As John Paul II and Benedict XVI lamented, there is scant evidence in our communities of any awareness of the distinction between worthy and unworthy communions—one of the most basic lessons children used to be taught in their catechism class.
The way we were:
Children in those primitive “pre-Vatican II days” were taught to practice virtue and avoid mortal sin because they should desire to be able to receive the Lord and be ever more perfectly united to Him, until they reached the glory of heaven where they would possess Him forever. They were taught that if one received the Lord in a state of mortal sin, one committed a further and a worse sin.
Can you imagine Pope Francis talking this way?
They were taught that making a good confession, with sorrow for sin and an intention to avoid it in future, was enough to put this bad situation right and restore them to God’s friendship. Who could seriously assert that most Catholics believe any of this today, or that they would even recognize, much less understand, the concepts?
 Msgr. [Robert Hugh] Benson wrote this about his Anglican days: “I was an official in a church that did not seem to know her own mind, even in matters directly connected with the salvation of the soul.… Might I, or might I not, tell my penitents that they are bound to confess their mortal sins before Communion? … The smallest Roman Catholic child knew precisely how to be reconciled to God, and to receive His grace…” (A City Set on a Hill). Does not this Anglican’s description of the problem in his own communion sound frightfully close to what may be found today in the Roman Catholic Church?