23.6.08

One Must Believe What the Church Teaches to Receive Communion

QUEBEC CITY, June 20, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Cardinal Justin Rigali, the Archbishop of Philadelphia is in Quebec City for the International Eucharistic Congress - a week-long event focusing on the Catholic belief that Christ Himself is present in Holy Communion.

Cardinal Rigali, who is also the President of the Pro-Life Committee of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, discussed with LifeSiteNews.com the issue of worthiness to receive Communion in the context of Catholics who support abortion and same-sex "marriage", contrary to Church teaching.

"We're talking about the very life of the church when we're talking about the Eucharist and participation in the Eucharist," said Cardinal Rigali. "St. Paul tells us that anyone who receives the Eucharist must be prepared. This is the apostolic catechesis."

"St. Justin in the second century tells us: 'The only people who are to go to Communion are people who believe everything we believe'. So it's a question of our faith."

The Cardinal referenced St. Paul warning that, "Anyone that approaches the body of Christ has to examine himself to see where he stands, because if you're not worthy then you're heaping condemnation on yourself."

The Cardinal noted that there are "many people who are confused on the faith, many people are confused on the issue of life." That is why, he said, "the Church has been putting in so much effort to try to clarify the absolute necessity to support, to promote, to cherish human life, and not to do anything to destroy it."

"We invite people to come to the Eucharist," he said, "but we are constantly reminding them 'just a moment now' this belongs to our tradition - the Eucharist is not just something we just receive; it's the body of Christ."

"We have to accept the teachings on the body of Christ and we have to accept the teaching of the body of Christ, which is the Church, on other things to be fully worthy," he said.

While he said that the prime responsibility is that of the person to examine himself before God regarding his worthiness to receive Communion, Cardinal Rigali added that "obviously the Church has an obligation to safeguard the Eucharist against abuses."

"We teach children who prepare for first Holy Communion to be worthy, to be in the state of grace," he said. "That's what we tell everybody - you have to be in the state of grace."

He concluded: "To be in the state of grace you must embrace what the Church embraces, you have to embrace the faith of the Church, and you're not free to receive the Eucharist if you don't embrace the faith of the Church. This is St. Paul, this is St. Justin, this is the whole history of the Church."

Jhesu+Marie,
de Brantigny

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