http://www.JKMI.com> is cited and “© Dan Lynch” is indicated.
© Copyright 2008, Dan Lynch. Permission is granted for non-profit, non-commercial copying and distribution in its entirety. Dan Lynch of St. Albans, Vermont is the Director of the apostolates of the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Jesus King of All Nations Devotion. He is a former judge and lawyer. Dan hopes that you’ll visit his web site or call so that you may buy his books and learn more about Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Missionary Image, Jesus King of All Nations, Our Lady of America and the Saints of the States. Website: www.jkmi.com. E-Mail: JKMI@JKMI.com. Phone: 800-958-4499.
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5 Comments For This Post
- PrairieHawk says:
September 17th, 2009 at 6:39 am I am on the record in this space as supporting Cardinal O’Malley’s judgment to let the Kennedy funeral go forward, and indeed to preside over it as he did. I believe that the only way forward for our Church is through the union of head and members, that is, by lay Catholics giving their leaders the trust that is due them by their office and by allowing them to lead, even when we don’t like the outcome. Dissent serves no one, not even the dissent of the faithful, orthodox Catholic.
How, then, are we to remain united with our leaders when they consistently “overlook” (to put it mildly) settled Catholic teaching on issues like who may receive the Eucharist? I would even question, and this is a very grave matter, whether all or parts of the Church in the U.S.A. are in a state of schism. The Catholic Encyclopedia defines schism, in part, as “the rupture of ecclesiastical union and unity” which “should manifest itself in mutual understanding and convergent action similar to the harmonious co-operation of our members which God hath tempered ‘that there might be no schism in the body’” (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13529a.htm).
It certainly sounds to me like there is a rupture in “mutual understanding and convergent action” in the body of the faithful. When a significant part of the faithful observe sacreligious communion taking place as a matter of ordinary practice in many (most?) dioceses across the country, when a prominent dissident Catholic dies and is ushered into the Hereafter (to use my own phrase) with the full honors of the Church, when a notoriously pro-abortion President is given, by a disobedient priest, a platform to speak at the most prominent Catholic university in the country: all of this is enough to give me grave concern.
If there is a schism, then what do we do about it? Prayer, of course, is a remedy that springs to mind immediately; but do we speak out? Write the bishop? Tell our pastor? Suffer in silence? Tell the Pope? How do you oppose a schism faithfully and without dissent? I actually don’t know, and I would be grateful for some advice.
- delynn says:
September 17th, 2009 at 7:04 am But still, we are called to show mercy: bury the dead, console the grieving. And how often does Our Lord ask us to not judge by appearances, since He sees our hearts?
- Mary Kochan says:
September 17th, 2009 at 7:10 am Come on, delynn, are you trying to argue that because we are supposed to bury the dead, we were under obligation to give Ted Kennedy a huge, star-studded funeral with 7 celebrants, and appearances by world famous musicians? Or are you trying to respond to someone out there who is saying that he shouldn’t have been buried at all — because I haven’t heard that one, have you?
- Warren Jewell says:
September 17th, 2009 at 8:01 am Though seemingly a response to PrairieHawk but more generally considering the terrible scandal of unworthy reception of the very Body and Blood of of our Savior, Lord Jesus Christ, I would like to point out that this scandal is among those things in American Catholicism that has done Satan proud.
More and more, as time passes, when I look at the long lines (such as gradually more mediocre attendance allows) for Communion at any Mass in my parish coupled with NEVER having difficulty with lines at Confession on Saturday afternoon before the anticipatory Mass – the only regularly scheduled forty-five minutes for Confession of the week – means that unworthy reception is too near a norm to contemplate. Such would call for rigorous and even confrontational catechesis, not bending over backwards in conformance ‘to the times’.
As Bishop Gracida infers, as a lay person, I object to Cardinal Archbishop O’Malley’s leadership at the Mass, and then his stonewalling those who seek answers from him about the whole affair. All I have seen is more self-serving than responsive. I would ask him, preening my pet peeve concerning American Catholicism, “Just what lessons have you given your sheep, and the Lord’s whole flock, in this affair and your participation in it?”
For delynn and other ‘forgiving’ types who have had nothing to forgive Senator Kennedy for, if they suffered no direct offense, if Cardinal O’Malley’s archdiocese (as is likely) suffers the same absence of penitence among thousands of laity who then throng for Communion in questionable worthiness as I have seen in the Chicago archdiocese, the examples of prominent pro-abortion Catholics, unrepentant and defiant, has made for strong (evilly effective!) scandal, indeed. And, the unseemliness of it all is punctuated when the ordained homilist nearly canonizes Senator Kennedy with neither the intensively arrived-at knowledge nor authority to do so.
No, delynn, we beg for God’s mercy for Senator Kennedy, which his funeral Mass should have done. However, if we parade his glories, his moral and mortal ‘warts’ should have been given air, too. But, neither belongs at a funeral Mass, and a small family affair was what was called for – not some spectacular pageant of questionable legitimacy.
May Mother Mary seek merciful grace on all of us, that her Son be too busy in His loving mercy to bring scold and chastisement in His loving justice upon us.
- Christi Derr says:
September 17th, 2009 at 8:53 am Thank you for highlighting the overwhelming need for reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary!! If one is a friend of Christ’s, he will deeply wish to console His Most Sacred Heart, and that of His Mother who prays for us daily. Our hearts should break at the thought, “Love is not loved.”