Forgotten teachings

Forgotten teachings

Fr John Speekman

I read with some interest this morning a report that Archbishop Pell has spoken at the Synod of Bishops in Rome on the "forgotten teachings" of Hell and Purgatory. Terrible things can happen when we "forget" Church teachings, because the next step is to deny them.

It seems to me that one of the most forgotten teachings today is on the obligation to assist at Sunday Mass and the necessity to confess deliberate failures in this regard in the Sacrament of Reconciliation before once again receiving Holy Communion.

Not only can we fail to mention this obligation in our catechesis but some of our liturgies actually encourage people to believe such a teaching no longer exists.

I have found it increasingly more difficult over the 17 years of my priesthood to continue the practice of class and full school Masses in Catholic secondary schools. Given the fact that the overwhelming majority of our secondary school students are no longer connected to the Church through the Sunday Eucharist, I believe it is no longer appropriate to celebrate a weekday Eucharist for them.

To continue to offer Holy Communion to young adults who have made a deliberate choice not to be in Eucharistic communion with the Church fatally compromises the whole notion of what it means for a Catholic to be "in communion" with Christ in the Church.

School Masses teach students they can receive the Lord's Body at any time whether they attend Sunday Mass or not. As a parish priest I find myself unwilling to confirm them in this error.

Given the large proportion of non-Catholic and non-practising children, I think it is more appropriate for our secondary schools to celebrate a Liturgy of the Word where now they celebrate the Eucharist.

Morwell, Vic

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