Christ among the Doctors of the Law



Monday, April 09, 2007

Denial of Communion to a lesbian couple

A recent story by Kathleen Miller on the denial of Communion to a lesbian couple in Wyoming is a nice contrast to the shoddy religion reporting typical of the secular press. I have no independent sources on Miller's story, but what she reported sure seems to allow competent observers to figure out what happened. Briefly, a lesbian couple went public at least twice with their lifestyle, whereupon Cheyenne's bishop, David Ricken (a canonist by training), notified them of their ineligibity to receive Holy Communion in what was obviously an application of Canon 915: "Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion."

What more can I say? Miller's is an able report on Ricken's proper application of Church law.

By the way, Prof. Raschke's comment that "It's no more surprising that the Catholic Church would deny Communion to an openly gay couple than a Muslim mosque would deny access to somebody who ate pork." is fine as far as it goes, but Catholics need to be clear that withholding the Eucharist has to be, and in this case clearly is, grounded on something more substantial than just breaking some Church rule. Eating pork is not immoral in se, but advocating a homosexual lifestyle is; hence the grave consequence of denial of Communion is appropriate in this case.