Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof...
Recently, a priest denied Holy Communion to a woman at her mother's funeral. Apparently, the woman is a lesbian, living with another woman. Not exactly grounds for refusing Communion. The news story doesn't explain any of the details surrounding the case, instead it castigates the priest who refused the communicant. One may assume that the woman is not in communion with the Catholic Church as regards Catholic teaching on sexual morality or some other aspect of the faith - or that the priest knew the woman and was aware of something else that could cause scandal. At least those would be some of the normal reasons for denying Holy Communion, as in the case of pro-abortion politicians - though very few priests and bishops do that.
Perhaps it would have been more charitable if the priest presiding at the funeral would have taken the woman aside and explained the rules for Communion to her, or better, make a general announcement before Mass. But there must be more to the story. Unfortunately the embarrassed woman claims she will never go back to a Catholic church. That is unfortunate - for her soul.
I'm not sure what I would do if that happened. Would I protest and say, "But Father, I just went to confession last Saturday and I live a chaste life in obedience to Church teaching, please, can I receive Communion? I believe with all my heart it is the true body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ!"
Hopefully I would not. Hopefully I wouldn't make a scene. Hopefully I would quietly return to my pew and make a spiritual communion. Perhaps after Mass I would ask the priest if I could speak with him.
A priest can deny Holy Communion to a person for good reason. It is rarely done, but it is the priest's right, and in grave cases, his duty to do so. In the olden days, not everyone went to Communion at every Mass, or every day, much less every Sunday. Did you know that in the really, really olden days that priests sometimes even denied the saints Holy Communion, as a mortification or to test their humility? St. Teresa of Avila once had a confessor who withheld Holy Communion from her for twenty days. At other times, I believe it was John of the Cross or Fr. Gracian who gave her just a tiny fragment of the host, rather than a complete host, to test her faith, test her humility, exercise her in detachment, etc.. No one does such things today, I hope, but it just goes to show us that some day we could find ourselves denied Communion by a zealous priest for some unknown reason, or for being like Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi. It could happen.
I know! I am so grateful I am permitted to receive Holy Communion at all.
Art: Last Holy Communion of St. Francis - Peter Paul Rubens