Monday, June 18, 2007

My heart broke last Sunday at Mass

I was attending Holy Mass at 5 Pm last Sunday, to honor a holy priest's 45th Anniversary. Fr. Paul Daum has served faithfully in the Diocese of Rockville Centre in various capacities, but I know him best as the chaplain of Birthright, and the priest who offers the Indult Latin Mass once a month. His homilies inspire one to greater holiness, by a mixture of interpretation of the Scripture, and it's application to daily Catholic living. Fr Daum was preaching beautifully, as always. declaring his conviction that "abortion is infanticide", and we must resist the trend to weaken marriage, while maintaining compassion for those who struggle with homosexuality. I was watching the homily from the rear of the church, as Christina is often restless during Mass, and noticed Congressman Tim Bishop seated near the rear of rear of the Church with his family. When Fr. Daum mentioned these 'hot button social issues', Congressman Bishop blushed to the roots of his salt and pepper hair. It reminded me of his recent statement to the Holy Father after Pope Benedict stated that Catholic politicians who vote for abortion have excommunicated themselves, and their bishops may deny them Holy Communion.
Under Church law, someone who knowingly does or backs something which the Church considers a grave sin, such as abortion, inflicts what is known as "automatic excommunication" on themselves.The Pope said parliamentarians who vote in favor of abortion have "doubts about the value of life and the beauty of life and even a doubt about the future".
This was Congressman Bishop's response, he signed the following statement with 17 other pro-death Catholic politicians:
press release “The fact is that religious sanction in the political arena directly conflicts with our fundamental beliefs about the role and responsibility of democratic representatives in a pluralistic America – it also clashes with freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution. Such notions offend the very nature of the American experiment and do a great disservice to the centuries of good work the church has done.”
Tim Bishop said the pope's remarks "saddened" him enough to speak publicly. "To be threatened with excommunication, denied the sacraments ... for exercising my judgment ... as an elected official in a secular role ... I think is very unfortunate."
Fr. Trigilio has written his response to this outrage here.

I suddenly felt ill, as if I had been punched in the stomach, as I realized that it was likely that Tim Bishop was going to receive Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in a state of excommunication. I took the empty pew in front of him, with Christina, hoping to jar his memory of our confrontation, and thus afflict his conscience further, but to no avail. I believe he did remember me, as he was walking up to receive communion, he gave me a piercing look, which unsettled me. When he approached the altar, he did receive, but not from the faithful and holy Fr. Daum, he quickly skirted him, and received from the Extraordinary Minister. I was devastated, and offered prayers for his immortal soul, according to

Corinthians 11:27, 29 " For anyone who eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, will have to answer for the body and blood o fhte Lord. . .For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgement on himself. "

I was unable to confront him after Mass, as he fled the church immediately after receiving communion. At least I made him uncomfortable, and now he will know why, as I will publicly confront him with this post in the local papers, and by sending his office a copy of this post.

He cannot fairly call me judgemental, as his act of communion is a public act, as were his consistent pro-death votes. I do not judge the state of his soul, just his public sins, which have, according to Pope Benedict's interpretation of Canon Law, excommunicated him. He blasphemed the Holy Eucharist on the Feast of Corpus Christi, may God have mercy upon his immortal soul.


frival said...

Keep it up, Leticia. Maybe, just maybe, by your witness Tim Bishop may come to see the light and find the darkness of his current ways. You, and he, are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

We must keep praying..

God bless

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

I'm sorry to hear that he did that. But I admire you for not backing down from speaking the truth. I often think of your post about how you confronted him in public -- just amazing. You're an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

B16 gave the eucharist to Brother Roger of Taize shortly before his death (a non-Catholic). Is B16 heretical? I think not. Is Brother Roger a sinner....certainly, just like you and me.

Praying for the covnersion of ALL people is Catholic. Self-righteously and selectively condemning or judging others is fundamentally not -Catholic. I don't know Tim Bishop, his politics or his motives. I take you at your word. However, the Lord said " let the person without sin cast the first stone" and "judge not lest you be judged" Do we know the background, history or worthiness of anyone who approaches the Lord in the Eucharist. No...and frankly, none of us are worthy.We each pray...speak but the word and I shall be healed.

Let's leave the judgment to the Lord and praying for the conversion of sinners to us. Stalking is so wrong.

Leticia said...

Brother Roger had quietly become a Catholic when Pope Benedict gave him Holy Communion.
If you had taken the time to read my carefully referenced post, you would see that I have Congressman Bishop's words as he rejected the warning of the Holy Father that he had better not present himself for communion. His voting record is 100% pro-death, including his support of the henious partial-birth abortion, which, again I referenced in my post. Voting pro-death is a mortal sin, but admitedly it's no the only one, so why aren't all mortal sinners denied communion? Becuause, according to guidlines set down by the pope when he was a Cardinal, Catholic politicians who publicly support death and receive Our Lord, cause grave scandal to the faithful. A man who is fornicating may or may not have repented and gone to confession before communion, but a politician like Tim Bishop, who has just publicly renounced the clear admnonishment of the Holy Father, has excommunicated himself. The bishop would merely be informing him of his canonical status.
If you saw a notorious Nazi receiving Communion, or a KKK member in his sheets taking the Sacred Host, wouldn't you be sickened? I had no intention of seeing Tim Bishop, this is not my parish, and I would have rather NOT seen his blasphemy.

Anonymous said...

You're completely missing the point and carefully avoiding what I'm saying. I wholeheartedly agree with the incorrectness of his position. However, even B16 would not single a communicant out in line and refuse them the Eucharist.

As for Brother Roger, it is conjectured that he converted. So, B16 made a pastoral judgment as any good priest would do.

You waive the banner of excommunication as though it is a lightly used concept. Historically and canonically, few have been publically censured. Why, because the church in its wisdom has refused to presume the ultimate content of an individual's heart and soul. Let's leave that to the tender mercy of God. I'll continue to pray for all sinners, most especially myself since that's the only soul whose salvation I have control over.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: your position is untenable. Leticia has clearly stated that this is in response to a public official causing scandal by receiving communion publicly.

Bishop has already excommunicated *himself*. This wasn't done by Benedict or by Leticia.

You are quoting scripture completely out of context. This raises a red flag, but putting that aside: it is our Christian duty to admonish sinners (one of the seven spiritual works of mercy).

I congratulate Leticia on her work here to expose the sins to the sinner. God bless her in her blessing of God.


Anonymous said...

"Praying for the covnersion of ALL people is Catholic."

Yes my dear, that is quite Catholic!!

"Self-righteously and selectively condemning or judging others is fundamentally not -Catholic."

Um, ya!! IT IS CATHOLIC!! Have you not heard of the spiritual works of mercy!! ADMONISH THE SINNER, ring a bell.

We are called daily to make judgements. We cannot condemn anyone to hell...only Jesus can. But we can and must tell a sinner "to go and sin no more" just like Jesus did.

What is your problem with Leticia doing the work of Jesus?

Yes, I agree with Leticia all the way. He supports killing babies for money, which is against the commandment of Thou shalt not kill. He should not take communion.
He is not entitled to. He is subject just like you and me to follow Holy Mother Church's teachings or leave it.
He should just leave as he is obviously not interested in following her teachings!

Anna Belasquez

Anonymous said...

Vote him out of office, support a candidate with a pro life posture,I agee with all those things. However,don't harass him, don't put a priest or minister of the Eucharist into the difficult position of passing judgment.Admonishing the sinner may be Catholic, but there is a proper way to do it.You're still missing the point...I don't object to your premise that he is wrong or has placed himself outside the faith. The communion line is not the place to make war.

I will challenge you understanding of our faith and church law anytime.

Anonymous said...

I accept your challenge!! Bring it on!

"The communion line is not the place to make war."

That's why Tim Bishop should not get in line!

BTW, why don't you come out of the closet? You believe in what you say, say who you are!!!

Anna B.

Leticia said...

Well said, Anna,thanks for responding. I smell something rotten in Denmark when a commenter won't reveal his or her name. Could this possibly be Tim Bishop or one of his operatives?

NCTradCatholic said...

Anonymous (gosh, that sounds so courageous!), your ignorance of Sacred Scripture and our Catholic faith is astounding. Or perhaps your pick-and-choose, cafeteria approach to both is contrived rather than accidental? But don't let me judge you! You accuse our blogger of "waiv(ing) the banner of excommunication as though it is a lightly used concept". What did the Vicar of Christ (whom you respectfully refer to as "B16") just say, dear Anonymous??

A. Catholic politicians who use the power of their office to support the dicing and slicing of little babies in the womb have EXCOMMUNICATED THEMSELVES.

B. Their pastors may deny them the sacred Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

That was not our blogger speaking, it was the successor to Saint Peter, the Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ. I guess "B16" doesn't know as much about not judging and casting the first stone as you. But you know what, someone else is similarly deprived! Ever hear of Saint Paul? What does he say in 1st Corinthians, Chapter 5, vs. 11 - 13?

"Now I write to you not to associate with one who is called a brother, if he be immoral, covetous, idolatrous, evil tongued, a drunkard, greedy, with such a one not even to take food... expel the wicked man from your midst".

Sounds pretty judgmental to me. I'd say that shoe fits the foot of the Honorable Mr. Bishop quite nicely. But wait, it gets better!

"Whoever eats this bread or drinks the cup unworthily will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. For he who eats and drinks unworthily, without distinguishing the body, eats and drinks damnation unto himself". (Chapter 11, vs, 27 & 29)

Anonymous, it is YOU who are 'completely missing the point and carefully avoiding' what the Vicar of Christ and Saint Paul are saying. And it is Congressman Bishop (an unfortunate surname if ever there was one) and his other ex-Catholic colleagues (are you listening, Madame Speaker) who have already cut themselves off from the mystical body, the bride of Christ, the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church, by maintaining the holocaust of our time, the bloody slaughter of God's innocents. Stop running interference for them and start learning your faith.

Sarah said...

You have made some statements that need to be clarified.

B16 gave the eucharist to Brother Roger of Taize shortly before his death (a non-Catholic). Is B16 heretical? I think not.

First of all, there are specific rules the Church has established that determine the ONLY TIME a non-Catholic such as Bro. Roger could possibly receive Holy Communion:

"If the danger of death is present or other grave necessity, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or the conference of bishops, Catholic ministers may licitly administer these sacraments to other Christians who do not have full Communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and on their own ask for it, provided they manifest Catholic faith in these sacraments and are properly disposed" (CIC 844 § 4). Being properly disposed is the same for Catholics and non-Catholics: you must be in a state of grace, have made a good confession since your last mortal sin, believe in transubstantiation, observe the Eucharistic fast, and, finally, not be under an ecclesiastical censure such as excommunication. Canon law mandates, "Those who are excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion" (CIC 915).

So if Bro. Roger rec'd Holy Communion on his deathbed there are canonical provisions that give us room to safely assume that he had filled all the requirements: making profession of his belief in Catholicism and especially the True Presence, making a confession, etc.

Second, I don't think Leticia accused anyone of being a heretic, so it is very unfair for you to imply that she has done so by asking, "Is B16 heretical?" Leticia is simply supporting the Church's teaching that Holy Communion can and even should be refused to souls who have publicly committed grave sin and obstinately refuse to be corrected. (Recall: sin has an objective element to it. If a person acts in a way that is gravely sinful, they may not be culpable - due to ignorance, etc, but their action is nonetheless against the Divine Law.) This particular issue of reps voting for abortion has been recently addressed by the Holy Father and Tim Bishop has publicly and obstinately rejected the Holy Father's directives.

Is it possible that he'll repent? We certainly hope so. Should we pray for him? No one said otherwise. Do we have the privilege and duty to correct him? Absolutely. You personally can choose not to do so, you can continue to simply pray for him. But Leticia is not necessarily overstepping her bounds by offering fraternal correction (as long as it is done in all charity, with a heart that is gentle, meek, and patient - following Christ's example.)

You also said, "Historically and canonically, few have been publically censured. Why, because the church in its wisdom has refused to presume the ultimate content of an individual's heart and soul. Let's leave that to the tender mercy of God."

This is untrue. The Church has excommunicated many people in her history, because there is an objective element of sin. I think you have a misconceived notion of what excommunication is. It is not a judgment upon one's soul as much as it is a judgment on certain un-Catholic behavior and a form of punishment for behavior that causes a person to no longer be in communion with the Body of Christ. By excommunicating a person, the Church says "this behavior is so heinous that it demands that you be separated from the Body of Christ". And at any time, if the person repents and reforms their behavior, Holy Mother Church grants forgiveness and full communion again.

You also said, "don't put a priest or minister of the Eucharist into the difficult position of passing judgment.

Actually, the priest has every right and even the obligation to refuse the precious Body of Our Lord to an obstinate sinner who has sinned publicly and caused grave scandal. Extraordinary ministers, on the other hand, do not share this right. It is my understanding that they may never refuse Holy Communion.

"don't harass him...Admonishing the sinner may be Catholic, but there is a proper way to do it...The communion line is not the place to make war"

On this point, I agree with Anonymous. The time for Communion should be spent preparing our own souls for reception of Him. Since we cannot change any sinner but ourselves - only the Holy Spirit can through the power of our prayers - it seems ineffective and unnecessary to take our eyes off Christ during Mass.

Correcting him on a blog or in a letter is praiseworthy, but it seems inappropriate to try to defend Christ by making a spectacle of someone in the Communion line.

Just my two cents...Good post, Leticia.

Simon-Peter Vickers-Buckley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...


Well stated. Glad that you put your two cents in.

Anna B.

Matthew said...

You did a great and holy thing by praying for him since he is certainly in a state of excommunication.