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Tom Gallagher, the former CEO of Religious News Service, wrote in a recent opinion piece for USA Today that it is 'untenable' that he would be asked to deny Communion to someoneYouTube screenshot

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July 13, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) —A lay Eucharistic minister said that he does not believe he would ever be justified in denying someone the Holy Eucharist. His statement is theologically incorrect and furthermore could harm the people he desires to serve.

It is untenable to me that I would be required to deny the request of a dying patient – or any patient for that matter – to receive the Eucharist,” Tom Gallagher, the former CEO of Religious News Service, wrote in a recent opinion piece for USA Today. His essay responded to the possibility of a “Communion litmus test.”

He also said he is not there to judge their life decisions or political views.

But as someone distributing the Body of Christ, it’s easy to see situations in which Gallagher should deny someone Communion and use the opportunity to bring them closer to Christ.

Let’s say that Gallagher enters someone’s hospital room and it turns out the patient is Methodist or Lutheran — Gallagher would have to deny them Communion. Or if a patient explicitly shared that they are in a state of mortal sin and had no intention of going to Confession, wouldn’t Gallagher have to deny them Communion? 

In fact, he would have to be, lest he be complicit in mortal sin. He should, instead of giving them Communion, share the importance of going to Confession and doing penance for their sins. He could pray with them and point them to an examination of conscience. The most charitable action would be to help guide them back to Christ and to find a priest to come to their bedside as quickly as possible.

This is particularly important because many of the people he is visiting are close to death.

Someone in a state of mortal sin has separated themselves from God’s friendship and “brings everlasting death and damnation on the soul,” as the Baltimore Catechism explains.

Gallagher said that attempting to restrict Communion to people would be “pastorally disastrous for lay Eucharistic ministers and for the souls they are called by the Catholic Church to serve.” He also said it would put him in the “untenable position” of having to discern the worthiness of someone to receive Communion.

But that’s not the case. He is, however, under the obligation to deny the Eucharist to  someone who is manifestly in a state of mortal sin or who is otherwise not in communion  with the Catholic Church.

To do otherwise would be disastrous to the souls he wishes to serve.

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Matt lives in northwest Indiana with his wife and son. He has a B.A. in Political Science with minors in Economics and Catholic Studies from Loyola University, Chicago. He has an M.A. in Political Science and a graduate certificate in Intelligence and National Security from the University of Nebraska, Omaha. He has worked for Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action, Turning Point USA and currently is an associate editor for The College Fix.