You have probably been as frustrated as I have watching the news reports about pro-choice Catholic politicians receiving communion. My frustration has stemmed from the fact that I considered this problem the responsibility of the bishops (for not counseling politicians and if necessary denying them the Sacrament) and the politicians (for harming themselves and the Church). But this evening I have had an idea of something I can do, and maybe, WE can do to respond to this problem.
My suggestion is that faithful Catholics make an act of mortification by denying themselves the Eucharist on October 3, which is Respect Life Sunday. Instead, when Communion is offered, we will remain in the pews to pray for our Church, our politicians and our bishops. This act of mortification has been suggested as spiritually beneficial by Cardinal Ratzinger, who counsels that it should be done as an act of solidarity with our brothers and sisters who cannot receive the Eucharist along with us. I practiced this act of mortification today, after reading the Cardinal’s thoughts and hearing a sermon on today’s Gospel reading.
Why abstain from the Eucharist together? First, it is an act of mortification for our Church. Second, it is an act of solidarity with our pro-choice Catholic brothers and sisters – we show them that we are willing to undergo a penance on their behalf, by denying ourselves what we ask them to deny themselves (until the day they return to communion with the Magisterium). Third, it is a way of showing our communal concern for the sacred treatment of Christ’s body and blood in a way that is respectful of our Church and in keeping with the practices of the saints.
In addition to abstaining on Respect Life Sunday, I also think this witness would be important to undertake at any mass where a pro-choice politician is present.
If you find this idea promising, please link to this post on your blog. I would really like to hear the suggestions and thoughts of the Catholic blogosphere on this idea.