Pope Francis

Dialogika Resources

Notable papal anecdote during press conference

[Unofficial translation excerpted from the Vatican website


Question: "Holy Father ... have you, as Bishop, in all these years, publicly refused the Eucharist to [a person who supports legislation allowing abortion]"?

Pope Francis:  No, I have never refused the Eucharist to anyone, anyone. I don't know if anyone came [to receive] who was in this condition, but I never, ever refused the Eucharist. When I was a priest, I mean. Never. But I was never aware of having in front of me a person such as you describe, this is true. Just ... the only time I had a little ... a nice thing, was when I went to celebrate Mass at a retirement home and we were in the living room and I said: "Who wants to take Communion? Raise your hand.": everyone, the old men, the old ladies, everyone wanted Communion, and when I gave Communion to a lady she took my hand and said to me: “Thank you, Father, thank you. I am Jewish." I said: “Well… The one whom I gave you is Jewish as well. Let's move on." This is the only unusual thing, but the lady received first and told me afterward. No. Communion is not a prize for the perfect. We think of Port Royal, of Angélique Arnaud's problem, of Jansenism: [only] the perfect can receive communion. Communion is a gift, a gift; the presence of Jesus in his Church and in the community. This is the theology. So, those who are not in the community cannot take Communion, like this Jewish lady; but the Lord wanted to reward her without my knowledge. Why? Why are they outside the community?  Because they outside the community,ex-comunitate - excommunicated ones, they are named. It is a harsh term, but this means that they are not in the community, either because they do not belong, they are not baptized, or because they have strayed for some reason.