Jun 26, 2021

"The rich he sent away empty"

I'm just a Catholic out here with an opinion on Eucharistic coherence, which has been in the news lately. At their recent conference, the American bishops agreed -- although not unanimously, sadly -- to have a discussion about whether public figures who profess the faith (Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Lieu, Joe Manchin, . . .) yet remain in obstinate and very public disagreement on fundamental teachings of the Church maybe sorta kinda should be denied Holy Eucharist. It seems pretty obvious anyone not in communion with the Church should not receive Communion (that's why non-Catholic Christians are denied Eucharist after all). Simple. What's to discuss? A basic requirement of being a Catholic in good standing is to submit to what the first Church of Christ teaches. All of it. Whether one knows and understands all the whats and whys, or not. We are called to obedience -- to seek understanding in faith -- to trust that Christ established His Church and has protected it from the gates of Hell prevailing over it for more than two thousand years.

Catholic apologist Trent Horn has a good video on the tactics used by pro-abortion Democrat politicians (but, I repeat) to elide and obscure their heretical positions. 

The six tactics he identifies, in brief:

  1. They double-down on professing their Catholic faith (invalid argument from authority) while denying the Faith's core tenets. 
  2. They express false humility with the "I can't impose my views on others" lie. They would impose their views on the death penalty by abolishing it, if they could. They believe (hopefully) that infanticide should be illegal, etc.
  3. They accuse pro-lifers of having double-standards by not opposing the death penalty, for example. But, would they submit to the Church's teachings if it prohibited the reception of Communion for both pro-abortion and pro-death penalty public figures?? To ask is to answer.
  4. They bring up the "ensoulment" canard. I agree with Trent that the soul is the animating principle of life and, therefore, when a living body exists a soul exists. A precious, God-created, unique and unrepeatable person exists at conception. Personhood is science.
  5. They appeal to "free will." But, they can't possibly believe it. My free will says we should outlaw abortion, but they don't believe my free will is correct, do they? I know with an uncommon certitude that their free will is malformed by the belief that it's ever morally acceptable to set out to kill innocent human beings, wherever they're located (in the womb, for example). 
  6. They argue from the "primacy of conscience," but they don't believe that either. They believe pro-lifers' consciences are mistaken. 
But, I have a gripe with most apologists arguing this issue as well. They seem to argue from the philosophical/legalistic point of view while completely missing the pastoral aspect of denying someone in grave error Communion (with one exception being a woman over at CRISIS Magazine, who writes passionately on the subject). The bishops' vocation is to guide the flock to heaven. Why, then, for Pete's sake (irony alert), would they even think for a split second of allowing someone to eat judgment upon himself? Even a Democrat politician? It is deeply unloving.

And, so, I come to Mary's Magnificat, where she says, "the rich he sent away empty." If one were to interpret this as an uncaring and indifferent God who favors the poor at the expense of the rich, one would have an erroneous view of who God is. He sends the rich away empty because He loves them! It is meant as a corrective, and a call to conversion. Our decadent culture is a sure sign of what happens when we become too rich and comfortable (in Old Testament parlance: we have too many horses, too many wives, and too much gold). God doesn't want us to be comfortable; He wants us to be holy. 

Whenever I pray the Magnificat, I place myself in the role of both the sinner and the saint, because I have had the experience of God in both ways in my life. Try it for yourself:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed

the Almighty has done great things for me

and holy is his Name.

He has shown the strength of his arm,

He has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,

and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,

and the rich He has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel

for He has remembered his promise of mercy,

the promise He made to our fathers, 

to Abraham and his children for ever.

Do you sometimes (daily) proclaim God's greatness in His Goodness, Truth, and Beauty -- in His infinite Perfections? Do you oftentimes rejoice in being a precious child of God, for whom He was willing to humble Himself to suffer and die for your salvation? Has He looked with favor on you in your lowliness? Do you call yourself, "blessed?" Has God done great things for you? Has He scattered you in your conceit? Has He cast you down when you attempt to exalt yourself? Has He lifted you up when you're suffering? Has He filled you with good things? Has He sent you away empty? Has He come to your help when you are in need, and shown you mercy?

Yes, yes, the bishops should deny the Sacramental Presence of Jesus to those who bring scandal upon the faithful. But, these dissenters should be sent away empty because God loves them. He wants them to come Home to Him, and to do that, they need to repent and to correctly form their consciences in Christ, with the moral guidance of the Church He established. And mostly they need to stop advocating for and enabling the killing of God's other precious children. 

Amen. Alleluia!


The Western Chauvinist said...


Perry Block said...

Excellent, once again!

AQ said...

I love your reflection on the Magnificat! And I am so grateful for your blog, which helps fill the hole you left in our hearts in the Ricochet Catholics' group!

The Western Chauvinist said...

Thanks, A. I love seeing you here!

And I may have a change of plans where Ricochet is concerned. I'm discerning and praying about it, having just read Austin Ruse's new book, Under Siege: No Better Time to Be a Faithful Catholic. I plan to write about it here, but the bottom line is, we're called to be a prophetic voice in the world, and Ricochet provides a good venue for "flying my flag" and "storming the sniper's nest," as Ruse says. I'm paid up through December anyway, so watch out! I may be baa-ack.

AQ said...

You would be making a whole lot of folks happy!

Cathy said...

Beautiful Sis . . . Beautiful !

And to your statement about the hypocrisy of the Leftist.
Amen! Amen!
"It seems pretty obvious anyone not in communion with the Church should not receive Communion!"

Gonzalo said...

I recently got in a very heated argument with a Catholic liberal who equates capital punishment with abortion . Ironically we were both outside PP and it later occurred to me that the devil had us quit distracted from the horror going in inside the slaughter house.