Sacramentum Caritatis: Politicians and the Eucharist

Sacramentum Caritatis: Politicians and the Eucharist

In article 83 of Sacramentum Caritatis the Holy Father addresses the concept of “Eucharistic consistency,” meaning that we are to live our lives outside of Mass consistently with the values we profess in it. Our public lives must reflect our inner lives. He says that politicians and public leaders have an especial duty in this regard.

Here it is important to consider what the Synod Fathers described as eucharistic consistency, a quality which our lives are objectively called to embody. Worship pleasing to God can never be a purely private matter, without consequences for our relationships with others: it demands a public witness to our faith. Evidently, this is true for all the baptized, yet it is especially incumbent upon those who, by virtue of their social or political position, must make decisions regarding fundamental values, such as respect for human life, its defence from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one’s children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms (230). These values are not negotiable. Consequently, Catholic politicians and legislators, conscious of their grave responsibility before society, must feel particularly bound, on the basis of a properly formed conscience, to introduce and support laws inspired by values grounded in human nature (231). There is an objective connection here with the Eucharist (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-29). Bishops are bound to reaffirm constantly these values as part of their responsibility to the flock entrusted to them (232).

What are we to conclude, especially when we consider previous guidance from canon law and its interpretation by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts? Let’s look at the scriptural reference of 1 Cor. 11:27-29:

Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.

So what is the objective connection we’re supposed to make? That if Catholic politicians and legislators violate the binding duty to support laws that respect the natural law and the dignity of the human person, they are in danger of receiving Communion unworthily. Hence the provisions of Canon 915 are in effect:

“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.”

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  • What is the point of this?  Don’t all the politicians already know that they can be, or could be, or should be denied communion for supporting various causes that are contrary to church teaching?

    I think it would be more effective for the vatican to either (A) force its priests to so deny communion or (B) engage the politicians in a real dialogue with the ultimate goal that they will either tow the church line or get out.

    Reminding us that they can punish us is so weak.

  • Will Cardinal McCarrick be in charge of implementing this section of the document here in the U.S. ?

  • Nice to see this re-iterated for the 6715th or so time by the Magisterium in recent times! We need to brace ourselves once again for the sophism of “…cast the first stone” Yadda. yadda.

    Nos. 62 and 83 may be a legitimate focus for many. The MSM will surely also focus on these numbers. (To the extent they can.)However, we as Catholics need to also be able to explain why Christ desires so much to be received by us in his Sacred Divinity and Sacred Humanity.

  • “So what is the objective connection we’re supposed to make?”

    Why is the Holy Father effectively asking us to do the work of making the connection in the first place??!!

    It’s not that I’m lazy; it’s that our sleazy politicians, pundits, and sadly, some Bishops and other clergy, have a way of interpreting any lack of forthrightness in favor of continuing to defend our Lord’s reception in the Eucharist by public supporters of practices that gravely offend Him.

    The Pope surely knows this, and so I remain mystified.  It’s much like the garble out of Rome concerning the acceptance of homosexuals to seminary.

  • What annoyed me the most was the PURPOSEFUL MISTRANSLATION of the word “Obligantur”.  This was a major, and purposeful error.:

    “Vinculum haec sententia habet verum cum Eucharistia (cfr 1 Cor 1,27-29). Obligantur Episcopi ut sine intermissione haec iterent praecepta; eorum pars enim est muneris erga sibi creditum gregem.(232)”

    There is an objective connection here with the Eucharist (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-29). Bishops are bound to reaffirm constantly these values as part of their responsibility to the flock entrusted to them (232).