Theologically, can a parish priest decide on his own who he gives Communion to?

****I really need to know this. As far as I know, I am a Catholic in good standing. I go to Church weekly.

 The only thing I have done differently is report this particular priest to the Bishop for 1-not celebrating the Holy Days of Obligation, and 2--for the priest not saying, "the Body of Christ' when he gave Communion.  Since our meeting with the Bishop, he has corrected this.

 Now, this priest this Sunday refused to give me Communion.  (I went to other parishes while this matter was under resolution with the Bishop, btw.)  When I presented my cupped hands to the priest, he turned away from me, and went to the next person in line.  I kept standing there waiting.  Finally, I asked: 'why?'  He said to me, and I quote him exactly, "You have no dignity."  I said, 'I have no sins'.  

 No matter, he ignored me and went on to others...

I went back to my pew and cried, while my knees turned to rubber. I am 70 years old. I have done nothing wrong. Can a priest just ignore a parishioner on his own whim, legally, morally? gzh

According to the instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum,
In distributing Holy Communion it is to be remembered that “sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them”. Hence any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion.
(Source, ¶ 91). Unless we’re missing something here, the behavior you describe strikes me as unlikely for a priest, and definitely something you would have a right to complain about to the bishop.

unless the Priest has knowledge of you committing a mortal sin and not being repentant about it, he cannot deny you any sacrament

i suggest talking with the Bishop again. this priest is letting his personal feelings get in the way of his duty to the Church

The only case a priest can refuse communion is in accordance with canon 915 (publically known serious sin).

IIRC, you took some issues with the priest to the bishop? If this is the case then the priest is inappropriate retaliating against you, which is a very serious matter. Sadly, I don’t think there will be a resolution unless either you or the priest changes parishes, so I would suggest writing a letter to the bishop telling him about the issue and that you will be attending the next nearest parish (by name), and then proceed to make yourself at home at the neighboring parish. If the priest is removed from the parish then and only then go back there.

I live near you, and hope wherever that priest is I don’t end up going to Mass and wanting to recieve communion.
God Bless you and I hope all went well with Bishop C.

you don’t have to worry about it, the priest’s sins will not affect the Sacrament and the graces your receive, for they come from Jesus Christ.

our priest made this point during his Homily for Corpus Christi. he said that in the Gospel, it was Christ who prayed and blessed the bread and fish, and the miracle happened in the hands of the Apostles, including Judas. and this is why even though a priest may be sinful, it does not affect the Eucharist because the graces come from Jesus

Well, I was just worried that I might just stick my tongue out at him!!!:p:p:p

oh, hahahahah!

well, we receive communion because of Christ, not because of the priest. just ignore the priest

You got it…

I would discuss this with the Bishop and if the matter continues, I’d write a letter to Rome with copies to both the priest AND the Bishop.

Wow, this priest is in serious need of counseling! I’d change parishes and certainly describe the incident to the Bishop but don’t advertise the parish you choose, who knows what this priest might tell your new pastor!

Technically, you should always stick your tongue out at the priest when you receive communion as it is more reverant than CITH.

To the poster- you would probably be a lot less likely to encounter this problem at a tridentine Latin mass. Check below to find where it is celebrated near by

Yeah. I would definitely switch parishes.


Priests abusing their power is as old as the Church. Human beings abusing their power goes back to Adam and Eve. It happens every day in every professional everywhere in the world.

I saw this happening at an independent chapel several years ago. Some of the “parishioners” were pressing a lawsuit against the priest, yet went through the motions of asking him for communion, to which he denied them, reciting canon law to explain the situation. Their motives in repeatedly going up for communion were done to solidify them in the case which was totally unrelated to his priesthood or the liturgy. I’m not implying the OP didn’t act in good faith, but, in my opinion the parishioners at the chapel were using the sacramental event in a very sacriligeous way. Isn’t that sufficient grounds for denying the sacrament?

Perhaps you could avoid the priest and receive communion from an extraordinary minister.

We don’t know that for certain. Even at that point, unless he knows with 100% certainty, he should not be denying anyone Holy Communion. Unless these individuals were excommunicated or in grave mortal sin (that the priest knows about), Holy Communion should not be denied.

In the OP’s case, the priest acted incorrectly. He let his own personal feeling interfere with his presbyteral duties. This was an abuse.

True but in most professions there are laws to protect the abused!

That is why the venerable Pope John Paul II ordered the CDWDS to promulgate Redemptionis Sacramentum. Furthermore, what some may not realize is that this document was writtten with the collaboration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed at the time by the former Jusep Cardinal Ratzinger.

**I had no idea that this priest would turn away from me. I did not use this event to make a point at all. I simply went up in line to receive. Four weeks had passed. The priest now says the words: ‘the Body of Christ’, so I thought all would be well.

Btw, to the person who believes that receiving Christ on the tongue is more appropriate, this priest will ONLY DELIVER Jesus to cupped hands, NOT on the tongue. He ignores those people too.

The saddest part of all this stuff is that the parishioner is driven away from the parish in order to survive. Now I must go to another parish, add 5 more miles to the driving, and cause no disturbance in any way, shape, or form.

In the old days, back east, on the other side of the Mississippi, we could all walk to a Catholic Church, within 10 blocks, in any direction.

Now we must drive, at least 5 miles, sometimes 12 miles, sometimes it is 15 miles.**

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