Cordileone Hasn’t Done Enough: Public Sin and Reception of Holy Communion

Yesterday, I wrote on the action of Archbishop Cordileone to instruct his priests not to admit Nancy Pelosi to Holy Communion should she present herself to receive the Blessed Sacrament at Mass. I said that ever since Humanae Vitae a devil has made the American hierarchy mute. The predictable reactions show that this demon has also made them very dumb, especially when we consider the long standing precepts of Mother Church on who must be excluded from Holy Communion.

I find it amazing that we are encouraged to only look forwards these days, and even told it can be wrong to “go backwards.” Recall that just a few days ago, Pope Francis said, “Going backwards is not Christian…” (cf. Speech of Pope Francis 13 May 2022). Granted, he was trying to say that Amoris Laetitia is the new Thomism and a bunch of other things, but given the other moves these days – particularly in liturgy – towards progress only, and no conservation of tradition, it becomes crystal clear there is something scary back there. They just want to protect our sensibilities.

When we do look back even just a little, we can see why nobody wants us to discover what is back there — it’s crystal clear and things are said so well! Take for instance, instructions on when a bishop must exclude a person from reception of Holy Communion. Cardinal Burke wrote a manuscript on Canon 915 that is quite fascinating to see that nothing today is as clear as it has been in the past.

Among many other similarly worded pronouncements, he cites a ruling of the Ruthenian Church and its provincial council at Zamostia in 1720 which said:

Lest occasion be given to some scandal or loss of good name, the Holy Eucharist is not to be denied to the unworthy sinner because of some secret sin, above all, if the priest giving Communion will have received news of it from the confession of the sinner himself, seeking publicly the Eucharist.

Heretics, schismatics, the excommunicated, the interdicted, public criminals, the openly infamous, as also prostitutes, the publicly cohabiting, major usurers, fortune-tellers, and other evil-doing men of the same kind, however, are not to be admitted to the reception of this Sacrament, according to the precept of Christ: “Do not give the Holy to dogs.”

Card. Burke, The Discipline Regarding the Denial of Holy Communion to Those Obstinately Persevering in Manifest Grave Sin, PONTIFICIA UNIVERSITÀ GREGORIANA PERIODICA 96 (2007) 3-58 quoting “Synodus Provincialis Ruthenorum habita in Civitate Zamosciae”, in J.D. Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, Graz 1961, vol. 35, coll. 1492-1493 at note 38.

I added the bold … That’s so clear, right?

Before anyone jumps around saying “but that’s Ruthenian, we’re Roman Latins!”, Burke cites can 855 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law which is identical, but omits the “Do not give the Holy to dogs.” I think that’s an unfortunate side effect of Roman decorum, sadly. (But worthy to note that both St. Thomas Aquinas AND St. Alphonsus Ligouri state this same exact phrase: do not give the Holy to dogs, so it’s only modern Rome that gets nervous). Meanwhile, the old canon 855 says it clearly as well (but leaves out the poor dogs):

Can.855 §I . The publicly unworthy, who are the excommunicated, the interdicted and the manifestly infamous, unless their penance and conversion have been established and they will have first made up for the public scandal, are to be excluded from the Eucharist.

§2. The minister is also to refuse occult sinners, if they request secretly and he will not have recognized them as converted; not, however, if they publicly request and he is not able to pass over them without scandal. 

id. quoting 1917 CIC at note 62.

The order between private sin and public sin is reversed, but it’s clear that the concepts are crystal clear. No wonder they don’t want us looking backwards!!!

Not Just Mute, but Dumb

So, if Archbishop Cordileone was such a bad man as National Catholic Reporter contributor Daniel P. Horan O.F.M. suggests in his attack tweet here:

Tweet by Daniel Horan OFM suggesting that Cordileone is an Idolator and other awful things.

If Cordileone was wrong, as Horan alleges, then what about all the other people who are to be excluded from reception of Holy Communion? What about the

  • Heretics
  • schismatics
  • the excommunicated
  • the interdicted
  • public criminals
  • the openly infamous
  • prostitutes
  • the publicly cohabiting
  • major usurers
  • fortune-tellers
  • other evil-doing men of the same kind?

Surely there are no people publicly cohabitating in San Francisco, right?

The bar has been removed in the AmChurch. Looking backwards makes it clear that Archbishop Cordileone has not engaged in scandal. In fact, the real argument here is whether he must do more if he is to keep up with what Mother Church has long told us. I think there’s an easy argument just on one of those points – the publicly cohabitating – that makes it obvious to anyone that there’s more work to be done here.

We must keep one idea in mind here, the feigned indignation of Horan and the others is well known — the attacks of the mute demon lovers I referred to yesterday, have been well known. Burke makes a point to include the comment of John M. Huels on the current Canon 915, wherein he predicts the devils of AmChurch:

The fact of actual scandal is, moreover, culturally relative. What causes scandal in one part of the world may not cause scandal elsewhere. In North America the faithful often are more scandalized by the Church’s denial of sacraments and sacramentals than by the sin that occasions it, because it seems to them contrary to the mercy and forgiveness commanded by Christ.

id. quoting John M. Huels in title: J.P. BEAL. – J.A. CORIDEN – T.J. GREEN (edd.), New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, New York 2000, 1111 at note 76.

I think that’s a nice way to say that AmChurch has given idiots the loudest voices in the affairs of the church.

Cordileone has merely acted on one of the most egregious cases where Holy Communion should be denied, but the precepts of the Church show that there’s many many more that ought to be excluded.

Meanwhile, I want to apologize to my dog. I know he has more sense of the holy than Daniel Horan and the others attacking Cordileone. Poor Cordileone, though… if they attack him so badly for the obvious, imagine if he tried to fully implement Canon 915! Pray a rosary for him and for your bishop!

This article, Cordileone Hasn’t Done Enough: Public Sin and Reception of Holy Communion is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
Do not repost the entire article without written permission. Reasonable excerpts may be reposted so long as it is linked to this page.

John B. Manos

John B. Manos, Esq. is an attorney and chemical engineer. He has a dog, Fyo, and likes photography, astronomy, and dusty old books published by Benziger Brothers. He is the President of the Bellarmine Forum.
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  • John Raymond says:

    Years ago, I would not even understand why this us an issue. But now, open contempt for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

    It is very tough to see. And Our Lady insulted by Rome. My dear Sister gave me a statue of Her with Child Jesus in spring 1967. After that lights out on Her except a tiny bit from my Dad… I could have used devotion to Her growing up, but wolves wanted t9 please Protestants, and She had to go…

  • John Raymond says:

    Edit… why this would even be debated. Of course someone committing grave sin cannot receive Blessed Sacrament. (Sorry, I write confusing posts sometimes)

    • John B. Manos says:

      That’s the amazing part – and why I tie it together with the devil making the boy mute. You are right that this is so basic, that it should not even be a blip on any one’s attention. But this has been the problem since Humanae Vitae AND what Our Lady highlighted at Akita – communion in the hand feeds this mess.

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