Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Bishop Gregory Aymond - Diocese of Austin, TX

Editor: When the document was issued, it created some controversy regarding Catholic politicians. Could you explain?

Bishop Aymond: The issue is whether or not politicians and others who do not believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church should be given communion by the priest, deacon or the extraordinary minister of holy Communion. I would like to pose another question.

Anyone who seriously disagrees with the teachings of the church has chosen for their own personal reasons not to be in communion with the church. The real question, it seems to me, is "should a person who is not in communion with the teachings of the church present himself or herself for holy Communion?" That question makes a great deal more sense than placing the bishop, priest or extraordinary minister of holy Communion in the position of refusing the Body and Blood of Christ to someone or having to make a public spectacle of the situation.

In such a situation, the minister of Communion should first speak privately to the person and exhort them not to present themselves because of scandal. If the person persists and protests, then it could be cause to give them a blessing instead of Communion. All of this needs to be done in a spirit of charity. As I have said before, conversations behind closed doors are ways in which we can help people change their heart and have a clearer understanding of what God expects of us as the followers of Jesus. God never gives up on anyone and we should do our best to help people change their heart.

Source: Interview w/ Bishop Aymond for the diocesian newspaper The Catholic Spirit. June 2004.