Healing of the Eucharist is needed to repair scandal, says Iowa archbishop

Archbishop Michael O. Jackels of Dubuque, Iowa, attends opening prayer during the 2018 fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

DUBUQUE, Iowa (CNS) – Rather than being denied Communion, Catholics who cause scandal in their defiance of Church teaching should be allowed to receive the Eucharist as the “healing remedy” Christ gave to his followers, said Archbishop Michael Jackels of Dubuque.

“We readily identify things like abortion and capital punishment as life issues, which Catholic teaching identifies as absolutely wrong under any circumstance,” he said.

“But protecting the earth, our common home, or making food, water, shelter, education and health care accessible, or defence against gun violence . . . these are life issues too,” he said.

The archbishop made his comments in a letter to the faithful of the archdiocese released on May 25, a day after a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 schoolchildren and two teachers dead and another 17 people injured.

The gunman, later identified as Salvador Ramos, 18, was killed by law enforcement.

The Texas tragedy came 10 days after a mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket that targeted Black people. Suspect Payton Gendron of Conklin, New York, also 18, has been charged with first-degree murder.

“Pity the grocery shoppers in Buffalo, the school kids in Texas, their grieving families, and everyone now more afraid than ever of doing those simple, everyday things,” Archbishop Jackels said.

“You’ve got to wonder about reasons for refusing reasonable limits on gun ownership, which are inspired by the common good and offering protection from harm,” he said.

In writing about life issues and the Eucharist, the archbishop did not mention San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who declared on May 20 that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, is not “to be admitted” to Communion because of her stand on legalised abortion.

Archbishop Jackels said that “some people want to repair the scandal of pro-choice Catholic politicians by refusing them the Eucharist”, but he called this “a misguided response for at least two reasons”.

“As Jesus said, it’s the sick people who need a doctor, not the healthy, and he gave us the Eucharist as a healing remedy,” he explained. “Don’t deny the people who need the medicine.”

“Also, to be consistent,” he said, “to repair the scandal of Catholics being indifferent or opposed to all those other life issues, they would have to be denied Holy Communion as well.”

“Better, I think, to put the Eucharist in the hands of such Catholics in hopes that one day soon they would put their hands to work on behalf of life, in defence of all life,” Archbishop Jackels concluded.

Photo: Archbishop Michael Jackels of Dubuque, Iowa, is pictured in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on June 29, 2013 (CNS photo)


Posted in ,

Catholic News Service

Reader Interactions


  1. Gregory says

    Catholics are normally pretty good at engaging science and at making distinctions and nuancing. As such, we know that fetuses aren’t ‘blobs of tissue’ or abstractions awaiting a trip down the ‘magical birth canal’ to become ‘human’, and furthermore we know that there is a hierarchy of moral evils. Abortion sits high on top of evils because it concerns life rather than liberty or use of the created world. Without life, in the first instance, you can’t have any secondary issues to do with liberty or use of creation. It’s worse than not recycling and coastal erosion or even, quite shockingly, slavery. Conflating everything into the ‘#seamless garment’ is not helpful because there is a hierarchy of moral evils. If the 20th century taught anything, it taught that. About 40million die each year under a well-educated and cultured knife. That is far more than deaths that can be directly attributed to any other issue, which makes the situation even worse. Not only is it the worst of awful things but it directly kills more than any other issue.
    It’s possible that the horrifying combination of absolute evil, the staggering numbers and the clinical invisibility overwhelms the ability of ‘opinion leaders’ to comprehend the situation.

    PS. Scripture (aka the Bible) is pretty clear on the effect of taking the body and blood of Christ without humility and proper relationship to God beforehand. Hint – ‘Eucharist’ is not a public PacMan power prize to charge a soul in mortal/deadly sin. No, the appropriate sacrament required is private, is humble; it is reconciliation and penance. Do that, then receive the Eucharist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.