Worthiness to receive the Eucharist

It is important to state that “worthiness” in this matter does not concern the inner state of one’s soul: only God can judge that. None of us is truly worthy to receive the very Body and Blood of Christ Himself, but God in His great mercy and condescension invites us to receive and makes us worthy to do so. The Eucharist itself is a medicine and a channel of God’s forgiveness for our lesser sins. If we are conscious of grave sin, however, we must have recourse to the sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving the Gift. Confidence in God must not give way to presumption. We are a Church of sinners, and we need to avail ourselves of the many graces Christ offers us in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Christ Himself gave us these two sacraments and we should regularly receive His forgiveness in confession.

In examining one’s conscience about being properly disposed to receive the Holy Eucharist, the definitions regarding the kind and degree of cooperation in an evil act serve as a necessary guiding principle. Most of the time this is a private matter. There are, however, circumstances in which such is not the case, occasions when those in public life violate the boundaries of justifiable cooperation. In the case of public figures who profess to be Catholic and promote abortion, we are not dealing with a sin committed in human weakness or a moral lapse: this is a matter of persistent, obdurate, and public rejection of Catholic teaching. This adds an even greater responsibility to the role of the Church’s pastors in caring for the salvation of souls. . . .

To Catholics in public life who practice abortion or advocate for it: the killing must stop. Please, please, please: the killing must stop. God has entrusted you with a prestigious position in society. You have the power to affect societal practices and attitudes. Always remember that you will one day have to render an account to God for your stewardship of this trust. You are in a position to do something concrete and decisive to stop the killing. Please stop the killing. And please stop pretending that advocating for or practicing a grave moral evil—one that snuffs out an innocent human life, one that denies a fundamental human right—is somehow compatible with the Catholic faith. It is not. Please return home to the fullness of your Catholic faith. We await you with open arms to welcome you back. —from Before I Formed You in the Womb I Knew You