The Pope Has No Prisons for Disobedient Hierarchy

Barbara Kralis
April 27, 2004
Reproduced with Permission

Therefore, "do everything in your power to protect the Eucharist from every irreverence"1

If every cardinal, bishop, priest, and layman submitted to the authority of the Pope, as they are obligated to do, the Catholic church would not be suffering its current great infirmity - we might even say, its schismata.2

I refer to the reality that the Pope cannot make his cardinals and bishops obey; the cardinals and bishops cannot make their priests obey; the priests cannot make their laymen obey. Too bad the Pope doesn't have prisons.

Of all of the many liturgical abuses attacking the Church today, none compare in gravity with the untold numbers of sacrilegious receptions of Holy Communion committed by manifest (known, public), obstinate, persistent sinners and freely allowed by our negligent U.S. Cardinals and Bishops each year.

Due to the recent promulgation of a new liturgical document that deals specifically with Eucharistic abuses, the world is now watching for any signs of life from U.S. Cardinals and Bishops. Let's hold a mirror up to their noses to see if they're breathing! If they're not, they need some CPR - Catholic Pulmonary Resuscitation.

Here's substantiation on the new document proscribing liturgical Eucharistic abuse.

On April 23, 2004, Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect of The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, promulgated a long awaited 70-page liturgical norm or 'Instruction' entitled, 'Redemptionis Sacramentum... On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist' (or 'The Sacrament of Redemption), heretofore referred to as 'RS.'

In this clearly written Instruction, we are firmly directed: "let everyone do all that is in their power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected."3

The Pope said it is the duty of all Catholic clergy and laity to adhere to church teachings:

"The judgment of one's state of grace obviously belongs only to the person involved, since it is a question of examining one's conscience. However, in cases of outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm, the Church, in her pastoral concern for the good order of the community and out of respect for the sacrament, cannot fail to feel directly involved. The Code of Canon Law [915] refers to this situation of a manifest lack of proper moral disposition when it states that those who 'obstinately persist in manifest grave sin' are not to be admitted to Eucharistic Communion."4

Because there are no Papal prisons to incarcerate disobedient cardinals, bishops, priests and laity, each of us must do all that is in our power to protect the Eucharist. This can take different forms of apostolate.

Some lay faithful are withholding money to any bishop's 'second collections' in their parishes. Coupons are being dropped in the bishop's collection (not the 'first' parish collection which is the duty of all laity to support) that read, "No dogma, no dollars."

In addition, many faithful laity have been lobbying the U.S. hierarchy, imploring them to obey the Pope and impose canonical sanctions upon the hundreds of manifest, obstinate, persistent pro abortion Catholic politicians who receive sacrilegious Communions each week.

In fact, it is widely reported that U.S. bishops are coming under "tremendous pressure from ordinary Catholics to do something about politicians who are exploiting their Catholic credentials and trying to ingratiate themselves with Catholic voters . . . when their voting record is completely inconsistent with the principles of the Catholic Church."5

Incredibly, within 36 hours after the world release of the Instruction that said politicians who support abortion rights should be denied the Eucharist, pro abortion Senator John Kerry took Holy Communion during the 6 p.m. mass at Boston's 'anything goes' Paulist Center. Kerry's misguided priest, Fr. Ciccone, said:

"We're following the directive of our Archdiocese. They said we should give Senator Kerry communion."6

John Kerry delivered an unabashed defense of abortion rights on Friday, April 23rd, just hours after Cardinal Arinze said that priests must deny Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights.7

Several other Catholic politicians said they, too, had no intention of altering the way they practice their religion or their politics.8

Sen. Edward Kennedy, the Massachusetts pro abortion Catholic Democrat, stressed that Cardinal Arinze was speaking for himself, not the pope, and said, "I'm a very strong believer in the separation of church and state, as President Kennedy spoke to, and I continue to follow my own beliefs and will continue to serve the people of Massachusetts," he said.9

Nota bene: While not an infallible pronouncement, 'RS' is an authoritative statement of the ordinary Magisterium and therefore a teaching that Catholics are bound to accept and to give their full internal assent. 'RS' was mandated and approved by the Pope as follows:

"This Instruction, prepared by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments by mandate of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II in collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was approved by the same Pontiff on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, 19 March 2004, and he ordered it to be published and to be observed immediately by all concerned."10

Too bad Sen. Kennedy doesn't follow the good example of the politician and Saint Thomas More who declared minutes before having his head chopped off, "I am the King's good servant, but God's first."

Here is what the Church has to say about all Catholics' obligation to adhere to Church's Teachings if they want to be faithful Catholics and be able to receive the Eucharist:

"In matters of faith and morals the bishops speak in the name of Christ, and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent of soul. This religious submission of will and of mind must be shown in a special way to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra."11

Because of John Paul II's transcendent devotion to the Eucharist, 'the gift par excellence' and his enormous concern for the many liturgical abuses concerning the Blessed Sacrament, he promulgated his most personal, perhaps most important Encyclical Letter, entitled 'Ecclesia de Eucharistia' in order to "set forth afresh certain elements of great importance on [the subject of the Eucharist] in view of the ecclesial circumstances of our times."12

On the very date of its promulgation to the world, April 23, 2003, the Pope further announced that another important document, a liturgical Instruction, would soon be introduced, "treating of certain matters pertaining to the discipline of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Those things found in this Instruction are therefore to be read in the continuity with the above mentioned Encyclical Letter."13

'RS' is clearly an important elaboration of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (GIRM) and the Encyclical Letter 'Ecclesia de Eucharistia' (EE), all supported by the Code of Canon Law, "to establish certain norms by which those earlier ones are explained and complemented; and also to set forth for Bishops, as well as for Priests, Deacons and all the lay Christian faithful, how each should carry them out in accordance with his own responsibilities and the means at this disposal."14

Today's Eucharistic abuses "are not to be taken lightly," said Cardinal Arinze.

So determined to preserve the Eucharist from today's degradations, the Congregation's new Instruction addresses 28 grave and current, but not all, abuses, "that puts at risk the validity and dignity of the Most Holy Eucharist: namely, anything that contravenes what is set out above in nn. 48-52, 56, 76-77, 79, 91-92, 94, 96, 101-102, 104, 106, 109, 111, 115, 117, 126, 131-133, 138, 153 and 168. Moreover, attention should be given to the other prescriptions of the Code of Canon Law, and especially what is laid down by canons 1364, 1369, 1373, 1376, 1380, 1384, 1385, 1386, and 1398."15

Why can't the Cardinals and Bishops understand that they cannot continue to allow manifest (public, known), obstinate, persistent sinners to sacrilegiously receive the Eucharistic, the Sacrament which contains the Church's entire spiritual wealth: Christ himself?

So clear are the teachings in this Instruction that one reporter asked Cardinal Arinze, "If a politician is unambiguously pro abortion, should a priest refused him Communion?"

Arinze answered that a "Catholic politician who supports abortion rights is not fit..., then they should not be given. Objectively, the answer is there - the norm of the Church is clear. The Catholic Church exists (also) in the United States and there are bishops there. Let them interpret it."16

If the secular media can understand the Eucharist so clearly, why do our U.S. Cardinals and Bishops not understand that "the Eucharist is the force that generates the church's unity?"17

Perhaps two of the most important teachings in the 'RS' are the following two paragraphs that give us the Holy Remedy:

[183.] "In an altogether particular manner, let everyone do all that is in their power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected. This is a most serious duty incumbent upon each and every one, and all are bound to carry it out without any favouritism."

[184.] "Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of Christ's faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff."18

To help in this important lobbying effort, please go to this article19 where you will find clear, specific details to prepare and file a 'generic denunciation package' with any U.S. bishop. Chuck Wilson, Executive Director of St. Joseph Foundation,20 San Antonio, TX stated: "The Saint Joseph Foundation will be happy to assist any member of the faithful in the proper preparation of a denunciation."


1 'RS', n.183. [Back]

2 "Schism is the refusal to submit to the authority of the Pope or to hold communion with members of the church subject to him." The Catholic Dictionary, by Donald Attwater; Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n.52. [Back]

3 'RS', n. 183. [Back]

4 JPII Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n.37; CIC, n.915. [Back]

5 Former Vatican Ambassador Ray Flynn, Washington Post Newspaper, 4/24/04, "Pro-Choice Politicians Not Fit for Communion", by Williams and Cooperman. [Back]

6 Associated Press Newswire, 4/25/04, "Kerry takes Communion after Vatican edict", by Jennifer Peter. [Back]

7 Associated Press Newswire, Fredericksburg News, "Kerry Affirms Support for Abortion Rights", by Nancy Benac, 4/25/04. [Back]

8 ibid. [Back]

9 ibid. [Back]

10 'RS', n.186. [Back]

11 Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen gentium), ch. 3, § 25. [Back]

12 'RS', preamble n.2; EE, n. 21; AAS 95 (2003) p.433-475. [Back]

13 'RS', preamble n.2. [Back]

14  [Back]


15  [Back]

'RS', n.173

16 Washington Post Newspaper, 4/24/04, "Pro Choice Politicians Not Fit for Communion", by Williams and Cooperman. [Back]

17 'RS', n.12. [Back]

18 JPII, Apostolic Constitution, Pastor bonus, art. 52: AAS 80 (1988) p. 874; CIC, n. 1417 § 1. [Back]

19 [Back]

20 [Back]