May 17, 2004
Why is the scandal permitted?
By Barbara Kralis

"In times of great crisis there are two types of men: those who are overwhelmed by the crisis and those who rise up to resist the trend of events and so change the course of history." [1]

A Catholic bishop's ministry is a crucial part of God's saving work in human history. The bishop must be forthright in proclaiming and defending the unchanging truths of the Church, 'in and out of season,' at a time marked by 'both a widespread relativism and a tendency toward facile pragmatism." [2]

When a bishop permits another to persist in his manifest, obstinate sin against the Eucharistic Sacrament of Christ, is not the bishop cooperating in the scandal as well? [3]

The 'munus episcopale' or office of the faithful bishop has a most crucial obligation in guarding the truth that has been entrusted to them by the Holy Spirit to bring all souls to God, no matter at what cost, even if it means the persecution and death of the Bishop. [4]

The Ecclesia docens (the teaching Church) must not fail in this most fundamental obligation to save the souls of the Ecclesia discens (the learning Church).

"Full adherence to the Catholic faith does not diminish, but actually exalts human freedom." [5]

The first and essential step in returning a manifest sinner to the healing love of God is for the bishop to teach the sinner that he is causing grave scandal, even if this means challenging socially acceptable opinions and prevailing political popularities.

Remember the sorrowful indignation in Jesus' harshest words showing the seriousness of the sin of scandal (which is defined as something said, done or omitted which leads another person to commit sin):

"It would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world for temptations to sin" (Mt.18: 6-7).

What terrible things come upon the world through the sins of scandal? But the gravity of scandal increased if a bishop causes it. [6]

"So serious is the moral obligation to avoid scandal that we are admonished not only not to do wrong but also not to appear to do wrong. When a person acts, he or she must always consider the appearance of the act to be done." [7]

The church's apostolicity is clear regarding the bishop's indisputable pastoral obligation for the care of souls, particularly weak souls, and most notably in protecting sacrilege of the Eucharist:

"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...for any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself." [8]

The Council of Trent, teaches upon Paul's words:

"...No one who has a mortal sin on his conscience shall dare to receive the Holy Eucharist before making a sacramental confession. This holy Council declares that this custom is to be kept forever." [9]

The Church has always believed and taught that the Eucharist is really, truly, substantially the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. This explains why everyone who partakes of the Eucharist must be free from mortal sin.

Despite these clear teachings of the Catholic Church, many U.S. bishops give license and assent to manifest, obstinate, persistent sinners, especially pro-abortion politicians, who give scandal by unlawful reception of the Eucharist.

In fact, Canon Law n. 915 places the burden of the scandal of sacrilegious reception on the minister, or 'ne admittantur,' who unlawfully administer the sacrament, and who, in some canonists' opinions, could be punished according to canon 1389 § 2.

It is false and illusory for a bishop to promote other human rights as being equal to the most basic of all human rights — the right to life. [10] It is a grave error to preach against the first laws of nature that protect and promote human life. [11]

Those who manifestly reject the Church's teachings and admonitions regarding the sanctity of life of the unborn cause the greatest scandal of our era. There is no greater evil than abortion.

Unless each diocesan bishop bears public witness to Church Law and promulgates 'canonical notification,' as Archbishop Raymond Burke and Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz have done, several serious consequences will continue to happen.

Each bishop's complacency in the Eucharistic scandal:

  • Affirms, even encourages, manifest sinners in their scandalous actions.

  • Contributes confusion, malaise, and embarrassment for Catholics everywhere. World media are reporting, with amusement, each Bishop's reaction.

  • Distorts the Church's catholicity to potential converts from other denominations who may subsequently question the authority of the Pope and his teaching Magisterium.

  • Discourages young men in their own dioceses from answering the call of God to the ordained priesthood. Who wants to serve under such confusion and blatant Episcopal disregard for Church law?

  • Causes great rifts and divisions within dioceses, parishes and families. The faithful Catholics who remain loyal to the magisterial teachings regarding this scandal are persecuted as Papists, 'judgmental,' and 'unenlightened' by the scandalmongers.

Does the U.S. hierarchy need a filibustering 'Bishop's Task Force on the Doctrinal Note on the Participation of Catholics in Political Life' to decide how to admonish the manifest, obstinate, persistent sinners and stop the scandal? Bishops Burke and Bruskewitz didn't need one. Were they wrong?

No, Bishops Burke and Bruskewitz acted in faithful adherence to already clearly defined laws, specifically canon 915, that require all bishops to 'govern' and 'correct' to protect the Eucharist from sacrilege and the lay faithful from scandal.

Ergo, why is the scandal permitted?


  1. Catholic Professor Plinio Corręa de Oliveira,

  2. Pope John Paul II, 2/6/04 meeting with members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, biennial plenary assembly Rome.

  3. Ref "Living the Gospel of Life," n.32. 1998, National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

  4. 2 Tm 1:14

  5. Pope John Paul II, 2/6/04

  6. CCC, No. 2285

  7. 'The Catholic Response to Scandal' by Archbishop Raymond Burke, address given at the Milwaukee Wanderer Forum, December 6-7, 2002

  8. 1 Cor 11: 27-29.

  9. De SS. Eucharistia, §7; CIC §916.

  10. Pope John Paul II, 1988, "The Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World," (Christifideles Laici), n.38.

  11. Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-IIć, q. 94

© Barbara Kralis

Comments feature added August 14, 2011

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Barbara Kralis

Barbara Kralis, the article's author, writes for various Christian and conservative publications... (more)


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