RENO, Nev. (ChurchMilitant.com) - After reaching out to the Reno diocese regarding a homily disparaging the Church's teaching on the Real Presence, the public YouTube video of the homily was set to "private," rendering it publicly unavailable.
Concerned Catholics alerted Church Militant to the dubious homily, given by a priest ministering to university students and available to the public on YouTube.
A priest and a theologian reviewed the homily and pointed out multiple points of contention with Church teaching. Church Militant reached out to the Reno diocese on Thursday, at which time the video was still available to the public.
The diocese did not respond. On Monday, public access to the video had been restricted.
In the homily, delivered on the Feast of Corpus Christi at Our Lady of Wisdom parish and Newman Center in Reno, Nevada, Fr. Nathan Mamo made a series of claims at odds with official Church teaching on the Blessed Sacrament.
"It is a very important festival in the Church year," Mamo began, "especially in the last 30 or 40 years when a lot of Catholics have become very legalistic in so many ways about who can receive Holy Communion ... who is worthy ... who is excluded ... what does it mean to be excommunicated?"
He posited "the Real Presence of Christ" exists in three realities, which he claimed, "are all equal." Those three realities are the assembly, the proclamation of the gospel and "the reception of the sacrament," according to the priest. But nowhere in the homily did Mamo align his claims with Church dogmas on the Real Presence.
Quoting one of the Church's dogmas on the Eucharist, the Catechism states: "In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist 'the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained' [Council of Trent: DS 1651]."
Mamo went on to allege the question of Our Lord's presence in the Eucharist did not arise until the rise of Protestantism in the 16th century. Mamo is apparently confusing the formal definition regarding the Real Presence at the Council of Trent with what the Church has always believed about the Eucharist since the time of the Apostles. The Council of Trent merely defined what the Church had always taught on the subject.
"That didn't become an issue until the Protestant Reformation," he asserted. "It was a theological issue that a lot of people picked up and chose sides for all kinds of reasons, not knowing what they were talking about."
"That is in the era, by the way, that we invented some words like 'transubstantiation,' and Catholics wave that word like its a real banner that helps us explain things," Mamo continued.
To understand transubstantiation, according to the priest, one must know other technical terms, all of which sound "nutty to our ears because they don't make sense in modern theological, philosophical talking."
Also known as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi was established for the universal Church in the Middle Ages to celebrate the love of Our Lord as expressed in the Real Presence of the Holy Eucharist.
Canons 915 and 916 of the Code of Canon Law address worthy reception of the Blessed Sacrament as follows:
Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion (Can. 915).
A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case, the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible (Can. 916).
In his homily, Fr. Mamo mentions nothing about confessing grave sin prior to receiving Holy Communion while implying doing so is unnecessary.
"I would love to scold laypeople who insist on telling other Catholics who have not been faithful to Mass, 'Oh, you can't go to Holy Communion because you're married outside the Church or you haven't been to Mass in a long time ...'" said Fr. Mamo. "I want to say, 'Stop practicing Church rules without a theological license.'"
"Just so you know, I have a license in theology. I can do this and you're wrong," he added.
Father Mamo received his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) in New Testament studies in 1994 from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, California.
The Jesuit-trained priest seems to have a pattern of delivering questionable homilies.
"The Church has to change a lot," Fr. Mamo preached in late July in a different homily. "People who don't like change in the Church have no sense of the change. They're not able to perceive the historical evolution of the Church."