Cafeteria Catholics and Eucharist

It is clear from survey after survey, including the most recent one by the Vatican that will be considered at the upcoming Fall synod in Rome, that many Catholics do not accept all Church teachings. The one rejected by the greatest number of people seems to the ban on contraception. (Different stats in different studies, but conservatively looks like at least 50% do not believe artificial birth control is wrong)

Should someone who does not accept that teaching, regardless of whether they are using artificial birth control or not, receive the Eucharist?

Not agreeing with or struggling with a teaching is not sinful in and of itself. It is if one does not abide by it also. One can struggle with why the Church teaches us something and yet still submit to the authority of the Church.

I think you need to specify more your question. It depends on the situation if you mean that a person is just having difficulty accepting a teaching probably they should be OK. However, let’s use the example of contraception…if the person refuses the teaching and is using contraception in that case the person is in mortal sin and cannot receive communion. The key here is whether the person is in mortal sin. Not understanding a teaching is not a mortal sin. However If I am using contraception, or let’s say being an escort at an abortion clinic then no you are in mortal sin and cannot have communion.

Here’s a less thorny issue, mass attendance. Talk to enough people who identify themselves as Catholic and you will find some who only attend at Christmas and maybe at Easter. I am not talking about people with disabilities and cannot go, but about those who see no value in regular attendance. Few seem to find anything wrong with receiving at their annual visit to mass.

I have heard a few priests mention that issue and say people who skip mass through choice should not receive, but that has been rare.

Should they receive?

Let me try to be a bit clearer. I am talking about when a person disagrees with, actually rejects, a church teaching. It isn’t just ‘wondering’, or “having a hard time accepting”. It is, “I think the church’s teaching on this or that is wrong”. That’s what I understand a cafeteria Catholic to be.

They probably agree with most of the church’s teaching or they wouldn’t even be at Mass.

Not necessarily “actively sinning”. In the contraception example, assume the individual is not sexually active, not using contraception, but does feel the teaching is wrong and anyone who is using contraception is not sinning. I have the feeling that a great many people in the pews and in the communion line feel just that way.

Hmmm I think still the answer is a little more complicated particularly because some issues as abortion are treated with more severity than others. My personal opinion for example with abortion is that if the person is openly pro choice and encouraging abortion then they shouldn’t. For other issues I would ask a priest.

Having said that I think that most Americans are totally erred as to communion. I am not from the us and outside the us most people would not go to communion. Here every single person goes and I have had people in the church argue with me that you have to go to communion always no matter what and no matter if you are inmortal sin. That is wrong. In fact if there is a doubt we should err on the safe side and not go. If we are not sure if that person who disagrees with contraception should or shouldn’t go then that person shouldn’t go until he/she has spoken with a priest.

We are held to avoid sinful thoughts and actions as taught by the Magisterium, including avoiding setting a bad example for others, and speaking against those teachings. It we do not learn what is taught by the Church, when it is available to us, we increase the willfulness of any error that results from our ignorance.

Pope Paul VI wrote in 1965, Dignitatis Humanae: “On their part, all men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and His Church, and to embrace the truth they come to know, and to hold fast to it.”

St. Pope John Paul II wrote in the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, in 1981:When couples, by means of recourse to contraception, separate these two meanings that God the Creator has inscribed in the being of man and woman and in the dynamism of their sexual communion, they act as “arbiters” of the divine plan and they “manipulate” and degrade human sexuality-and with it themselves and their married partner-by altering its value of “total” self-giving. Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality.

Aren’t we meant to be considering our own disposition to receive the Holy Eucharist and practicing custody of our eyes to anyone else receiving?

Those are in a state of mortal sin should not receive.

Also, the Detroit archbishop has asked Catholics who support so-called gay “marriage” to refrain from receiving.

To be clear, this is not a light matter.

As one priest told me, “to come Communion without proper disposition is like cheating on your spouse, coming home with your spouse knowing, and acting like it never happened.”

We all have an obligation to try and form our consciences. Faking our way through life and making excuses is a very dangerous thing to do when it comes to the state of our souls.

God sees through all.

Communion isn’t really something that can be policed, but priests and Catholic moral scholars [edited] don’t see the writing on the wall when entire congregations go to Communion every mass and the Confession line is non-existent.

There’s always someone out there who will say something like “yeah, well, for all the priest knows, I go to Confession/Mass somewhere else”.

Believe me, they can tell what’s going and so can I.

Some people aren’t nearly as good at hiding things as they may think.

Many have pointed that out and the response is usually “who are you to judge?” or similar. Yet at the Spanish, Polish, and other Masses, many know to stay in their pews. Perhaps their concept of communion disposition is different, I don’t know. Or maybe it’s the Anglos who manage to rationalize their sins better.

Who is talking about standing in judgment of particular people? What is being asked is a general question related to the good of the whole Church, about which issues Catholics can, within the limits of prudence, have and express opinions.

In my experience, Mexicans, Poles, etc., tend to have a more vibrant cultural Catholicism than English-speakers do. Hence what priests no longer speak about in homilies they still hear at home. Probably many, maybe even most, English-speakers don’t know they shouldn’t receive – don’t even know what it really means to receive in the first place – who would’ve told them?

=ProVobis;12194268]Many have pointed that out and the response is usually “who are you to judge?” or similar.


That’s everyone’s favorite cop-out. It’s only meant to silence a discussion so they can continue on with their selfish ways. :tsktsk:

Stating the Truth is not judging. :yup:

Those like to whine about judging need to read:

Yet at the Spanish, Polish, and other Masses, many know to stay in their pews. Perhaps their concept of communion disposition is different, I don’t know. Or maybe it’s the Anglos who manage to rationalize their sins better.

It was like that last time I went to Mass in Germany.

A lot of people really don’t know better. Others, I’m sure, just don’t care. :shrug:

You don’t need to be calling people “stupid”. You should be able to discuss things without resorting to that type of language.

Thanks for the link. Very useful.

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