We continue our examination of Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities, specifically in paragraphs 21 through 26 which detail Church policy of participating in the Eucharist. In this post, we’ll look at general principles involved, and save a few specific cases for the next in the series.
The US bishops acknowledge the Eucharist as “summit and the source of all Christian worship and life.” (21) and that “(p)arents or guardians, together with pastors,” are responsible for bringing children to the sacrament “as early as possible.” (22) Canon law is cited (913.2) in that a baptized person is able to “’distinguish the body of Christ from ordinary food,’ even if this recognition is evidenced through manner, gesture, or reverential silence rather than verbally.” (Ibid.) A wide consultation is endorsed, with a bias toward receiving the Eucharist in “cases of doubt.” (Ibid.)
Paragraph 23 highlights the reality that the issue of receiving Communion is much more in the public eye and parish experience these days. Bottom line: “(I)n many instances, simple accommodations can be very helpful, and should be embraced by all at the parish level.”
This is an important principle. Denial of the sacraments is potentially an occasion of scandal for the Church. The perception of injustice attracts a lot of attention these days. A full assessment and wide consultation is needed in any situation wherever there is doubt, pressure, and assertive behavior from anyone.
More on the last three paragraphs of this section later. Meanwhile, any comments on this, the use of reason, the doubtful cases, the extent of parents’ and a pastor’s consultation?