By Judie Brown
Christ is truly present—body, blood, soul, and divinity—in the Holy Eucharist. We must venerate His presence, honor Him for all He has done for us, and remain reverent at all times. Yet, too many do not take His presence seriously. Some even mock Him. Now is the time for each of us—both clergy and lay people—to stop this disgrace and return the respect to Our Lord that He deserves.
More than 10 years ago, American Life League began focusing attention on the abuses brought toward the body and blood of Christ in the sacrament of Holy Communion—a sacrament defined by the Church as the source and summit of Christian life.
It has been our mission, so to speak, to bring to the attention of the Catholic bishops in America the many pro-abortion public figures who flaunt their Catholic identity as part of their defense of abortion and similar atrocities. Whether it is former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews, or Vice President Joe Biden, the scandal is no less severe. There is no Catholic who should support the evil action of abortion and then have the audacity to receive the body of Christ in Holy Communion.
But the sad fact is that Catholic bishops, for the most part, do not see this as a major concern. And so the travesty continues. We have come to perceive this resistance toward protecting the body and blood of Christ from sacrilege as part of a much larger phenomenon within the Church. It is clear that many priests and bishops prefer to test the winds of public opinion before deciding whether or not to obey canon law or even protect the sacrifice of Mass itself from disrespect.
For example, today in our culture it is not unheard of for homosexual couples professing to be Catholic to attempt to receive the sacrament of Holy Eucharist during Mass. But when one particular Rhode Island Catholic priest, Father Brian Sistare, refused the sacrament to such a couple—after attempting to explain the Church’s teaching before deciding that denying the body of Christ was his moral obligation—the criticism was quite blaring in the local Church community.
The same is true of bishops’ statements like those of Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, who said in April of this year “that Catholics who support gay marriage yet take the sacrament of Communion are contradicting themselves.” Even though homosexuality is, according to Catholic doctrine, a sinful activity, it would appear that the media, once again, begs to differ.
And the story gets worse. Within the Church today, there are other transgressions that come to mind even though the bishops have issued guidelines against them. We have seen dancers performing during a Mass, clowns parading in a Church during Mass, and even a Mass specifically called a “circus Mass.” We also see luminaries like Los Angeles’ Archbishop Gomez presiding over such disrespectful events masquerading as the Holy Catholic Mass.
Such events strongly suggest that the very idea of Christ being truly present in a sacrament that is the center of Catholic life—and the Mass itself—is somehow either not accepted at all or rarely thought of in terms of respect for Christ and His teachings.
In a culture saturated with all manner of offense against the dignity of the human being, we should be able to expect more from Catholic leaders within the Church. And it all starts with the recognition that indeed Christ, the author of every human being’s life, is truly present in the sacrament of Holy Eucharist, that He is the source of the strength we need to continue in this battle, and that He is, in fact, God Himself.
No form of disrespect toward Him or the Mass itself should be tolerated. Why? Because when it is, the case against attacks on human dignity itself is weakened. If the Church is unwilling to defend the body of Christ from sacrilege, how effective can it be at defending the vulnerable human person?
What is needed today is veneration and adoration of God and respect for His creatures, not toleration of evil.
Judie Brown is president and cofounder of American Life League and a three-time appointee to the Pontifical Academy for Life.