The Great Holy Communion Debate of 2021

In the Year of our Lord 2021, in the 8th year of the pontificate of Francis, many centuries after the reign of the last Roman Emperor, and half a millenium after the Council of Trent, in the far western reaches of the One Holy Roman Catholic Church, in a region known as the New World, and during the chaos which had consumed that Church for more than half a century since the close of the Second Vatican Council, a new controversy erupted among the bishops of that region.

It seems that the Caesar of that region of the New World stridently declared himself a Catholic of the greatest devotion, more than worthy of the title “devout.” However, certain bishops, who were apparently not aware of the pastoral presumption toward inoffensiveness holding sway in the Church in those days, decided that Caesar’s political positions and decisions were not in accord with the teachings of the Church: in fact, these bishops thought that Caesar typically acted in direct contravention of the requirements of faith and morals held to be compulsory by the Church. These bishops were particularly concerned with the Catholic Caesar’s adamant support of the malodorous practice of the taking of innocent life in the womb, a behavior tragically prevalent in that era, and they therefore sought to deny Caesar the reception of Holy Communion. One such bishop proclaimed:

“Persons who do not believe in the Real Presence, who ignore or do not accept Church teaching, or who are otherwise objectively in a state of serious sin, should not present themselves for Communion. It’s that simple and that serious. If they do, they not only put their own souls in grave jeopardy, but—just as grievously—they also violate the rights of Catholics who do seek to live their faith authentically. This Eucharistic discipline, the coherence of Catholic belief and the behavior it requires, is rooted both in Scripture and constant Church practice. It applies to all Catholics, not merely public officials, and it applies all the time and everywhere.” [1]

Other bishops, those who possessed greater social awareness and pastoral delicacy, and were wise in the ways of progressivism, demurred in making such a harsh judgment, and instead argued that the Church cannot be seen to be lacking in diversity, inclusiveness, and willingness to engage in dialogue. The One Holy Roman Catholic Church must be a welcoming Church, they said, accepting of many viewpoints, merciful, always willing to exercise restraint, and eager to accompany all, even those who find it difficult to accept wholeheartedly the authority of the Church. To bar the Catholic Caesar from Holy Communion would be to politicize and degrade the Eucharist:

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