Here is what he had to say about the sacraments in general, and specifically about communion (with great thanks to Episcopal Cafe and National Catholic Reporter):
"The sacraments are not an instrument of discipline, but a help for people in their journey and in the weaknesses of their life. Are we carrying the sacraments to the people who need new strength."
There has been a lot of discussion about the idea of "open communion," meaning inviting all people to come to the table. Everything has been focused on the unbaptized who might come forward to receive. Very little has been said about the rejected, dejected, cast aside and otherwise mangled by church in its effort to "order" and "discipline" the community. The Lead, the banner column of Episcopal Cafe, rightly points to Cardinal Martini's comments on sacraments as "a help for people on their journey."
The remarks are a reminder that open communion is not only about communion for the unbaptized person who wants to participate, receiving bread for the journey, but for those not permitted to receive for a whole range of reasons having mostly to do with the difficulties of their particular journey.
The thing is, the sacrament of communion is of such healing and strength that even people who are at the edge of the crowd or even edged out know when they see the real thing. In the weaknesses of our lives this bread is life and baptized or not, in favor with the church discipline or not, at peace or not, broken or not, we know it. The unbaptized person who comes forward to receive and the divorced person who would otherwise be at her home church and the gay person who was rebuffed by good church people, and you and me.... we all are the army of the weak, and Jesus is strength.
Precious Lord, take my hand...
Mahalia Jackson Take My Hand, Precious Lord by mouche45