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Bishop warns against receiving Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin

Catholics shouldn't receive Holy Communion until they've repented of and confessed 'any mortal sin.'
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Shrewsbury Bishop Mark Davies Simon Caldwell / Diocese of Shrewsbury
Dorothy Cummings McLean By Dorothy Cummings McLean

Dorothy Cummings McLean By Dorothy Cummings McLean

SHREWSBURY, England, April 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — On Sunday, a Roman Catholic bishop in England will reaffirm the Church’s perennial teaching that people in a state of mortal sin may not receive Holy Communion.

Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury will release a pastoral letter this weekend on the subject of Holy Communion, the UK’s Catholic Herald has reported.

According to the Herald, Davies, 58, will tell his diocese that receiving Holy Communion is “the most radical call to holiness” that anyone can receive. He will advise against treating the sacrament as a ritual of “secular inclusiveness,” resulting in its diminishment to little more than a “token of our hospitality.”

The gift of Christ’s Body and Blood is the means through which Catholics become the saints they are all called to be, the bishop will assert. Restoring strength to the faithful, the Eucharist breaks disordered attachments, separates Catholics from sin, and helps them root their whole lives in Christ.

People must give up sinful lifestyles and confess any mortal sins before receiving Holy Communion, the bishop is expected to tell churchgoers.

“We see why we can never approach Holy Communion casually, still less if we have not confessed and repented of any mortal sin or of a lifestyle in contradiction with our Christian calling,” the letter reads.  

“The Apostle Paul urged the first Christians to examine themselves carefully before receiving Holy Communion because anyone who did so in an unworthy state would, he said, be ‘guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord,’” the bishop continues, referencing 1 Corinthians 11:27.  

“The Church calls us to frequent Holy Communion, prepared by the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation so that we might become holy, might become saints,” Davies writes, according to the Herald. “The Second Vatican Council urged us to ‘frequent’ both these two Sacraments eagerly and devoutly as the path to holiness.”

The bishop will invite the faithful of his diocese to “ask ourselves how we seek to receive [the Eucharistic Christ] with the deepest reverence and love, and how we spend the precious moments after receiving Holy Communion.”

Davies, who became the Bishop of Shrewsbury in October, 2010, has been an outspoken and consistent defender of the Catholic faith, marriage, the traditional family, and the sanctity of human life. He has taken the lead among English bishops in denouncing the culture of death in the UK.

In 2011, he issued a response to the government’s findings of lack of quality care for elderly patients in British hospitals. The bishop said “the neglect of the elderly… may be a symptom of the ‘culture of death’ that has grown out of the loss of respect for human life following decades of abortion.”

Soon after, at a synagogue in Manchester, Davies said the Holocaust must be a lesson in the defense of all human life. We must fight “the return of eugenic thinking directed against the unborn and the most vulnerable deemed unfit to live or threatened with mercy killing,” he said. This year, he again warned against the resurgence of the “inhuman ideology” that led to acceptance of euthanasia in the 20th century.

Davies has spoken strongly and repeatedly against the agenda of LGBT activists, emphasizing that opposition to gay “marriage” is motivated not by “homophobia” but by love for people with same-sex attractions and concern for their well-being.

In 2017, the bishop defended Jacob Rees-Mogg after progressive journalists attacked the Catholic MP for saying the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding abortion was “authoritative.”


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