Eucharist Wars

Last Sunday there was a brief exchange between Marnie and the new pp, Mendes, after Mass. She suggested that now that there was a new order in place there might be an opportunity to start afresh (the Church Mouse’s words, not Marnie’s). His curt response, before turning his back on her and rushing off, was something to the effect that there would be no dialogue until the Community “showed respect for the Eucharist”.

The ongoing abuse of the Eucharist by these Neocat priests is a soul-destroying business. They use their control of its distribution virtually as a weapon against the Community.

For almost four years members of the community have from time to time been denied Holy Communion or verbally and physically abused at the altar.

It is hardly surprising that many feel unable to receive the host from them. Aborigines – especially but not exclusively children – often bear the brunt of this behaviour, leaving them no choice but to leave the altar (and often the church) confused and humiliated after being publicly challenged about their state of sacramental preparedness at the very point of receiving Communion.

Then there’s the “Body of Christ” issued as a foul invective rather than an invitation to partake of the Eucharist, that has driven many from taking the host from these men, or the hissed command “Consume!” that is often hurled at those who can cope with accepting the host from them at all.

Instead of providing spiritual sustenance, our Masses have become a source of tension, laden with anxiety that these priests might yet again deny someone the Eucharist.

Sunday’s Mass was co-celebrated by Fr Joe Pelle, the new assistant. He made some effort to interact with the Community after Mass, and the blatant evidence of the great divide was pointed out to him (NCs outside, everyone else inside). But of course he is only the curate, although a man senior in years and no doubt experience to the pp – he had to do his master’s bidding and hurry off.

The fleeting spark of hope that this brief encounter kindled was soon dashed by the reality that Pelle is just another Neocat. On Monday he refused to give the Eucharist to a respected senior member of the Community because he was "not in communion with the Church".  Pelle had already refused to shake hands with him at the kiss of peace. The somewhat bewildered parishioner rejoined the queue to try again. This time Pelle gave him the host, but added the counsel: "May you be saved from eternal damnation".

The Community does not know what prompted this display of pastoral care – could there be a little calumny at the presbytery?

A little Canon law

Can. 912 – Any baptised person who is not forbidden by law may and must be admitted to holy communion.

Can. 915 – Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.

Can. 916 – Anyone who is conscious of grave sin may not celebrate Mass or receive the Body of the Lord without previously having been to sacramental confession, unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, which includes the resolve to go to confession as soon as possible.

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