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Faith/Spirituality Forum: Spiritual Communion

by Catherine Frakas 21 Apr 2001

Spiritual Communion QUESTION from Theodoric on December 30, 2002 In response to a posed question, Brother Ronald Barnabas Anthony stated that spiritual communion (if that is all that can be had) is perfectly accepted before our Lord, as though the person actually partook of the Body and the Blood of Jesus. St. Alphonsus Liguori also extols the benefits of receiving spiritual communion. My father has not received communion in quite some time, fearing that he may be unworthy and not wishing to be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 11:27) I have encouraged him to receive communion physically after confession, but he continues to continues to prefer spiritual communion. Is spiritual communion able to substitute for receiving the actual physical species of the eucharistic?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on January 1, 2003 Dear Theodoric:
I have looked over the answer given by Brother Ronald Barnabas Anthony, and the Brother is wrong.
Let me take a moment to apologize to all our readers. I believed that Brother Ronald Barnabas Anthony was an orthodox and loyal Catholic. He was a convert like me and a former Baptist preacher like me. We spend many, many hours together in person and on the phone. I had not the slightest inkling that Brother Anthony's Catholic faith was wavering.
This last August Brother Anthony formally defected from the Catholic Faith and was ordained in the American Old Catholic Church. Thus he was gone into formal schism and heresy.
Please pray for his soul.
I did not originally keep a close watch on Brother's answers on the two forums he hosted -- Scriptures and Answering Protestant Objections -- because I felt he was totally solid in his faith.
I was wrong.
This answer of Brother's posted here is an example of his lack of understanding of Catholic teaching.
I am sure that most of Brother's answers are okay, I do not have the time to review each and every one of them to be sure. Thus I have removed all Brother Anthony's answers from our server.
We strive 150% to be sure that we give only accurate answers on these forums. I apologize to all if there was any misinformation given by Brother Anthony that I did not catch.
Now to your question, Theodoric:
Spiritual Communion is NOT the same as actual reception of the Eucharist. God will certainly grant graces to those, who through no fault of their own, cannot attend Mass -- such as shut-ins, the infirmed and disabled, the sick, and those people in areas where the Sacraments are infrequently available.
Those who attend Mass and do not receive the Eucharist do to mortal since may also offer a Spiritual Communion.
But this is still not the same as the actual reception of the Eucharist itself.
Your father is suffering from scruples. He needs to talk with a priest about this, or even see a counselor. His behavior is risking his soul.
He is, in fact, gravely sinning by never receiving communion. The Church teaches that we MUST receive communion at least once per year.
Your father is actually suffering from a form of pride. His pride says, Oh look how bad I am that even God will not receive me.
Doing this he is calling God a liar. God promises to make us worthy to receive him by virtue of the Sacrament of Confession.
Also an issue of Pride is to think that he is worse than everyone else.
Before Communion we all say: Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but say the words and I shall be healed.
Your father needs to get off his high horse and stop calling God a liar and obey God's command to receive him in the Eucharist.
IF their is mortal sin on his soul, then go to Confession first.
There is NO excuse... and this tough love approach is probably needed to slap him into reality.
We will be praying for him. And again, I apologize for the severely wrong answer that Bro. Anthony gave.
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