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ShouldIAttendOrReceive wrote:

Hi guys,

I was raised in the Catholic Church by two devout parents. I was baptized, received the Sacrament of Holy Communion at the appropriate age and was confirmed. I currently attend Mass on a regular basis at my local parish, and receive Holy Communion at Mass. I understand that in order to received Holy Communion worthy that I am to believe, I am receiving the actual Body and Blood of Christ, not just a representation of His Body and Blood. I also understand that I should confess my sins prior to Holy Communion; something I am not very good at doing on a regular basis but is something I am working on.

I am conflicted on the topics of abortion and homosexuality, in the sense that, I do not agree with the Church's current teachings on these two subjects. (I have not had an abortion myself, nor am I homosexual.)  I have many friends and family members who attend Catholic Mass who are also conflicted on these topics.

I have a very wonderful and caring Catholic friend who has recently accused me of being a cafeteria Catholic and has instructed me, not only to stop taking Holy Communion, but not to bother attending Mass at all because of my disagreement with the Church on these issues. I admire his faith and am touched that he cares so much about me but now I feel like I cannot attend Mass under his disapproving eye, or that of, his entire family. I do want to be a part of the Catholic Church and I want to continue to take my child to the Catholic Church with me, but now I am feeling shut out.

I need to know if I am allowed to receive Communion or not. I understand you may wish to lecture me on the teachings of the Catholic Church as my friend has done but I truly just want an answer in as un-complicated a format as possible to the following questions:

  • Can I continue to attend Mass?
  • Can I participate in Holy Communion?

Thank you in advance for your careful consideration to my questions,

Catholic-who-is-truly-trying-but-is-feeling-that-I-will-never-be-good-enough,

ShouldIAttendOrReceive

  { Can attend Mass and receive Communion if I differ over teachings on abortion and homosexuality? }

Eric  replied:

Dear ShouldIAttendOrReceive,

Well this is a difficult situation. I admire you for looking into it and trying to be honest about it.

Holy Communion is a sign of unity among believers — the term comes from the Latin words for with and union. In particular it is the way we say Yes, I believe to what the Catholic Church teaches as revealed by God. That is why non-Catholics cannot receive Communion in the Church, because they are not united to us in faith. Similarly, anyone who obstinately denies or obstinately doubts some truth which is to be believed with divine and Catholic faith is automatically excommunicated and cannot receive communion (or any sacraments).

These two issues — abortion and homosexuality — are issues of divine and Catholic faith so to obstinately deny or doubt them would disqualify you from communion. It's not clear that's where you are though. It sounds like you are still working through them. Perhaps it's time to examine exactly what you believe and why you believe it (in prayer of course).

For example,

  • Where do you believe truth comes from?
  • Do you believe, first of all, that truth is revealed by God?
  • Or does truth come from within ourselves -- does it come strictly from our own opinions and reasoning?
  • Do you believe that God has revealed the truth to us through Jesus Christ?

If you can't believe this, then you have to ask yourself whether you are a Christian, since this principle is fundamental not only to Catholicism but to Christianity.

  • If you believe that God communicated the truth to us through Jesus Christ, you have to ask yourself how that truth was communicated and how we come to know that truth.

If you come to the firm conclusion that the truth of Jesus Christ was lost and can't be known, again, it's hard to justify being a Christian and certainly not being a Catholic. From there you go to understanding the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, the testimony of that truth Jesus revealed, and the Tradition of the church as well. The former testifies that homosexual acts are wrong, the latter testifies that abortion is wrong. In either case the teaching has been held by the church since the first century (and much earlier if you count the Jews). Effectively, you need to reconcile your opinions with what the Catholic faith teaches has been revealed by God by looking at that evidence and deciding who you put your trust in as a source of truth.

Before doing this, I recommend opening your heart to God and committing yourself to following him and learning and accepting his truth, no matter how difficult it is. If you're unwilling to unconditionally follow God and acknowledge him as Lord (as we proclaim in Mass each Sunday), it's unlikely that the discernment of where truth comes from will do you any good. Give your heart totally to Christ and surrender yourself to him, and then you will do well.

In any case, to answer your final question, regardless of the outcome of your discernment and doubts, you are always welcome at Mass, even if you're not allowed to receive communion.

Seek the truth, and you will find it.

Hope this helps!

Eric

ShouldIAttendOrReceive replied:

Got it!

Thanks so much Eric!

ShouldIAttendOrReceive

Mary Ann  replied:

ShouldIAttendOrReceive,

I would like to add to Eric's wonderful answer.

Being conflicted or having doubts is different from not believing. If you don't believe that abortion and homosexuality is wrong, as universal human moral law, natural moral law, Catholic tradition, and the Bible all say they are, then you are not in communion, as Eric said. But it would be good to truly ask yourself:

  • How is it possible that poisoning or cutting up a child in the womb is a good thing?
  • How is it possible for anyone to destroy the being in the womb at whatever stage of development?

Perhaps you need to research the human embryology and the methods of abortion.

  • If the being, in the womb, is not a human being, what is it?

If it is a human being, and one can destroy it, then there is no such thing as human rights as the Declaration of Independence understands them. That is why aborting societies quickly move to killing the elderly, the infirm and the imperfect. Nazi Germany was built on German medicine's: embrace of an ethic that said that there were lives devoid of value.

As for homosexuality, even Rome, at its most decadent, did not approve of it. It was tolerated without being said to be a virtue, as it is today. It is:

  • biologically very dangerous (to the point of the average life span of a homosexual being decades shorter than that of a heterosexual)
  • contrary to all good medical science (though medicine has been reticent, fearing to seem judgmental), and
  • not contributive to social peace and upbuilding.

Until the 80's, it was always considered a psychiatric problem. In the 80"s, a majority of homosexuals on the board of the APA voted to remove it from the list of pathologies. I think there were eleven (11) board numbers, (7 of them homosexuals), as I remember, but I could be wrong. That is not a scientific way to evaluate the nature of a disease.

What I am saying in all of this is that you don't seem to be thinking for yourself, nor even thinking. It seems that you have been brainwashed, as most people have been, by the incessant conditioning of the media. I think that light for you would be as simple as telling God you want to believe His truth, and will accept it, no matter what it is, if He would please direct your mind and heart. He loves a humble mind and heart, and your natural human heart will reassert itself: the heart that is created with an innate knowledge of natural law in these things. Free yourself from the bondage of the mental and spiritual slavery that our modern conditioning has imposed upon you.

Mary Ann

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