Last week the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops wrapped up their meeting in Baltimore. They published some very important teaching documents. You can download them here. I think the two most significant documents are Married Love and the Gift of Life and Happy Are Those Who are Called to His Supper: On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist. These documents are written for the entire body of the Catholic faithful. The first document on married life outlines the Church’s teaching on married life and its ban on contraception. The second document on the Eucharist clearly states the dogma on the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and goes on to teach that we must be in a state of grace to receive Communion. It outlines conditions that would make us ineligible to receive Communion. Many have criticized the failure to specifically list use of contraception as an obstacle to receiving Communion. While I would have preferred to see such a statement, I think this document taken in conjunction with the document on marriage makes the Church’s stance understandable. A third document Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care is probably written more for priests, but it does an excellent job of stating and explaining the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.
I really do hope you take time to read these words from our bishops. However, what I really want is to hear priests talking about these documents from the pulpits. Most Catholics in the pew are not enmeshed in the Catholic blogosphere and are not reading the Catholic press. Our priests need to get the word out. In addition to a word from the pulpit, it would be good for parishes to post the web site for these documents in the parish bulletin. Adult Catholics need to be told religious education did not end with Confirmation. We've got homework to do.