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USCCB has ‘nothing in the works’ on Biden and Communion

A source close to the USCCB told CNA April 29 that they believe such reports from the AP and the Washington Post are either “just totally ignorant of the Church’s structure,” or meant “to pressure the bishops into silence” regarding the Equality Act.

President Joe Biden waves as he departs Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington April 10, 2021. (CNS photo/Erin Scott, Reuters)

CNA Staff, Apr 29, 2021 / 13:58 pm (CNA).

Recent reports that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops may at their spring general assembly press pro-abortion Catholic politicians not to receive Communion are unfounded, and at best ignorant of ecclesial structure, a source close to the conference has told CNA.

A source close to the USCCB told CNA April 29 that they believe such reports from the AP and the Washington Post are either “just totally ignorant of the Church’s structure,” or meant “to pressure the bishops into silence” regarding the Equality Act.

The Equality Act would amend federal civil rights law and create protected classes for sexual orientation and gender identity, extending those protections to all areas where race is currently protected.

The USCCB has said the bill is “well-intentioned but ultimately misguided,” that its language “discriminates against people of faith and threatens unborn life,” and that it would force “novel and divisive viewpoints regarding ‘gender’ on individuals and organizations.”

At the US bishops’ spring general assembly, either the doctrine committee will present a “broad document” on fitness for reception of Communion, or there will be a vote to consider such a document at the next meeting, in November, the source said.

One bishop is expected to issue a document on Communion early next month.

At the closing of the USCCB’s November 2020 general assembly its president, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, announced the creation of a bishops’ working group to deal with President Joe Biden, who as a prominent Catholic in public life has taken public stances against Church teaching.

“The president-elect has given us reason to believe that his faith commitments will move him to support some good policies. This includes policies of immigration reform, refugees and the poor, and against racism, the death penalty, and climate change,” Archbishop Gomez said Nov. 17.

“He has also given us reason to believe that he will support policies that are against some fundamental values that we hold dear as Catholics. These policies include: the repeal of the Hyde Amendment and the preservation of Roe vs. Wade. Both of these policies undermine our preeminent priority of the elimination of abortion,” said the archbishop.

“This is a difficult and complex situation,” Archbishop Gomez told his fellow bishops. “In order to help us to navigate it, [the conference] will appoint a working group, chaired by Archbishop Vigneron and consisting of the chairmen of the committees responsible for the policy areas at stake, as well as the committee on doctrine and communications.”

In February, a source at the USCCB told CNA that the working group, which was meant to be temporary, had reportedly accomplished its assignment. Archbishop Vigneron “has made a proposal that the full body of bishops issue a pastoral statement later this year on the general issue of worthiness for communion.”

The group advised Archbishop Gomez to send an open letter to Biden before his inauguration outlining areas of policy agreement and disagreement with the conference and presenting the Church’s teachings on those matters. The letter should clarify that not all policy issues share the same gravity, and that some issues are more important than others, the group noted.

Those concerns were included in Archbishop Gomez’s Jan. 20 statement on behalf of the conference. That statement was initially withheld, and then released later in the day around the time Pope Francis issued his statement.

The USCCB working group also called for a teaching document on the Eucharist, CNA had confirmed.

The document should instruct the faithful about worthy reception of Holy Communion, the working group said, and it should also clarify that Catholic politicians have a special responsibility to uphold the Church’s teachings in public life. Catholic holders of public office should not present themselves for Communion if they contradict Church teaching on grave moral issues, and have been warned already by a pastor, the working group stressed.

According to the USCCB source, that “pastoral statement” will be accompanied by “individual bishops” who “are going to issue their own statements on eucharistic coherence.”

In March, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois told a regional conference of the Canon Law Society of America that Catholics who publicly and obstinately advocate for abortion, including politicians, can and should be denied Communion: “I’m talking about their external actions. If they’re living in a way or holding positions that are contrary to church teaching, then the Minister of Communion has to deny them the sacrament,” he said.

Earlier this month Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix released Veneremur Cernui, an apostolic exhortation on the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. It says that “Holy Communion is reserved for those, who with God’s grace make a sincere effort to live this union with Christ and His Church by adhering to all that the Catholic Church believes and proclaims to be revealed by God.”

This is why the Church “requires Catholic leaders who have publicly supported gravely immoral laws such as abortion and euthanasia to refrain from receiving Holy Communion until they publicly repent and receive the Sacrament of Penance,” Bishop Olmsted taught.

In an April 14 column on Eucharistic coherence, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver wrote that “the Eucharist is a gift, not an entitlement, and the sanctity of that gift is only diminished by unworthy reception. Because of the public scandal caused, this is especially true in the case of public officials who persistently govern in violation of the natural law, particularly the pre-eminent issues of abortion and euthanasia, the taking of innocent life, as well as other actions that fail to uphold the church’s teaching regarding the dignity of life.”

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, in a January interview with EWTN Pro-Life Weekly, said that Communion could be withheld “for the sake” of someone’s soul, but only after “private conversations” had taken place between the pastor and the Catholic “to try to move the person in their conscience.”

During his homily at the Vigil Mass for Life in January, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas taught that Catholics should not receive Communion if they are contradicting “fundamental” Church teaching.

In 2004 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith told US bishops in a memo that a Catholic politician “consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws” is engaged in “manifest” and “formal cooperation” in grave sin.

In such a case, the politician’s “pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.”

If the Catholic perseveres in grave sin and still presents himself for Holy Communion, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.”

The CDF memo was an application of canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law, which says that Catholics “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

Both Wilton Cardinal Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, and Bishop William Malooly of Wilmington have said they would not deny Communion to a politician who consistently works toward permissive abortion laws or policies.

In October 2019, while campaigning for president, Biden was denied Communion at a parish in the Diocese of Charleston.

A Charleston diocesan policy states that “Catholic public officials who consistently support abortion on demand are cooperating with evil in a public manner. By supporting pro-abortion legislation they participate in manifest grave sin, a condition which excludes them from admission to Holy Communion as long as they persist in the pro-abortion stance.”


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37 Comments

  1. Monarchs had their favoriti. Pontifex Francis has his embedded strategically within the USCCB. If Pope Francis appears to be fulfilling a long considered moderation of papal authority [other popes including John Paul II had], some alarmed at actual deconstruction he certainly has not loosed his iron grip on affairs that matter to him. Germany’s bishops conference awry in synodality is permitted, apparently in accord with agenda for a Fratelli Tutti globally accommodated Church. America’s bishops conference is effectively controlled by cardinalate appointments Cupich, Tobin, Gregory [with their support bishops McElroy, Malooly et al]. Recall the humiliation of Cardinal DiNardo by Cupich at behest of Francis over DiNardo’s effrontery to his Highness for DiNardo’s presumption that he should initiate an investigation into presbyter hierarchy homosexual networks. That was sidestepped and followed by a Vatican conference on child abuse. There is perhaps irreconcilable difference within USCCB ranks over heretic congressmen [not simply private belief rather proactive effort in promoting abortion and adult sodomy] and the Holy Eucharist. Archbishop Cordileone’s pious insistence of prior counsel is, as an opinion unnecessary when Biden has been repeatedly informed and adamantly refuses to comply with admonitions on our faith. Francis’ early position of a more moderate application of rules reinforced as policy in Amoris holds sway among a large segment of Catholics laity clergy and politician. Without papal support, faithful hierarchy are reduced to endless discussion, meetings, complaints amounting to nothing except to reduce friction to a smoothly flowing well thought out agenda. If complaint becomes serious and eye opening the usual barrage of pious words, prayers, very orthodox testament follows. It works. We can’t let it work further because the scandal of this president is so provocative to the faith that unless it’s opposed with saintly courage we’ll be next in line to the German apostasy.

    • If Biden is denied communion why should those who participate also be denied communion? The bishops and priests who publicly join in the sin by administering the hosts certainly are just as guilty.

      • Actually presbyters and bishops who are complicit in condoning abortion and sodomy have the greater responsibility before God because of their ordination.

      • A valid challenge to a position publicly supported by too many very visible members of the Church’s hierarchy. It is clearly a position I cannot truthfully explain to my children and grandchildren as they face a society spawning an ever increasing arsenal of temptations. Beyond that, my experience is that the effectiveness of catechesis is dependent on the candidate’s trust in the veracity of the parent, the teacher, the pastor, the bishop and the authority of the Church as they try to explain apparent deviations in public view.

    • Since the Church’s “structure” does not allow for contrived national conferences of bishops USCCB) to upstage individual bishops personally responsible for their own domains, and since toady bishops (Cupich, Gregory, McElroy, etc.) would prevent any such actions by the USCCB, perhaps the forthcoming “broad document” should notice, instead, that under canon law Biden has already excommunicated himself.

      Wannabe-pope Biden, by his own notorious actions, has excluded himself, and now as an intruder is raping the Church and calling it consensual (as in “respectfully disagrees”).

      Might as well just tell it like it is. Russian folk literature offers a relevant proverb: “One word of truth outweighs the whole world.”

    • Where have I heard the words,”Pray for our President?”. This is a world full of strife. He is a good man, trying against terrible odds, to help us. And has been able too do so already in these first 4 months in office, thanks to our Dear Lord. Have you thanked our Lord for the stimulous checks and the coronavirus shots you have received? When you prayed did you also thank Him for hekping our president? Oh I am aware of the biggies you are holding up against him, but little steps can make more progress than you imagine. And you should know that The Lords ways are not ours. I would ask you to add our president in your prayers and continue thru out his presidency to ask that our Good and Merciful Lord who in His Wisdom gave us this CATHOLIC president against all odds, to support and direct him in all his presidential and personal decisions. Support the honest man. Thank you. Mrs Jo BIrch

      • He is a good man,(sic)

        “How very unpleasant is wisdom to the unlearned, and the unwise will not continue with her.” Ecclesiasticus 12:6
        “Now concerning spiritual things, my brethren, I would not have you ignorant.” 1 Corinthians 12:1

    • Father, Clarity is charity. It is like a sword in the heart when Biden lifts his hand dangling the Rosary. What would Jen Psaki know of the state of Biden’s Catholicism? Is she a Catholic? No. Et tu, Pelosi? Action always speak louder than words. I don’t know why the USCCB doesn’t get it. These so called Catholics want to normalize abortion and euthanasia. Look what they did to the elderly nursing home patients during Covid. Biden just signed a executive order allowing the use of aborted baby part for medical experimentation. So what of David Daleiden’s video expose on Planned Parenthood’s selling aborted baby parts? Biden’s conscience is anesthetized to truth, to Christ. As long as the USCCB sits the fence and does not speak truth to power the abomination will continue, spread to justification ofall kinds of afflictions and conditions including those who reject their (the left, the communists, the atheists) definition of good and evil. The left has a bill negating conscience rights of medical personnel already written waiting for the senate to approve. Totalitarianism has happened time and again. It is happening now here.

  2. The news reports in the Washington Post, the AP and the Jesuit rag, America, apparently have succeeded in scaring the American bishops off. Here I thought Archbishop Naumann was laying the groundwork with his recent statements for a strong sanction against Biden at the June USCCB meeting. If the good bishop actually believed he could he pull off such a feat, he must be pretty naive. Even if the timid pro-life liberals of the USCCB could have summoned the courage to act so boldly, Francis and Parolin would have stepped in to quash any such action directly or through one of their flunkies. There is no real distance between the top of the Catholic hierarchy and the current regime in Washington.

    • Very well stated and spot on, Tony W. At the top of the hierarchy are tribal, diehard democrats. They are hirelings. These are shameful times for the Church.

      • You are a powerhouse contributor, John. But we need to stop being so courteous. We need to stop couching our contempt.

        These bishops who facilitate this Holocaust — the most costly in human history in terms of sheer numbers — are standing by holding the cloaks of the abortion industry butchers even as the killings take place.

        The ayatollahs are right. America is the great satan.

        It’s been fifty years. We cannot possibly last another fifty.

        Another five might even be stretching it.

        • Well stated.

          “These bishops who facilitate this Holocaust — the most costly in human history in terms of sheer numbers — are standing by holding the cloaks of the abortion industry butchers even as the killings take place.”

  3. Um, a question.

    If these bishops really believed that slaughtering more than a million children a year over the past half century were wrong, would they be dithering about the wording of their “pastoral pronouncements” and arguing about whether those individuals responsible for taking those innocent lives — on a scale never seen before — should be allowed to receive Communion?

    No. They would be trying do something to end the horrific bloodbath.

    For Wilton and Malooly and his ilk, here’s another question. If you admit Biden and Pelosi and Kerry to the sacrament, is there anyone you would bar? Anyone at all?

    Jack the Ripper, say, if he were Catholic? Or Ted Bundy?

    What about Hitler? Mao? Khomeini? Caligula?

    On what basis would you deny any of these yet still admit Biden and Pelosi?

    And if you would admit them all, how about that lying ratface, Satan itself? Would you send your spotless, innocent God down its ravening maw?

    Do any of you bishops reading this *ever* think about the horror of consigning our poor Lord and Savior to the dank, blood-drenched confines of the stubbornly unrepentant souls of the greatest mass murderers humanity has ever seen?

    If you did, and if you did really believe that a million innocent lives are being lost — purposefully and annually and inexorably — you wouldn’t be able to conduct business as usual the way you do.

    Pastoral pronouncements.

    Decade after decade after decade.

    Pastoral pronouncements.

    That is your legacy.

    • Wilton, Malooly, all of you ilk.

      Let us know. How many government initiatives fit on the head of a pin?

      You pretend that the Bidens and Pelosi’s hang on every word of your “pastoral pronouncements”. When, in reality, you know they don’t care.

      They know their hand-puppet media won’t cover anything you say anyway. Not in a million years.

      All your Democrat minders care about is raw, unfettered power. Shutting down our churches, mandating vaccine passports, telling us what kinds of light bulbs and toilets we’re allowed to have, the kinds of cars we’re allowed to drive, how much we’re allowed to drive them, the food we’re allowed to eat, the drinks we can drink, taking our money, indoctrinating our children. It’s an endless stream.

      And you call these endless insults to our freedom “good policies.”

      I ask you, you bishop collaborators: How many more scores of millions of children will you have on your souls until the Savior you could not possibly believe in spits you out?

      What do you really believe in, anyway? Salvation through government initiatives? Isn’t that the thinnest gruel imaginable?

      I will say it:

      In the unvarnished language of the King James version, you are whited sepulchres. Stately and respectable outside, but crawling with the melancholy souls of millions of lives unlived inside.

      It’s been fifty years.

      Fifty years.

      Fifty years.

      A Titanic of innocent children has been sunk every single day for the past fifty years.

      *That* is your legacy.

    • Sadly, it seems as if the only persons these Woke and unfaithful shepherds would bar from Holy Communion is someone not wearing a mask. As long as Satan was wearing a mask, they will readily offer Our Lord to him. Had they been there in the desert, these poseurs, thieves, and robbers might have actually pushed Him off the parapet of the Temple.

  4. The Holy Innocents cry out for justice. The bishops have no spines. The laity are left to support Church teaching without the “authorities” behind them. Thank God for God, Who supports what scares the USCCB to inaction.

  5. Anyone with neurological activity who glanced at the report knew it could not be true. The American episcopate has none of the elements required to make the necessary determination on this issue — faith and fortitude being the primary ones required. It is nothing less than scandalous to observe the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ publicly and deliberately profaned by the faithless with the approbation of those who are called to do exactly the opposite.
    This is the degree to which the Bride of Christ has been debased by those vowed to defend Her. We have passed judgement on ourselves.

    • If the USCCB does not tell Biden to please not present himself for Communion then I think it is the end for that body. No one will care what they say about anything else in the future. Of course Biden knows he will get Communion from Gregory but the stain of the USCCB censure will plague Biden forever.

  6. In other words, they’re going to let this scandal, which is close to 40 years old, drag on and on and on and on ………..

    And they wonder why the Churches are emptying.

    Do the math – please.

  7. When are these bishops going to wake-up and realize that legalized abortion is the mark of a barbaric society because it is the deliberate killing of the most innocent of all human life. Attempts to classify this barbaric act as healthcare signifies the deep sickness that our society, and the western world in general, has fallen into. Abortion promotes violence as warned so well by St. Teresa of Calcutta with the words: “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.” Catholic politicians promoting abortion are a scandal to the Church and to the faithful and need to be formally denied the Eucharist.

    • “Catholic politicians promoting abortion are a scandal to the Church and to the faithful and need to be formally denied the Eucharist”

      Agreed James, Yes, very well said – but permit me a small correction please ? Any Catholic politico who supports/approves the killing of an unborn child ceases to be a Catholic instanter – that very instant. She or he is a CINO (name only) a Catholic impersonator.
      I shall never understand how anyone can contemplate taking he life of that lovely little bundle of joy.
      Our Lord will come “Like a thief in the night”. When you see Him, it’s too late brother or sister.
      Try counting to eternity and you’ll get the idea.

    • Agreed, Kevin.

      A modicum of courage, plus faith, plus common human decency.

      All of which are obviously lacking in a large number of Catholic bishops.

      St. John Fisher, pray for us.

  8. I like our local Bishop – I’m sure he would say pray for the bum, I mean president. In his homily 3 weeks ago to my son who was being confirmed he said emphatically that the host is just another stale cracker without the sanctified living church within you and actions through the Holy Spirit to proclaim the righteousness of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ without. So Maybe one of Biden’s secret service body guards can carry a small tin of liverwust with him to spread on Biden’s cracker after he receives it from the Eucharistic Minister because for the likes of Biden I’m sure it’s just a cracker not the Body of Christ.

  9. “This is a difficult and complex situation,” Archbishop Gomez told his fellow bishops. “In order to help us to navigate it, [the conference] will appoint a working group, chaired by Archbishop Vigneron and consisting of the chairmen of the committees responsible for the policy areas at stake, as well as the committee on doctrine and communications.”

    The signal here is that leadership is afraid of the secular political shadow, so we need to be treading lightly while we have endless “dialogue” on how to be neutral while we navigate this “difficult and complex situation”. When all is said and done we can write a half-baked statement with the tone of “Always Our Children”.

    Is it even possible anymore for the “steeplers” (the dialoguers with elbows on table making steeples with hands and looking wise) to be forthright? Why not cite canon 915 or take CDF statement:

    “In 2004 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith told US bishops in a memo that a Catholic politician “consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws” is engaged in “manifest” and “formal cooperation” in grave sin.

    In such a case, the politician’s “pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.”

    If the Catholic perseveres in grave sin and still presents himself for Holy Communion, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.”

    We don’t need another “working group”. Just do what any good parent would do and lay it on the table. Pastor meet and instruct your charge and think about the salvation of his/her soul. That’s your job, for crying out loud!

  10. I am sorry to ask the American Bishops whether they are afraid of Politicians and political parties. Why Holy Communion to Biden is any issue at all. There are strict rules of the church about the receiving of the Holy Communion . Only Catholics and after repentance and confession one is qualified to receive. Who is a Catholic ? Those baptised persons who propagate atheism, who propagate the invalidity of Ten Commandments and the Rules of the Church are actually fallen Catholics or Cafeteria Catholics.
    So before every Mass commences the priest must announce the qualification for the receiving of Holy Communion. There are many Biden’s who come to church and extend their tongues. They do not believe that the Consecreated Bread and Wine are the Holy Flesh and Precious Blood of Lord Jesus.The Church only teaches and does not exercise police power. So in spite of announcement if Biden’s come and receive, it is for them to answer the Lord at the proper time. There is no need to fight on the issue. But announcements must be made in right language and not accusatory language

    • Agreed that there are many who do “not believe that the Consecrated Bread and Wine are the Holy Flesh and Precious Blood of Lord Jesus.” Given that as true, it is a good idea for pastors to instruct that:

      “There are strict rules of the church about the receiving of the Holy Communion . Only Catholics and after repentance and confession one is qualified to receive.”

      It is, however incumbent upon the pastor to refuse the Holy Eucharist to a public figure who has consistently spit on the teachings of the Catholic Church on grave matters. The pastor must not allow himself to become party to sacrilege.

      • The refusal by the priest must be confined to his announcement about the adherence of rules by the faithful.
        I have already written that the Church has no police power. It is not the duty of the Church to force bodily for any obedience.. So if Biden is refused by a priest, and a few of his loyalists create commotion and disturbance ? That is why I hold firmly that Church-is Wise, Church is like the father of a prodigal waiting for son’s return. Let the faithful who are taught about Jesus, act as they feel right. At the end of the Mass ,for wisdom to obey Church. make a prayer for all those who disagree with Church teachings

        • “So if Biden is refused by a priest, and a few of his loyalists create commotion and disturbance ?” So now psychology continues to be the modern god. We are more concerned about “a few of his loyalists create commotion and disturbance”? That fear takes precedent over the possible sin of sacrilege? —the terrible scandal? The prodigal repented, remember? Biden openly professes to continue promoting and supporting objective evil. Why ignore the difference? Christ took the money changers to task:

          Luke 19:46 “Saying to them: It is written: My house is the house of prayer. But you have made it a den of thieves.”

          http://www.canonlaw.info/a_denialofeucharist.htm elucidates an example of a politician’s manifest stubborn adherence to objective evil.

          In conclusion, yes we need to pray for each other. We are also to practice the Spiritual Works of Mercy–one of which is admonish the sinner. The psychology of “I disagree with you, but I’ll hold your hand while you have an abortion” is the realm in which many clergy operate, rather than helping the sinner negotiate the path to salvation. Charity for another wills the best for that person. Receiving Christ sacrilegiously reaps condemnation.
          Your post is still stuck on “father of a prodigal waiting for son’s return”
          –BUT the father did not follow the son and abet his life of sin. The father rejoiced because the son who was lost returned IN REPENTANCE. Big difference from what the Biden/Bishops present. The psychology god is alive and operative in the Catholic Church. Biden has been living in the pig farmers employ for 50 years. Will bishops give him another fifty years interceding the the psychology god before they help him with the salvation of his soul? Where’s the charity?

        • K.C. Thomas:

          Definitive instruction by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
          Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

          Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles

          Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
          Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

          4. Apart from an individual’s judgment about his worthiness to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin (cf. can. 915).

          5. Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

          6. When “these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,” and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it” (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration “Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics” [2002], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.

          Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles | EWTN

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