My latest on Life Site News.
Following an article in America by Archbishop Aquila of Denver, in which he reiterated the Church’s teaching on the importance of approaching Holy Communion with the right dispositions, a bishop—it seems it was Cardinal Cupich—wrote a curious admonition to Aquila, which Aquila quoted in responding to it in a second article:
“I respectfully note that to claim that we can do anything to diminish the Eucharist, or its effects, is contrary to the church’s longstanding teaching. Catholic sacramental theology is based on the premise that the sacraments are the work of Christ, which is the meaning of the Church’s affirmation at Trent (DS 1608) that the sacraments act ex opere operato, or, as St. Thomas wrote in the Summa, III, 68,8: ‘The sacrament is not wrought by the righteousness of either the celebrant or the recipient, but by the power of God.’ Owing to the nature of God, Christ and his works can never be diminished by any act on our part.”
Here, Cupich points out that an unworthy recipient of Holy Communion genuinely receives the Body of Christ, and erroneously infers that he also receives the grace which should accompany that. But God does not force His grace on us. As the ancient chant composed by St Thomas Aquinas for the feast of Corpus Christi expressed it: “Sumunt boni, sumunt mali, sorte tamen inaequáli, vitae vel intéritus”: “The good take, the bad take, yet with unequal destiny, of life, or of ruin”.