Some Of My Favorite Things

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Scripture Alive Today

In April, Ted Kennedy receives the Eucharist at a Papal Mass.

In May, Ted Kennedy has a stroke and is diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.

Is there a connection?
Some would point out that engaging in Ted Kennedy's kind of behaviour is explicitly warned against by several leading experts. For instance, St. Paul points out:
Now in the following instructions, I do not commend you, because when you come together, it is not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all I hear that when you come together in the church, there are schisms among you. And in part I believe it. For there must be heresies among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized....
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, And giving thanks, broke and said: Take ye and eat: This is my body, which shall be delivered for you. This do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood. This do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord, until he come.
Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself and so eat of that bread and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

1 Corinthians 11:17-30

But several pro-abortion, schismatic, heretical politicians received communion, only one is dying.
Why is it only Kennedy got the terminally malignant brain tumor, when Giuliani, Dodd, Pelosi and Kerry all appear to be equally culpable, that is, each also received while in a state of grave sin? Jesus explains that in the Gospel of Luke:
"Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:4-5)
But surely the Catholic Church doesn't believe in or teach this kind of thing anymore, does She? Well, let's find out by looking in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
CCC 1385 To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself." (1 Cor 11:27-29) Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion.

CCC 1509: "Heal the sick!" The Church has received this charge from the Lord and strives to carry it out by taking care of the sick as well as by accompanying them with her prayer of intercession. She believes in the life-giving presence of Christ, the physician of souls and bodies. This presence is particularly active through the sacraments, and in an altogether special way through the Eucharist, the bread that gives eternal life and that St. Paul suggests is connected with bodily health. (cf. John 6:54, 1 Cor 11:30) (emphasis added)

Pray for Senator Kennedy, that he might repent of his heresies before his death.

Then go ye, and tell the Good News: Scripture is alive today "living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword..." (Heb 4:12)
The high praise of God shall be in their mouth: and two-edged swords in their hands:
To execute vengeance upon the nations, chastisements among the people:
To bind their kings with fetters, and their nobles with manacles of iron.
To execute upon them the judgment that is written: this glory is to all his saints. Alleluia.
(Psalm 149:6-10, Liturgy of the Hours)

13 comments:

Jeff Miller said...

Actually from reports that I read from Inside Catholic, Kennedy did not receive Communion at the Papal Mass.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Check out this link. You'll see the initial reports about Kennedy not receiving the Eucharist were wrong.

He DID receive, in fact, a priest came specially to him in his seat a few minutes before the general distribution so he didn't have to lift himself out of his seat.

The photographer didn't get a picture of it because no one expected Senator Kennedy to get such special treatment.

Kate said...

OK,ok,ok. 'Splain this to me, Steve, in your inimitable way. Before what I'll call my "formal apostasy" period, I spent YEARS receiving a Eucharist I did not recognize as the body of CHrist--in part because of poor catechesis (I was returning to the Church when I finally figured out what she teaches about the Eucharist) and in part because of teenage agnosticism. I'm still alive and kicking and free of terminal disease.

As Rudy Giuliani and John Kerry appear to be.

Plus, in last year's RCIA, one of the presenters at the Eucharistic retreat (don't know if you heard this tal or not) brought up this exact passage and talked about how "we don't teach that anymore--just like we don't teach that disease is a punishment for sin." Now, I understand that our sins rend the fabric of the natural world, making disease possible even if it isn't visited directly on the sinner (and I understand how indulgences change that--I've read the calendar!). But why wasn't I struck down? Why does this passge sometimes seem to be, well, mistaken?

Go, go, gadget Kellmeyer!

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Good questions.

Ignorance is not generally punished in the same way that raw culpability is. An atheist, agnostic or unenlightened Protestant or Catholic is not going to be held as accountable as someone who knows full well what he is doing is wrong.

Second, the ways of the Lord are mysterious, He lets the rain fall on the just and on the unjust. As Jesus Himself pointed out when the tower fell on the eighteen in Siloam (Luke 13:4), God sometimes punishes one group of egregious sinners so that another group of egregious sinners might be saved by contemplating what happened to the first bunch:

"Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? 5 “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” "

Finally, whatever RCIA instructor taught you that this passage no longer applies is a bleeding idiot.

Just look in the Scriptural index to the CCC and you will quickly discover that it most assuredly still is taught, being footnoted in CCC 1385 and 1509, with the last explicitly linking the taking of the Eucharist with bodily health:

CCC 1509: "This presence is particularly active through the sacraments, and in an altogether special way through the Eucharist, the bread that gives eternal life and that St. Paul suggests is connected with bodily health.122"

Kate said...

Thanks for the reply! I knew there was an answer, and knew it would be good to get it out there. Danke.

Jordanes said...

Plus, in last year's RCIA, one of the presenters at the Eucharistic retreat (don't know if you heard this tal or not) brought up this exact passage and talked about how "we don't teach that anymore--just like we don't teach that disease is a punishment for sin."

I hate it when "catechists" tell falsehoods about the Catholic faith. . . .

Elena said...

The Lord works in mysterious ways. Some good points Steve.

Anna Keiter said...

The idea that disease is a direct result of sin is absolutly abhorent.

What sin did I committ that I have an eating disorder?

Soundbites said...

As the book of Job demonstrates, we can be stricken with illnesses that have nothing to do with our state of sinfulness. Job was struck by plague even though he had done nothing wrong. Eating disorders would certainly not necessarily be associated with personal sin.

On the other hand, we know that a lot of diseases ARE caused by sinful activity. For example, increased risk of suicide and drug abuse are associated with abortion, sexually transmitted diseases are associated with non-monogamous, non-celibate lifestyles, obesity is often associated with gluttony, etc.

So, associating disease with sin may not have a one-to-one correspondence (few things do), but to deny ANY correspondence is simply erroneous.

If you find that abhorrent, all I can say is reality is often abhorrent. I'm not particularly fond of gangrene, for instance, but my horror upon seeing a gangrenous leg doesn't alter the fact of its existence.

Ted Kennedy publicly promoted sinful activity. Then He consumed the Eucharist. That's not wise. It can bring physical illness and death. It does. It has.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see a photo of 7 year old Ted Kennedy receiving his first holy communion from Pope Pius XII at the Vatican.

joe said...

Steve, I always learn from you and it is so refreshing to hear our beautiful faith taught fully. I have a question and it is why it seems that the saints(who are closest to God) are also the ones who suffer most? They recieve worthily, so why are they punished? Do people who receive worthily, therefore, not suffer? And if so would they not become saints? I'm a little confused here. Kennedy may have suffered because of un worthy reception, but Padre Pio suffers because of...?
Please explain. Thanks for your work.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Suffering and death entered the world through our sin. Because of sin, we all have to suffer. We each personally suffer as a consequence of our sins alone, and we also suffer from the consequences of sins we are personally innocent of.

Christ suffered for the world.
We are called to be His co-workers (1 Cor 3:9). Saints imitate and join their suffering to Christ. Like other saints, Padre Pio imitated Christ, and suffered for the sins of the world, sins he was personally innocent of.

But, as Paul testifies, those of us who receive the Eucharist unworthily merit even greater punishment for our personal sins than we otherwise would.

joe said...

Steve whenever I listen to your mp3s or read your work I get a lot of ah ha moments, and you did it again. Thanks.