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The sad irony of the Communion debate

SIR – It is with considerable surprise and interest that I have followed the controversy concerning the various permutations and combinations of who should and should not receive, and who could and could not receive, Communion. It is even more intriguing that Amoris Laetitia, which had the overriding intention of extending pastoral care, is now being presented as polarising and divisive (leading article, April 13).

The purpose of this letter is not to enter into the controversy of the legality according to canon law or other sources, but to express my surprise as why such a matter of who is entitled to receive Communion, which affects a relatively small portion of the population, has attracted such enormous attention.

My point is that the time that is now spent on the legalities of who can receive Communion, while ignoring the state of grace of the entire congregation that queues up Sunday after Sunday to receive it, is almost hypocritical. Perhaps some of your readers will recall the time when daily Communion was not only discouraged, but also the confessor would decide how often a penitent might be permitted to receive it.

The bishops and cardinals are so engrossed in the debate on the rights and wrongs of who is entitled to receive Communion that they seem to be not just oblivious but also go as far as ignoring the attitude of the vast number of communicants each and every Sunday. Could those who hug the limelight with their display of loyalty to the Church’s teaching justify turning a blind eye to “He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself” (1 Corinthians 11:29).

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