I said my piece about the Bishops, Joe Biden and the Eucharist a few weeks ago. That they would withhold communion from the most religious President since Jimmy Carter because he respects the law and a woman’s right to an abortion — and is, therefore, unworthy of the Eucharist, in the eyes of some bishops — symbolizes all that’s wrong with the Church hierarchy. They seem completely oblivious to how such actions, even when merely proposed, further alienate American Catholics. It reminds everyone of the hierarchy’s obsession with a medical procedure over pressing social problems, starting with poverty. It reminds everyone of the hierarchy’s horrible attitude toward women, who are forbidden to become priests or to marry one, or to marry another woman. The Washington Post has a story this week about a Michigan judge, a Catholic woman married to another woman — her partner of 32 years — who was instructed by her parish priest not to receive communion because the Church only recognizes heterosexual marriage.
In Baltimore, the Rev. Rev. James A Casciotti, S.J., pastor of St. Ignatius Catholic Community Church in downtown Baltimore, chose in his homily of July 25 to “squarely address the attempts of ideologues to bar from communion those they deem unworthy . . .”
“Jesus fed everybody who showed up,” Casciotti said. “I repeat: ‘Jesus fed everybody who showed up.’”
The pastor quoted a Facebook post by a fellow Jesuit, the Rev. John Whitney, former provincial of Oregon, who admonished the bishops who would deny Biden communion: “It is not your table nor mine. Bishops, priests, etc. are neither the hosts nor the bouncers nor the ones who wrote the guest list. The Eucharist is the resurrected body of Christ given for the life of the world. Jesus Christ is the one who invites the guests. He is the host of those who come. He is the setter of the table, and he is the feast which is shared. We are guests at the meal, and sometimes, by his calling, servers. So stay in your lane, please. The wait staff doesn’t get to exclude those who want to come. If you don’t like the company Christ calls — and, admittedly, it is a ragtag bunch of sinners, one and all — it’s you who need to leave the table, not them.”
“The Eucharist,” added Casciotti, “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine, nourishment for the weak.”
To listen to Casciotti’s homily in full, go to the church’s Facebook page for the July 25 Mass. The homily begins about 19 minutes in, after the Gospel reading.