The apostle Paul said that those who take the bread at the Lord's Supper without recognising the body of the Lord eat unworthily and sickness and death may be a consequence.

 The Church is clear that when it won’t make a scene that scandalises the people, that communion must not be given to people with whom she finds major faults. The scandal of refusing can be avoided by the priest explaining beforehand, "The rights of the Church to believe and decree what it wants must be respected - even an atheist must accept that and respect that. We believe that the Church believes and decrees what God wants. That is why it is to be called the Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. It is not fair for notorious sinners to come to the altar for communion to get the priests and congregation to contradict what they believe and are obligated to believe as Catholics. It is not fair on the God of love who must be put first in all things. And it is not respectful to the Catholic faith. The notorious sinners are taking advantage of the fact that priests who kindly ask them to refrain from communion are afraid to do so. They are taking advantage of the fact the Catholics who have little or no loyalty to God's teaching and commands will praise their behaviour. They take advantage of the loss of the sense of sin that is in the modern world. The notorious sinners encourage others by their example to emulate them. Even murderous dictators think they should get communion. That is what that attitude leads to."
According to Catholic and Christian doctrine: “To consume Holy Communion in a state of grave sin is a sacrilege and another grave sin. It is receiving Jesus into a pit of abominations.” Hence, if a priest knows that a person is a grave sinner and gives them communion he is desecrating the body of Jesus. He is being a partner in the crime of sacrilege.
Many Catholics think that somebody living a lifestyle forbidden by the Christian faith - eg an abortionist or a person living in sin with another - may not understand the wrongness of what they do and thus are not really serious sinners. They do grave evil but in their hearts they don't mean to be very bad.
So the person could be given communion on the basis that they might not intend to be grave sinners. The priest could assume that for he has no way of knowing if they mean to do great evil.
Some Catholics argue that though the priest does not know all the circumstances and judges nobody, there is a probability that, say, a cohabiting homosexual, is in a state of grave sin which means he can’t give communion just in case. 
So you cannot judge for sure the heart of somebody who comes for communion. They might have been heartily anti-god five minutes before but it could be different now. So is it wiser to assume that they have changed or that they are seriously opposed to God and will pay for it in Hell forever if they die. No. Worse happens if you accept them as forgiven and you are wrong. It being complicit in their rebellion. And accepting a person in case they are holy is not accepting them at all. How people who live in a state of rebellion to the Church can happily go and seek and embrace this conditional and pretended acceptance is mind-boggling.
Some may say we must assume the best to be on the safe side. We must assume the person is holy despite outward appearances. They would see the ban on the homosexual as based on cynicism. But in certain cases the priest will have a good idea of what is going on. If he sees two gays having sex and then coming up for communion twenty minutes later then he can refuse. Also, if we assume people are always good where do we draw the line? Do we pretend that the murderer is really a good person but was just misguided?

But suppose it is right to keep the body of Christ away from some people. Are the reasons the Church gives for not doing this all the time valid?
If the Church gives communion to people she disapproves of would she be giving the message that she approves? Would it be making others feel better about sinning seriously or that this or that is not a serous sin at all? It would be but it is up to the Church to instruct them properly. She has no right to argue that she must refuse communion in case it leads people astray.
The priests cannot argue that they have to give communion in case the congregation are upset and alienated if they don’t. The Christian is supposed to do right regardless of how others feel so the negative reaction of the congregation is irrelevant.
What if a person is convinced the Church is wrong to think they are guilty of mortal sin? Should the person be allowed to attend communion? Then the person is not treating the Church and its law with dignity and respect. Like it or not, to treat it like that is a denial that it has the right to make rules and demand that they be kept. It's a statement against religious freedom - except maybe your own!
The Church says that a priest must refuse communion to a public sinner to protect the Eucharist and to save the community from scandal. When a priest must refuse communion to a public sinner, this is done not so much for the protection of the Eucharist from sacrilege, nor even for the spiritual benefit of the sinner, but rather for the sake of the Catholic community.
It allows communion to be given to people who are known to be sinners on the presumption that they may have repented from their sins. But if the communicants indicate that they have not repented they can be refused.
The following can happen if a priest refuses to give communion:
A person who is sinful is treated as they deserve.
Or a person who has repented and turned to God is being refused.
The Church prefers to err on the side of caution and give communion in case the person has repented. It sees refusing the Eucharist to such a person deliberately as far worse than the sacrilege of taking communion in sin.
If you are a grave sinner, the sin of taking communion when you are unrepentant is a far worse sin than your initial grave sin. The Church says you are lying to Jesus in the Eucharist and committing grave sacrilege.
It is said that priests must not reveal hidden sins through the denial of communion to the communicant. But all he is revealing is that some major rule has been broken. He is not revealing what the sin is.
If there is upset the communicant has caused it.

If a non-public serious sinner did present themselves for communion, the priest would be under at least a moral obligation to counsel him or her privately afterwards, if possible, to prevent a repetition of the offence. The obligation would be stronger if it is a public sinner.


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