Sisters Perpetually Indulged

In SF, two of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence received communion, and Catholics – and Bill O’Reilly – are raising a ruckus and talking about “San Francisco values.” The Archbishop who served them has apologized, but a Jesuit theologian commented,

“The general sacramental principle is that you don’t deny the sacrament to someone who requests it,” said the Rev. Jim Bretzke, professor of moral theology at University of San Francisco, a Jesuit Catholic university. “The second principle is that you cannot give communion to someone who has been excommunicated.”

He said such people are designated “manifest public sinners” in canon law.

“This is someone who violates in a serious way one of the Ten Commandments or one of the important laws of the Church,” he said. “While I can see Bill O’Reilly and others might be offended, the sisters do not meet the criteria the church has for denying Communion. Over-accessorizing and poor taste in makeup is not an excommunicable offense.”

Bretzke added, “Even if these people were bizarrely dressed, the archbishop was following clear pastoral and canonical principles in giving them Communion. The default is, you give Holy Communion to one who presents himself.”

They make me thankful every day I was raised by Jesuits.

But the more important issue, to me, is that the Sisters practice what others only preach.

(Thanks again to Lena for the news item)

5 Replies to “Sisters Perpetually Indulged”

  1. What jerks my chain is how Bill-O’s show used words like “invasion” referring to *two* of the Sisters group taking communion at the church, and showing footage of the Folsom Street Fest to make viewers believe the group came in there and tore the place apart.

    In fact, the Sisters have been affiliated with the RC church in SF for some time and, in fact, run bingo-nights in the church basement…


  2. I’m shocked – SHOCKED! Bill O’Reilly making an ass of himself and showing he doesn’t understand the Catholic religion at all? If we can’t count on him to be fair and balanced, let alone to do research on this utterly important issue to our times, then where is trust?


    (Signed, an ex-eucharistic minister…)

  3. My family went to mass every Sunday when I was growing up, even when we were camping. I remember as a teenager going to mass in jeans during one camping trip and being denied communion by the priest because I didn’t have a dress on. This was in the mid-70s. It was so upsetting to me and my family, that we never went to that church when we were camping again.

    Good for the archbishop for looking beyond the dress to the person underneath. He shouldn’t have felt the need to apologize.

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