"Do not give what is holy to dogs, neither throw your pearls in front of pigs." (Matthew 7:6). Painful words. Strong injunction. But understandable admonition. Realistic situation. This is why in principle, the combined conclusion of moral and sacramental theology of solid and long standings is that Holy Communion may not be given to public sinners.
Thus, as consistently taught by the Catholic Church pursuant to the binding articles of Faith she professes and the standing norms of morals she adheres to, Holy Communion affirms and adheres to the following truths: First, it means nothing less than receiving the Most Sacred Body and Blood of Christ Himself. Second, the recipient wherefore cannot but be in the state of sanctifying grace to worthily have Holy Communion. Third, someone therefore in the publicly known state of grave or mortal sins—such as precisely public sinners—should not be given Holy Communion lest the he or she becomes even a bigger sinner by the offense of downright sacrilege.
It is the responsibility and accountability of the Minister of Holy Communion to decide whom to give Holy Communion due to presumption of the worthiness of the recipient, and whom to deny it on account of sound conviction of unworthiness by reason of publicly known serious objective moral offenses—particularly those with wide and intensive adverse social impacts. When the Minister gives Holy Communion to anybody who does not have the strong presumption of worthiness akin to moral certitude—a triple sacrilege is committed, viz., one, the profanation of the Most Sacred Body and Blood of Christ; two, the desecration of the Ministry of Holy Eucharist, and three, the blasphemy by the recipient.
This is why as a matter of doctrinal principle and moral norm, someone known to the public as reasonably perceived or actually known guilty not simply of one, neither only three nor merely five but more grave or mortal sins of such as gross stealing, flagrant graft and corrupt practices, and other glaring big moral misdeeds with extensive and intensive adverse effects to society, fits the reality of a public sinner. To conclude otherwise, i.e., that the person concerned is holy or saintly, is not only irrational but also futile. And to give the Most Sacred Body and Blood of Christ to the same, is not simply highly offensive to the sensitivity of the simple Christian faithful in general but also—and primarily so—means a big contempt of inherent divinity and intrinsic sanctity of Christ Himself. That is why giving Holy Communion in public to a public sinner is a public scandal.
The public scandal thus caused among the Christian faithful concerned is based on following factors: One, there would appear to be no more distinction between upright and shameful living, between those who try their best to avoid sin and those who commit a long litany of grave or mortal sins as a matter of course. Two, it gives the impression that the Church herself is not only condoning but even blessing public sinners precisely by giving them the Most Holy Communion. Three, public sinners thus simply continue in their heinous sins, even multiply in number, and thereby offend, harm and ravage more and more people.
28 March 2008