This food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said,
This do in remembrance of Me, Luke 22:19 this is My body; and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said,
This is My blood; and gave it to them alone.
– From the First Apology in Defense of the Christians by Saint Justin, Martyr, Chapter 66: PG 6, 427-431.
This quotation makes it clear that the effort to deny Holy Communion to politicians who dissent from the Church teaching publicly is rooted in the deepest Catholic traditions, from the apostolic fathers. The criteria to take communion that one must “believe that the things which we teach are true” refers to submission to the magisterial teachings.
Abyssum, thank you for posting those words of Saint Justin Martyr. John chapter 6 is definitely one of my favorite chapters of the entire Bible. In John 6 we hear the emphatic words of Jesus that his flesh is food indeed, and so on. In John 6 we see the first followers of Jesus who abandoned Him over the teaching of the Eucharist. History continues to repeat itself…. seems like people consistently leave the Catholic Church because of true teaching on the Eucharist, whether these people be from John 6, Henry VIII, or modern pro abortion “Catholic” politicians. In John 6 Jesus was “at the top” so to speak, this is when He had the greatest amount of followers and disciples. When the protesters would not follow Jesus anymore because of true teaching on the Eucharist, did Jesus call them back and give them a more finessed explanation of the Eucharist? No. His silence was deafening. When thousands of people walked out on Him because of true teaching on the Eucharist, Jesus then turned to the twelve and said: “Will you also go away?” Translated: “If you also want to leave me over this teaching, now is the time to do it, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” Jesus was not worried about numbers or approval ratings. He made no excuses and He begged no one to follow Him:
John 6:55-60, 66-67
For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will you also go away?
We live in an age when the ‘prevailing opinion’ is that everyone is entitled to everything, including reception of the Blessed Sacrament. But this is based on false thinking.
Inequality is ontological, something that even Hegel begrudgingly admitted although his follower Karl Marx never did seem to get it. I cannot play basketball like Michael Jordan. Nor can I play the piano like Horowitz. I cannot write like William Shakespeare. To say that I cannot do these things because of economic oppression as the result of class conflict is false. Even the best English teachers cannot make me into Shakespeare.
Pope Benedict teaches that in a world that worships power, everyone feels “entitled” to it and therefore everyone feels that they are victims if they don’t have it. But a world that worships power is a world that worships Satan and we know where that is going to lead. Or do we?
People feel entitled to protection from criminals that would harm them. And now criminals feel entitled to be free from the constraints of the law and the penal system. People feel entitled to the protection of traffic laws. And now people feel entitled to have the right to break traffic laws with impunity. How dare you say I cannot run red lights? I am entitled. Can you imagine a world where running red lights was completely optional? Can you imagine the death and destruction?
I recently read that child abusers are appealing, and successfully in some cases, to the American Psychological Association to have their “rights” to rape children recognized. They feel entitled to the same lack of stigmatization as non-child rapists. Child rapists feel excluded, discriminated against, psychologically damaged by morality. Now assuming we could wave a magic wand and just make everyone entitled to everything, would that lead to a political utopia or the most frightening world ever imagined. I can already hear a variation on the theme of the pro-abortion lobby: “Although I personally would never rape a child, I would not want to stand in the way of others who think differently than I do.” “I would not want to be intolerant.” Even if it could be proved that child rapists are insane to the point of being not responsible for their actions [a point I don’t admit], still . . . still . . . children need protection from child rapists. Sorry that their feelings are hurt. Sorry they feel discriminated against. Sorry they feel their entitlement is not recognized by society.
Sometimes in a heated discussion people will reveal things they would otherwise conceal. I think the technical name for that phenomenon is “the Freudian slip of the tongue.” Awhile back a pro-choice woman was debating with me and became so upset that she said something that normally would have remained unspoken: “Well you men with your thousands of years of oppressive patriarchy and all your wars, now it is our turn to kill.” And I thought, “wow, is that what this is all about, hatred of patriarchy and the legalization of revenge killing of unborn children, often girls?” In the ultimate act of passive/aggressiveness, some angry women would rather kill children than the men they really hate.
Now I imagine the same woman would also have liked to say to me: “How dare you say I cannot receive the Holy Eucharist?” There are nuns, not all by any means, but some who say that the Holy Father is a male sexist and some that go so far as to say that Jesus Himself was a sexist for his choice of Apostles. Now why would someone who really thought this way even want to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord?
Permit me a digression from this point, because it connects to it. Did you every notice that when a doctor removes an 80 pound tumor from a patient . . . : that he is proud of it, that photos and videos are taken of it. Here is Doctor So-and-So and his staff next to the huge 80 pound tumor he removed yesterday. Photos of the tumor are on Facebook and Youtube. Photos are run in popular and academic publications. Now if killing an unborn child was so great, and so noble and so heroic, why don’t abortion doctors show those babies which they call unjust aggressors? Why doesn’t Planned Parenthood themselves place photos of the aborted on billboards, in advertising, and in the mass media? Why doesn’t the radical arm of the feminist movement proudly publish photos of aborted babies, aborted through their “fine work” for choice? They are not proud. They are upset. They will do anything to conceal those photos. I’m sure they are working right now to have such photos banned from public spaces, from Internet social networking sights. You never see a photo of Doctor So-and-So proudly standing next to the 24 children he killed today. Never. Why? Because deep down they all know that what they are doing is horrible.
So why are we surprised that those who feel entitled to kill God’s unborn children, do not even blink at the thought that they are perfectly entitled to reception of the Holy Eucharist?
Ahh! from the Office on Sunday..a most beautiful Reading!