On Canon 915: “Denial of Communion is not a penalty”

A post on Fr. Z’s Blog apropos of the controversy swirling around the administration of Holy Communion — in apparent disregard of Canon 915 — to pro-abortion politicians and others who openly flout the Church’s teachings has attracted this comment by one Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick:

Here is the text of Canon 915:

Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.

Several American bishops have made statements to the effect that a bishop must exercise “discretion” regarding whether to “impose the penalty” of Denial of Communion. Among them: Chaput, Dolan, and Wuerl.

All bishops who refuse to “impose the penalty” are participating in a lie. Namely: That Denial of Communion is a penalty.

Denial of Communion is NOT a penalty.

What is the import of this fact? It means that Denial of Communion is NOT OPTIONAL. It is MANDATED by Canon 915. No bishop, priest, or other minister of Communion is free to disobey Canon 915.

The poster has much more to say on the matter.

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