Happy birthday H.E. John Cardinal Onaiyekan! May God bless you always!

Posted by 51st International Eucharistic Congress 2016 on Thursday, 28 January 2016

CEBU CITY — A prominent Catholic Church leader warned priests against giving communion to Catholics who are not “in a state of grace” out of “eucharistic hospitality.”

John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja in Nigeria, said the practice could “inflict serious damage on the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist.”

Speaking at the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), the 72-year-old prelate cited how the Catholic Church in his country remind those attending public Masses that “only Catholics that are properly prepared should come forward to receive communion.”

“We do not believe that this is a place for any kind of false ‘political correctness,’” he told delegates.

Sacrilege

“It seems that in many places today, there is a need to recover the sense of outrage about whatever may be tantamount to ‘sacrilege.’”

Onaiyekan, who is one of the leading voices of the Catholic Church in Africa, reminded the faithful about the importance of “repentance, which is key to accessing the mercy of God.”

“Recent debate about the Church being open to those who may have distanced themselves from the Eucharist is useful,” he said.

“But it cannot mean that we can continue wallowing in sin and receiving Holy Communion on the excuse that nobody should judge us or that God is merciful.”

At the Pavilion, the 26,000-square-meter venue of this year’s IEC, organizers put up confession areas where delegates could receive the sacrament of reconciliation.

Since Catholics believe in the “real presence” of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, they should first go to sacramental confession over a grave sin they know they have committed.