‘SACRILEGE COMMUNION’ – “If they continue to support candidates who espouse violence as a means to resolve conflicts”
By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Carmel Loise Matus, April 6th, 2016
A leader of the Redemptorist community in Cebu has advised Roman Catholics to temporarily avoid receiving Holy Communion if they continue to support candidates who espouse violence as a means to resolve conflicts.
In his homily during the Feast of the Divine Mercy last Sunday, Fr. Crispin Mostajo, CssR, parish priest of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church in Cebu City, voiced his concern over the rising popularity of a candidate whom he refused to name but described as one who promises to end criminality through killings.
“If you agree with this candidate, it’s time to reexamine your Christianity,” he then said.
Father Mostajo later explained in an interview with Cebu Daily News that he just wanted people to understand how important it is to be in a “state of grace” before receiving the body and blood of Jesus.
To be in a “state of grace” means one hasn’t committed a mortal sin which under the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to grave offenses, usually acts that violate the Ten Commandments, and done with full knowledge and complete consent.
“One of the central commandments of our Lord is ‘Thou shall not kill.’ And so, it would be better for anyone who espouses violence not to receive holy communion,” he told CDN over the phone.
“I’m not saying they cannot receive communion. All I did was to advise people. They need to know that there has to be congruency between our faith and actions. You can’t be so holy inside the Church and then you’re acting or thinking otherwise outside,” he added.
Father Mostajo’s statement appears to draw inspiration from the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) held last January which gathered at least 15 thousand delegates from 72 countries in the Philippines.
During the week-long congress successfully hosted by the Archdiocese of Cebu, Catholics were reminded to deepen their understanding of the Eucharist as “the source and summit of the Christian life.”
In one of the plenary sessions at the IEC Pavilion, Archbishop John Cardinal Onaiyekan of Abuja in Nigeria cautioned priests about giving communion to Catholics who are not “in a state of grace” out of “Eucharistic hospitality.”
The practice, the cardinal said, could “inflict serious damage on the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist.”
Onaiyekan expressed hopes that those who receive communion should be spiritually prepared since Catholics believe in the “real presence” of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
As the congress was coming to a close last January 29, more than a million people filled the streets along Osmeña Boulevard to join a Eucharistic procession later touted as the biggest ever recorded in Cebu. About a million Roman Catholics also gathered to attend the IEC closing Mass at the South Road Properties (SRP) two days later.
Msgr. Joseph Tan, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Cebu, sought for his comment on Sunday’s homily by Fr. Mostajo, also reminded Catholics about the importance of examining one’s conscience before receiving Holy Communion.
But while Catholics are advised to examine their consciences before receiving communion, Tan said that bishops and priests cannot refuse the sacrament to anyone who asks for it.
“To receive communion is a decision made by the communicant. The Church cannot unilaterally refuse to give communion even if the priest has an objection to the communicant’s lifestyle,” he told CDN.
“Doing so (refusing to give communion) is infringing on God’s power to judge people,” said Tan.
“Human beings judge people externally, that is through actions and other standards. But only God, who sees the heart of a person, has the right to judge internally,” he added.
However, anyone who knows he or she has committed a mortal sin and still receives communion is liable for another sin: sacrilege communion, the Archdiocesan spokesman explained.
With barely a month to go before the May 2016 elections, Monsignor Tan called on voters to discern and choose the country’s next leaders properly.
“The issue on morality or whether or not a candidate adheres to Christian values is only one of the aspects we have to consider. We need to discern well,” he said.
As a policy, bishops and priests of the Catholic Church cannot endorse a particular candidate or political group.
But they can present guidelines on the qualities of a good leader to voters, Tan said.
Meanwhile the camps of presidential candidates Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (PDP-Laban) and Senator Grace Poe (Partido Galing at Puso) support the call made by the two priests to vote for candidates whose platforms do not violate morals.
“If the Church is true to its role as our moral guide and is apolitical or neutral, then we do not believe this statement is directed at anyone and therefore would not affect Duterte,” Pete Lavina, spokesperson for Mayor Duterte said.
“Our candidate is non-trapo and is the only one who has presented his best and worst as he seeks the mandate of our people unlike the others hiring image makers to hide their skeletons in their closets. Duterte leaves his faith to God,” Lavina said.
In a text message sent to Cebu Daily News, former Tourism Secretary Ace Durano, campaign manager for Poe, said that they are thankful to the
Church for issuing the call to examine one’s conscience.
“We are thankful to Monsignor Tan for directing the electorate to focus on the platforms of the candidates. For our democracy to mature and for our government to develop into an institution truly for the people, all of us voters should give more weight to the vision and platforms of candidates in making our choice,” Durano said.
The latest Bilang Pilipino SWS survey conducted last March 30 finds Poe leading the presidential race at 34% followed by Duterte at 31%.
Trailing behind them are Liberal Party’s Mar Roxas and United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard-bearer Jejomar Binay who are both statistically tied at 17%, according to SWS.
Miriam Defensor-Santiago garnered a 1% vote in that survey with one percent of voters still undecided.
To help voters make informed choices based on the candidates’ Lifestyle, Action, Supporters, Election conduct and Reputation, Dilaab Foundation
Inc., a Church-based organization in Cebu, developed a five-point guide called the LASER Test.
The LASER Test encourages voters to ask questions like: “Does the candidate have a modest lifestyle?”; “Does he or she have a track record of competence and servant leadership?”; “Who are the persons supporting his candidacy?”; “Is he or she engaged in vote-buying?” and “What is his moral background?”
The foundation led by Fr. Carmelo Diola visited several barangays since the presidential elections in 2007 to call for behavioral change in the electorate.
As the elections draw closer, Dilaab volunteers are again expected to make the rounds of urban centers to conduct a house-to-house campaign for responsible voting.
Read the source and comments: http://cebudailynews.inquirer.net/90804/90804
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