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The archbishop said it right but some listeners heard it wrong

April 2, 2014

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone correctly explained Catholic norms for reception of holy Communion, but already some people are hearing him wrong.*

Abp. Cordileone politely, clearly, and firmly, explained that Catholics who conduct themselves in ways seriously contrary to Church teaching should not approach for holy Communion. And that’s all he said, politely, clearly, and firmly. Now, the canon lawyer in me hears the prelate explaining, as it happens, what Canon 916 says (that certain people should not approach for holy Communion), but that’s all the archbishop discussed. Despite what some others thought they heard.

Specifically, the archbishop did NOT invoke, refer to, or even hint at a related but DISTINCT issue, namely, whether Church ministers should withhold holy Communion from certain people under Canon 915. That related but DISTINCT issue simply did not come up in the archbishop’s remarks, and those who are invoking his remarks as applying to that related but DISTINCT issue simply do not know how to listen to another’s remarks and/or convey them to third parties.

I yield to no man in advocating the proper application of Canon 915, but Abp. Cordileone’s solid remarks on (what amounts to) Canon 916 should be appreciated in their own right, and should not be carelessly misapplied to a related but DISTINCT issue. + + +

* Maybe it was the crummy sound quality of the recording. It sounded like the archbishop was standing at the far end of an empty quonset hut. C’mon, guys.

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