Priest refuse to give communion during mass?

Can a priest refuse to give an individual the eucharist during the communion procession if the priest believes the individual isn’t worthy (has personal knowledge of the individual’s grave sin?) or is it up to the individual?

The priest is required to offer the Sacraments ( including Communion) to all those who are not prohibited by law. (Canon 213)

Individuals are to evaluate their own State of Grace prior to each reception of Holy Communion.

The priest cannot act on anything he has heard in the confessional, and that would include dening someone Holy Communion for an unrepentant sin that was told to him in confession. This would generally apply to anything the priest was told in confidence.

If the sin is both grave and manifest (publically known), the priest is not only entitled to withhold communion, but is obligatated to do so (Canon 915)

Yes the priest may do that, but there are very strict circumstances where they may do that. If one is known to be not a Catholic, or one has come out publicly criticizing the Church or openly opposing Church teachings of a grave nature, then the priest may deny Communion.

yes there are times when a priest must exercise his pastoral responsibility and refuse communion to someone he knows is not worthily disposed. That should be very rare however, and happen only after he has counselled the person privately and warned him not to approach communion until he has rectified the situation and been absolved.

It is of course, even though it happens in public, no one else’s business and not a legitimate topic for speculation by anyone else who may be present.

This is an issue here in DC and “catholic” politicians. It was a BIG issue two years ago.

Thanks for the informative responses.
I imagine it could be very embarrassing for someone to be refused communion at mass.

Are people who are married civilly, but not in the church, considered to have committed grave sins? I think technically they are, but I know of families where the parents were married civilly and attend church and receive communion regularly.

Depends on what you mean by “personal knowledge” of the grave sin. Obviously anything the priest hears in confession must stay there. However anything else, unless it is publicly known, also cannot be the basis for withholding communion. Only grave sins that are publicly known can be used as the basis for denying communion.

Yes, as would be the case with someone divorced and “remarried.”

We must place the most charitable light on this. The priest may not know the situation, as happens in large parishes. The parishioners may have convalidated or sanated their marriage without your knowledge of the details. There may be other circumstances known only to the priest and persons involved.

Personal knowledge is insufficient. Public record is necessary for living in sin w/o repentance.

It may be a grave sin but it may not be a public sin. The standard for refusing communion is higher than ‘merely’ grave matter.

We have had this debate before and while the priest does have the right to refuse it would be very difficult for him to know that you are in a state of grave sin. Unless he personally witnessed you immediately before mass commit a grave sin, he has no way of knowing if you went to confession the day before, or even before mass.

Could you imagine the uproar if he refused you communion, only to find out that you had been to confession and were free to receive and he simply didn’t know. The public embarrassment at mass…you can bet that the Archbishop gets a phone call or e-mail on this one.

As to the civil marriage v. sacramental marriage…that is ****. I have been married for 12yrs…civil marriage. I wanted to be married outdoors and our religion doesn’t allow that. STUPID!! I didn’t want a full mass, just a simple ceremony. My husband is not religious and at the time I went to mass only when I felt like it, so I didn’t really want a big church todo either. During these 12yrs, I have been through 3 pastors, and they all know my marital status and I have never been refused. Married is married…plain and simple

So you refuse to accept the authority of the Church, and you could take steps toward convalidation but you don’t wanna, and yet you demand to participate in a sacramental life as if nothing is wrong?

I appreciate the information and I know usually the answers to these questions aren’t that simple.
One final question on this subject (and I apologize b/c I’m new to this forum and I’m sure this subject has been covered before). If a husband and wife do not have “marital relations” are they considered married by the Church? That is, if they are civilly married (so marriage not recognized) and do not have marital relations, is that still considered a grave sin?

unless you know for a fact these individuals did not confess and receive absolution for their percieved sins right before communion, you are not in a position to judge their disposition for reception. btw NO EMHC, a layperson, is in any position to make such a judgment, which is for on who has authority to absolve sin alone.

It would be a grave sin to mimic the sacrament of matrimony with a civil ceremony, but if they do not engage in marital relations, or anything else that is generally reserved for married people, remaining in that situation is not a further sin.

The act of marrying outside the Church is itself grave matter. This can be rectified via a convalidation of the marriage. They can also go to Confession and receive absolution for this sin as part of the convalidation process.

Sexual relations while in an invalid marriage would be another item of grave matter, related to but distinct from the disobedience to the Church’s laws on marriage. The couple could also go to Confession for this, and could abstain from relations until their marriage is convalidated.

The marriage rule is simply one I personally do not agree with. I am not going to go to confession for having a civil wedding ceremony because 1) I am not sorry for making that choice and 2) I remain married and therefore confession/absolution is meaningless in this instance and 3) nowhere in the Bible does it state that a marriage is only valid it is takes place in a church, by a priest and it that priest agrees that the marriage is a good idea and agrees to marry you. This is a rule man up by our church leaders that I think needs to be re-evaluated.

And you are not simply willing to go to the rectory and get the marriage convalidated, quietly?

Can. 227 The lay Christian faithful have the right to have recognized that freedom which all citizens have in the affairs of the earthly city. When using that same freedom, however, they are to take care that their actions are imbued with the spirit of the gospel and are to heed the doctrine set forth by the magisterium of the Church. In matters of opinion, moreover, they are to avoid setting forth their own opinion as the doctrine of the Church.

Can. 750 §1. A person must believe with divine and Catholic faith all those things contained in the word of God, written or handed on, that is, in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the Church or by its ordinary and universal magisterium which is manifested by the common adherence of the Christian faithful under the leadership of the sacred magisterium; therefore all are bound to avoid any doctrines whatsoever contrary to them.

§2. Each and every thing which is proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church concerning the doctrine of faith and morals, that is, each and every thing which is required to safeguard reverently and to expound faithfully the same deposit of faith, is also to be firm-ly embraced and retained; therefore, one who rejects those propositions which are to be held definitively is opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Can. 752 Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it.

At least you can’t claim invincible ignorance…

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica][FONT=Arial,Helvetica] We don’t pick our moral principles by following our feelings[/FONT][/FONT].

We don’t go by bible alone principles in the Catholic Church.

I am at a loss to understand how a Catholic would think that her marriage is in any way better or more proper or holy when witnessed by some non-believing freemason civil judge than by a Catholic priest.


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