Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pope rules out Berlusconi's plea for Communion

Pope Benedict XVI has called for only the "pure of heart" to receive Holy Communion.

The pope spoke out just a day after Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, joked with his local priest in Sardinia that the church should change the rules so that he could receive the Eucharist.

"When are you going to change this rule that stops me taking communion?" Mr Berlusconi asked the bishop administering wafers to the faithful.

The Catholic Church considers marriage to be sacrosanct and Mr Berlusconi, who has divorced and remarried, is therefore ineligible for communion.

Bishop Sebastiano Sanguinetti drily replied: "You can change the law, you have friends in higher places than me", before moving on.

However, Mr Berlusconi's chances seem slim after the pope underlined the importance of approaching communion in the right way.

"I want to invite shepherds and the faithful to renew their attention on how they prepare to receive the Eucharist," the pope said by videolink to an audience in Montreal.

"Despite our weakness and our sins, Christ wants to invite us into his home and asks us to start our healing. We must do everything in our power to receive him into a pure heart, and to re-find in the sacrament of pardon a pureness that sin has stained."

However, the pope did say that even people who are ineligible to receive communion can find healing by attending the church service.

Mr Berlusconi's confessor, Father Gabriele Corsani, yesterday denied that he had ever secretly given the prime minister communion.

"This is nonsense," he said. "He has never asked me to. He knows it is a rule and he is very attentive to it. Receiving communion is taking Jesus into your heart. However, there does exist also that which is called spiritual communion, which one can do without receiving the Eucharist.

"At the moment of communion, at the funeral of his mother, I saw him tranquil in prayer on his knees as if he had received it."

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Sotto Voce

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I often struggle with humility... as soon as I have eradicated my pride from one area ... it seems to surface somewhere else. And I say to myself... Has He not suffered enough for you? Has He not lowered Himself enough because of your weakness? How wonderful that Jesus in His Great Mercy is easier on us than we are on one another or on ourselves. So... say a prayer for me tonight... my dear Sotto Voce... that I may always strive to be pure of heart.
Remembering you... everyday...
God is Gracious