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GÖRLITZ, Germany, December 11, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Two counties in Germany today lifted a ban on distributing Holy Communion after local Bishop Wolfgang Ipolt of Görlitz publicly protested the decision. “This is a clear encroachment on the right to exercise one’s religion freely,” Ipolt had said.

Daniel Frank, the head of the Catholic Office in Saxony, which is the bishops’ lobby organization in this specific part of Germany, announced the reversal of the ban earlier today, after speaking with the county authorities of Görlitz and Bautzen.

Frank had previously told Germany’s Catholic News Agency (KNA) that if the counties did not redress the situation, then the Church would be prepared to take legal action.

The decision of the two counties to prohibit the distribution of Holy Communion came only yesterday, with the reversal going into effect roughly one day later at midnight tonight.

Ipolt said he was “very surprised” about the initial decision, which he characterized as an “aggravation,” since there was no effort made by the counties to speak with church officials before making the announcement.

The restrictions the authorities had intended to impose was in response to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Ipolt defended the current practice around distributing communion in his diocese, saying he has “issued strict hygiene regulations for it.” The bishop added that if anyone was still truly concerned about receiving the Eucharist, then they are free not to receive, since there “is no obligation in the Catholic Church to go to Holy Communion.”

Though this is a victory for the diocese, other restrictions are still in place, some of which are part of the diocese’s regulations. The priest still needs to disinfect his hands before giving Communion to the faithful from a suitable distance. There are also a mask mandates and a singing embargo in place for the faithful during religious services.

According to Church law (canon 843§1), “Sacred ministers cannot deny the sacraments to those who seek them at appropriate times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.”

In addition, canon 912 states that “[a]ny baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to holy communion.” The reference to prohibition by law is not a reference to secular laws, but rather to other, appropriate parts of ecclesial law, none of which bear on the matter in hand.

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PETITION: Ask Pope Francis to clarify and rectify scandalous remarks on homosexual civil unions
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Remarks attributed to Pope Francis (and, not denied by the Vatican) in support of homosexual civil unions have caused grave scandal to the faithful.

Please SIGN this urgent petition which asks Pope Francis to clarify and rectify these heterodox and scandalous remarks on homosexual civil unions, and which will be delivered both to the Vatican and to the Papal Nuncio of the United States (the Pope's official representative in the U.S.).

As the last guarantor of the Faith, the Pope should clarify and rectify these remarks, which go against the perennial teaching of the Church, even including the teaching of his living predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

"What we have to create is a law of civil coexistence [meaning civil union law, for homosexuals]...," Pope Francis is reported to have remarked, in what is arguably his clearest statement of public support for a practice morally prohibited by official Catholic Church teaching.

In fact, the Church has been crystal clear in Her opposition to homosexual unions.

Just in 2003, Pope Saint John Paul II approved a document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, titled 'Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons' and written by Cardinal Ratzinger (now, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI), which concludes with the following:

"The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself."

It could not be more clear: the Church is calling people to repentance, not to be left to indulge in grave sin.

Since becoming public, several senior prelates as well as other notable Catholic figures have voiced their opposition to these remarks attributed to the Pontiff.

Cardinal Raymond Burke stated: "It is a source of deepest sadness and pressing pastoral concern that the private opinions reported with so much emphasis by the press and attributed to Pope Francis do not correspond to the constant teaching of the Church, as it is expressed in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition."

Cardinal Gerhard Müller commented: "Where there is tension between the plain and obvious Word of God and the infallible interpretation on the one hand, and private expressions of opinion even by the highest church authorities on the other, the principle always applies: in dubio pro DEO [When in doubt, be in favor of God]."

And, Catholic theologian and apologist Scott Hahn, without directly quoting Pope Francis, shared on Facebook the 'Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,' published by the CDF in 1986, with the statement: "Holy Father, respectfully and humbly, I beg to differ... if that is indeed what you said. In any case, please clarify and rectify your statement, especially in view of the official teaching of our Lord through the magisterium of His Church."

But, the silence from the Vatican has been deafening, with no clarification forthcoming.

We must, therefore, ask the Pope for clarification in this serious matter.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition which asks Pope Francis to clarify and rectify remarks attributed to him in support of homosexual civil unions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

'Cdl. Burke: Pope’s homosexual civil union remarks ‘contrary’ to Scripture, Tradition' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/cardinal-burke-on-popes-homosexual-civil-union-remarks-contrary-to-the-teaching-of-sacred-scripture-and-sacred-tradition

'Cardinal says Catholics ‘can and should’ disagree with Pope’s ‘opinion’ on gay civil unions' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/cdl.mueller-popes-words-on-gay-civil-unions-purely-private-expression-of-opinion-which-every-catholic-can-and-should-freely-contradict

'Archbishop Vigano, Bishops Tobin and Strickland respond to Pope’s approval of homosexual civil unions' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/archbishop-vigano-and-bishops-tobin-strickland-respond-to-popes-approval-of-homosexual-civil-unions

'Pope’s comments on gay civil unions cause shockwaves around the world' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/deepest-sadness-cardinal-burke-condemns-pope-franciss-remarks-supporting-civil-unions

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The problem of the state attempting to ban Communion for the faithful is not unique to Saxony. Dioceses all over the world have been contending with governments telling them to reduce parish attendance and halt communion distribution since the lockdowns started back in March.

Priests and parishes have been battling their own bishops in this regard, pushing back against illicit orders to restrict communion to reception in the hand alone. Ipolt’s diocese has also banned communion on the tongue.

In a 2009 letter to a Catholic layman in England, responding to a restriction made by a bishop in light of the then prevalent H1N1 “swine flu”, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) stated that: “This Dicastery observes that its instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum (25 March 2004) clearly stipulates that ‘each of the faithful has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue’ (n.92), nor is it licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful who are not impeded by law from receiving the Holy Eucharist (cf n.91).”

The rationale behind restricting communion to reception on the hand alone for the sake of health has been found wanting. A group of 21 physicians authored a letter in August that cuts down many of the arguments against the ancient and revered practice of communion on the tongue.

“From the point of view of hygiene, it is absolutely incomprehensible to us why oral communion has been banned,” the doctors wrote, adding that, in their professional opinion, they “consider this form of distribution [on the tongue] safer than hand communion.”

Bishop Athanasius Schneider has weighed in on both the banning of Holy Communion and public Masses, proclaiming that such acts are “pure human law; however, the supreme law in the Church is the salvation of souls.”

Schneider suggested that bishops who, in line with government guidelines, have prohibited communion on the tongue have “reacted more like civil bureaucrats than shepherds. In focusing too exclusively on all the hygienic protective measures, they have lost a supernatural vision and have abandoned the primacy of the eternal good of souls.”

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