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.
That's not so complicated, is it? Among other things the canon means that those who are flaunting themselves in their commission of mortal sins are not to be assisted by the ministers of Holy Communion in the commission of sacrilege against the Eucharist. The purpose of this is several-fold:
- It prevents the sinner from incurring the guilt of yet another mortal sin.
- It protects the Eucharist from profanation.
- It prevents scandal to other faithful Catholics
- It hopefully will drive home to the flagrant sinner the need to repent and to make a good confession so as to escape the danger of eternal damnation.
With all the talk we're hearing about "mercy", we can see that the application of Canon 915 is an act of mercy. However, some progressives who call themselves "catholic" are in a blather over the good bishop's much-needed directives. I link now to one such hissy-fit at New Ways Ministry. I'll highlight one paragraph that illustrates the author's (Robert Shine) abysmal grasp of both reading comprehension and basic Catholic morality.
It is discrimination to target LGBT people when, in a certain sense, all Catholics could be deemed “manifest sinners.” Who among us, including Bishop Paprocki, does not publicly sin at different moments? Yet, funeral rites are not denied to Catholics who pay employees an unjust wage, publicly advocate for the death penalty, or deny climate change.
Please refer to Canon 915, as written in its clear, concise manner. Shine completely, and I think deliberately omits key descriptors of the sins that would call for the remedy of Canon 915. Those descriptors are, "obstinately persevering", and "grave". Shine is right; faithful Catholics do openly sin from time to time. However, these faithful Catholics will not "obstinately persevere" and most likely the sins will not be "grave" but venial. As we do have decent dreads of sin and its impact in our lives, we will get ourselves to Confession as soon as possible and we will make amends. Thus the remedy of Canon 915 is not appropriate in those cases.
Shine also makes another error in assuming that liberal positions on several pet issues of the progressives, e.g., death penalty and climate change, are binding on the Catholic conscience. They are not. In fact, I've gone to great lengths to detail why I believe the progressive position on the death penalty may in fact be a sin. To insinuate that divergence from these liberal positions warrant denial from Holy Communion is to sin against honesty and the Traditions of Holy Mother Church.
Let us recall, of course, that New Ways Ministry has itself been condemned by the Church and its dribblings carry no weight whatsoever. However, it is helpful to see the intensity with which they wail and gnash their teeth when a Catholic bishop such as Bishop Paprocki is faithful to his sacred trust and utilizes his authority to protect his flock from the wolves of progressivism and heresy.