Recently, Bishop Strickland did an interview with Legatus. The following is an excerpt from Bishop Strickland’s interview with Judy Roberts.
Like all great pairings, the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist are better together.
Bishop Joseph Strickland is hoping that will be driven home in a statement on the Eucharist the nation’s bishops are to draft at their fall meeting. Amid debate about whether public figures who identify as Catholic but defy key teachings should receive Communion, the bishop of Tyler, TX has urged that the document underscore the strong connection between the sacrament of Confession and receiving the body and blood of Christ. He also is calling for the immediate development of a culture of Eucharistic revival, something he says can’t wait for a document.
Confession, Bishop Strickland said, should be a part of every Catholic’s life, but failing to connect it with receiving the Eucharist has contributed to the confusion over whether politicians and other public figures who oppose Church teachings should receive Communion.
“All of us need to look into our hearts and ask ourselves how we can be more faithful to the commandments of the Lord,” Bishop Strickland said. “. . . If you really start to say ‘I’m about to receive the Lord of the universe, God’s divine Son as food,’ to really believe that means I’d better be prepared and be as close to him as I should be to actually receive him. That kind of reflection and good examination of conscience needs to be emphasized.”
Rather than single out politicians who receive Communion when they have promoted acts contrary to the commandments and teachings of the Church, Bishop Strickland said he and his fellow bishops need to call everyone to a basic understanding about the Eucharist. “Receiving the body and blood of Christ is not some sort of chip for being a member. It’s an encounter with almighty God, the supernatural gift of God’s presence among us. That’s what we’ve all got to be ready for.”
Bishop Strickland has said that to receive Communion while “choosing to disagree” with basic Church teachings can lead to eternal damnation for any Catholic. “Really, what it comes down to, the Catechism and canon law tell us, if you’re living a life that obstinately disagrees with Church teaching you shouldn’t receive [Communion.] Well, you might say, ‘I want to receive the grace.’ Not if you’re in mortal sin. You’re blocking the grace. The first step is Confession and that’s where it really needs to be dealt with.”
Continue reading Bishop Strickland’s interview here.