Communion to Gays and Divorced


I know that Holy Communion is denied to divorced and re-married persons. If such a person presents themselves for Communion it would be correct to deny them Communion, yes? Or would it be wrong to make the judgement call, as it is possible that, unknown to us, they could have received sacramental confession 5 minutes before, and are now reconciled with the Church. We could hardly ask them during Mass, have you confessed your sins?


I assume you are asking if the bread minister should refuse them…?

I think Matthew 18:15 is pretty applicable here:

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.* 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

The important thing about this, is that you give an honest effort to help the brother/sister to turn to the Lord. If a private conversation from you is enough to compel the person to receive reconciliation, then that would be great. But if they need more conviction and help from others in the community, then that is what we should do. I think, our pastor should be the person to make the judgment to withold Eucharist to someone. If he gives you the instruction and support to withold, then you are acting in obedience to God.

Whenever we have concerns about abuses and sinfullness in one another, we ought to try to resolve things quietly first, then in a manner of respecting order and leadership, we can pursue things further.*


That is not the call of an extraordinary minister. Only a Priest or Deacon should deny communion if the recipient is guilty of public scandal.

An extraordinary ,minister distributes Holy Communion, that is all! No blessings and certainly no discerning worthiness.


One of the conditions for being denied communion is that they are obstinate even after being corrected by their superior (the pastor or bishop).


Personally, I call this matter “The 1650 Factor”.

I think the burden of responsibility is on the individual person who is in the adulterous relationship.

Why do I call it “The 1650 Factor”? The Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 1650, deals with it specifically.

There has been a whole lot of discussion, worldwide, about this situation. The upcoming Synod on the Family is supposed to be taking up this matter in their discussions. Many in the Church have voiced their serious concerns that Pope Francis will somehow change the Church’s teaching on this matter since he has approved of Walter Cardinal Kasper’s pre-Synodal statement in which he suggested some relaxing of the Church’s teachings on this point.

Many in the Church are holding their breath on this one.


:thumbsup: Right. It is never the call of the EMHC to make. EMHCs do not need to take on the role of sacramental police. It’s not their job.


Yes, but I would say that doesn’t mean that the EMHC lives in a vacuum during communion time. That is to say, if someone presented himself and said, “I’m going to take this wafer and give it to my witchcraft-practicing neighbor so she can use it for one of her whammys.” I think the EMHC would not be breaking any ecclesiastical laws if he momentarily stopped proceedings, fetched the priest and reported what happened, and let him make the call. Granted, that’s a far-fetched scenario, but I could also see doing the same if a rainbow sasher came up. It’s the difference between circumstantial evidence (“Gays and divorced” [and re-married]), and direct evidence.


Well, sure, common sense needs to prevail.


Yes, but if that happened, it wouldn’t be a matter of the EMHC judging the state of a person’s soul, would it?

Granted, that’s a far-fetched scenario, but I could also see doing the same if a rainbow sasher came up.

Different scenario. Do we know that a ‘rainbow sasher’ is in a state of mortal sin? That judgment would require knowledge of the state of a person’s soul…


No it wouldn’t. But some seem to be arguing that EMHC’s are strictly communion vending machines and that an EMHC has absolutely no recourse ever even in the face of manifest sin. I don’t think that’s the case.

Different scenario. Do we know that a ‘rainbow sasher’ is in a state of mortal sin? That judgment would require knowledge of the state of a person’s soul…

I don’t think you have to know his state to appeal to the priest. Usually, in these cases, it is known beforehand that rainbow sashers intend to come up and hopefully, the priest or bishop has instructed EMHC’s not to distribute. I assume we agree that a priest can direct an EMHC not to distribute to someone. It’s like not being the police, but always having the ability, sometimes the duty, to call the police.


I did not intend just an EMHC denying the Eucharist, I really meant anyone, priest or deacon included.

Who can judge a person’s soul? My original point seems to have got lost in translation, ie that we do not know if the ‘adulterer’ has been reconciled with God or not, if he were to present himself for Communion. We have to put some measure of trust in the individual.


No. It would not be correct for an EM to deny communion to anyone.
Most priests don’t even do that.
They might privately instruct someone not to partake…but it’s pretty rare that any Church official publicly excommunicates someone.


Indeed, EM’s are to observe that the host is consumed and treated properly.
Occasionally, we see people attempting to take it away for some reason; it’s ok to gently halt them and ask them to consume.
Momentarily stopping the proceedings and fetching the priest…in the middle of Mass? Really??? I can’t see that happening.

NOW: what is a “rainbow sasher”???
I presume you mean someone who you deem to be obviously gay by their appearance.
If that is so, that is quite a scary thought, and you need to do an examination of conscience on judgment others by their appearance (bigotry). Not to mention arrogance.:frowning:

You have NO business judging anyone’s right to partake. Especially based on their appearance.
I truly HOPE I misunderstood you.


No one asks married people what they did with who in the bedroom last night.
Why make assumptions of divorced or gay people?



In some circumstances their spouse might.



This is what he meant by “rainbow sasher”:

Basically, it’s a movement whereby the people put on a rainbow sash and present themselves for Communion in order to make a statement.


Well, there are certain situations where even a EMHC could deny. I’m thinking of a known planned parenthood doctor in scrubs with a name badge.

Communion is not a guarantee or a right. And this is the trouble with EMHC being used so often is that it is really a priests job to help the flock and protect Our Lord. But even a EMHC can do so. If I was a EMHC in OKC and I knew a satanist was going to try to take the Host, I would stop it. Not only that but EMHC are kind of a “police” of sorts because they should be instructed to see that the Host is consumed. And there are many judgement calls with regards to age and if the person is Catholic or not.


Here’s the difference in your scenarios.

The first person is explicitly telling the EMHC that he or she is ineligible to receive the Eucharist.

In the second case the EMHC in denying the so-called “Rainbow Sasher” (shame on you for name calling BTW), would be making a judgement based on his or her assumptions. And they’re clearly neither authorized nor competent to make such a judgement. The EMHC would be over reaching is he declined a person the Eucharist without clear prior instruction from competent authority.

Even if the person was actually wearing the sash at the time they came up to receive, they may not know that it is a symbol of gay rights activism (see? Two can play at far-fetched scenarios).

So, at the end of the day, practically speaking, it is NEVER ok for an EMHC to deny someone asking for the Eucharist without explicit prior instruction from competent authority.


I see. I was not aware of them.
Thank you for the clarification. I’m glad it wasn’t the kind of bigotry it sounded like, and I apologize to scottgun for that part of my indignant post.



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