The following comes from a Dec. 12 posting on In the Light of the Law, a blog by canon lawyer Ed Peters. Peters served for a time as the judicial vicar for the San Diego diocese.
I suspect we’ll see more of this in coming months: certain Catholics,including some prelates, calling for the admission of divorced and remarried Catholics to holy Communion, which calls will be lionized by the secular press, of course, and only occasionally countered by other Catholics, such counters being dismissed by the secular press. Pope Francis’ governing style seems unlikely to put the kibosh on pro-reception agitation or, for that matter, to discourage its occasional rebuttal. So we’ll just have to deal with it.
To me, though, the whole thing is rather simple: either holy Communion is Who the Church says it is or it isn’t; either typical divorce and remarriage by Catholics constitutes objective grave sin (nb: no one is reading souls here, rather, one is noting public conduct) or it doesn’t; and, either those manifestly remaining in objective grave sin are prohibited from reception of holy Communion, or they aren’t.
Now, since time immemorial, the Church has answered all three questions affirmatively. But if she were to answer any ONE of those questions negatively, Eucharistic discipline would certainly (and immediately, and drastically) change for divorced and remarried Catholics—and inevitably for several other groups, too. Those calling for this momentous change need, therefore, to understand exactly what they are asking the Church to do; those opposed to the change need to understand exactly what’s at stake in the call.
Now, frankly, no one in the Church is challenging the Church’s answer to the first question, but, if the Church decides that typical divorce and remarriage is not objectively sinful for Catholics, and/or if the Church decides that holy Communion need not be withheld from those who openly persist in objectively sinful conduct, then we are all in for, as the saying goes, interesting times.
To read original posting, click here.
The problem is that many Catholics go to communion in a sinful state. This ties in with the causal attitude most Catholics have in attending mass. You see it in their clothes and behavior. Very few fear offending Jesus. Isn’t that what we are talking about. People believe that Jesus is accepting of everything and will forgive all. So why worry. If most of us are not worrying about offending Jesus, then why should divorced and remarried Catholics. Haven’t been to confession. No problem. Using contraception. No problem. Living with a same sex or opposite sex. No problem. Support abortion. No problem. Just come on in take a pew and relax. Enjoy the music. Get communion. Jesus will understand. Drop by for coffee and donuts after to build up the community.
What makes the Pope an important figure in progressive politics is the very real ultraconservative power structure in the Catholic Church that he represents a sharp break from. The church’s right-wing lobby wants to “use a conservative understanding within the church—which is a minority view—to beat up on our elected leaders like Nancy Pelosi and other Catholic leaders here in the U.S. What Pope Francis has done in one fell stroke is taken away some of the weapons that they try to use to go after our elected representatives who want to legislate for all of the people as opposed to legislating some conservative minority view into our laws. In fact, Pope Francis has also made it clear that he disapproves of right-wing Christian fundamentalism, calling it “a serious illness.”
Lisag it all. The Church has rules based on the Bible and the Magisterium. If the Church removes all this, then the Church stands for nothing. When various Protestant churches removed most restrictions, such as approving same-sex marriage, contraception, abortion etc., those denominations lost more members. When Vatican II relaxed many rules and traditions, large numbers of Catholics left the church. What does the church hope to achieve by this? With enough change, maybe Nancy Pelosi or Kathleen Sibelius could become the next Pope.
I cannot believe Pope Francis will ever change church doctrine regarding divorce and remarriage. The liberal world at large will be grievously disappointed when they discover that the pope, despite his many lurches to the left, his attacks on capitalism, his sympathy for homosexuals, and the confusing and ambiguous positions he has been taken almost since day one, will remain the Vicar of Christ. As a Roman Catholic, I cannot believe otherwise.
Anton – I expect what will happen is that the annulment process will become a lot easier.
C & H: We have been moving in that direction for many years now. Used to be called “Kennedy divorces” because you had to be a person of prominence to get attention. Question still remains: Is it licit? By what casuistic reasoning can the church stretch the meaning of “annulment” to encompass broken marriages? Til death do us part, unless mitigating circumstances prevail.
It will be interesting, to say the least, to see how the pope deals with Walter Cardinal Kasper.
Divorce and remarriage has been allowed in the past due to the weakness of man and woman. Aren’t we just as weak today? I do not think that Pope Francis will discourage divorced and remarried Catholics from receiving Holy Communion.
Receiving the Body and Blood of Our Lord in the state of Mortal Sin is a Sacrilege – a very serious Mortal (grave) sin in itself.
Marriage is a Sacrament.
CCC: ” 1639 The consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive one another is sealed by God himself. From their covenant arises “an institution, confirmed by the divine law, . . . even in the eyes of society.” The covenant between the spouses is integrated into God’s covenant with man: “Authentic married love is caught up into divine love.”
BIBLE Mk 10:6-12 JESUS, Himself, said: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commites adultery……”.
The 6th Commandment of God – “Thou shall not commit adultery”.
If the Catholic Church continues to allow any of those who are in the State of Mortal Sin receive Holy Communion, it means that the leaders no longer believe that the Bread and Wine are the Body and Blood of Jesus. These leaders are out to destroy the Christ’s bride – the Catholic Church.
Without the Holy Eucharist the Catholic Church is no different than the Protestant Christian Churches.
IF divorced/remarried Catholics who were legitimately married (and unable to attain an annulment) wantsw to receive Holy Communion, they must commit to “living in complete continence” (no sexual activity).
Beware of ANY Church authority who advocates Sacrilege.
Use your “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition” for truthful teachings of the Church.
In this time of confusion and mixed signals being sent and reported (accurately and inaccurately) – we all must rely on: CATHOLIC BIBLE and the “CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH, Second Edition” for truth.
Give a copy of the” CCC 2nd Ed” to every family you love. Help to Save their Souls for eternity.
Give a copy of the “CCC 2nd Ed” to your non-Catholic family members and friends as well so that they may know the TRUTH of what the Catholic Church teaches, rather than assuming secular reports or bad teaching by Church members is accurate.
“….the Catechism has raised throughout the world, even among non-Christians, and confirms its purpose of being presented as a full, complete exposition of Catholic doctrine, enabling everyone to know what the Church professes, celebrates , lives, and prays in her daily life.” – Pope John Paul II (CCC pg xiv)
“The Catechism of the Catholic Church, lastly is offered to every individual who asks us to give an account of the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15) and who wants to know what the Catholic Church believes”. – Pope John Paul II (CCC pg 6)
The Church’s catechesis has traditionally been structured around these four elements; this includes the Catechism of the Catholic Church,
which is a fundamental aid for that unitary act with which the Church communicates the entire content of her faith: “all that she herself is, and all that she believes”. – Pope Francis (Encyclical Letter LUMEN FIDEI, 2013)
“It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” (Matthew 5:31-32).
Jesus said only in the case of “fornication” is divorce allowed. Most people assume Jesus meant “adultery,” but this is not so. To understand this statement, we need to see exactly what the Old Covenant legislation was regarding illicit intercourse.
If a man was convicted of adultery, both he and the married woman that lay with him were to be executed (Leviticus 20:10, Deuteronomy 22:22).
If a married woman was convicted of adultery, both she and the man that lay with her were to be executed (Leviticus 20:10, Deuteronomy 22:22).
If the wife was suspected, but not convicted, of adultery, the husband had to take her to the priest with a “jealousy” offering (Numbers 5:11-31).
If a betrothed virgin was convicted of adultery, both she and the man that lay with her were to be executed (Deuteronomy 22:23-24).
If a man forces a betrothed woman to have sex with him, the man was executed, but the woman was blameless (Deuteronomy 22:25-27).
If a man has sex with an unbetrothed virgin, they were both commanded to marry each other, and they could not divorce for the rest of their lives (Deuteronomy 22:28), unless the father refuses to give her to him, in which case the man was to pay the father money for humbling her (Exodus 22:16-17).
Note: there is no provision for divorce in any of the above situations.
The only remaining possibility is that of a betrothed girl who is the innocent victim of fornication. She was not to be executed (Deuteronomy 22:25-27). But her fiancé might not want to go through with the marriage, even though what had happened was not her fault. He was allowed to divorce her and break off the espousal contract.
Francis has said he is a man of the Church and he will not change major rules. I favor giving him the benefit of the doubt until he clearly repeals a major rule.
As I recall, the scripture says wherever two or more of you gather in my name, there shall I be. I don’t recall anything requiring approval from some human governing authority.
Watch Pope Francis very closely.
He just appointed Cardinal Donald Wuerl and did not reappoint Cardinal Raymond Burke to the Vatican’s all-important Congregation for Bishops, essentially ratifying Wuerl as a highly influential figure in terms of shaping bishops’ appointments in the United States.
Let us remember that Cardinal Wuerl was the one who has given Communion to Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and other Catholics casuing scandal and in mortal sin.
He also is in charge of the Washington DC Diocese, where the Priest was publically chastised and removed for not giving Holy Communion to the admitted lesbian daughter of the deceased Mother at a funeral.
Not related – of the 267 Popes 12 were considered morally evil and corrupt scoundrals, including Alexander VI (1392-5103) of the Borgia family.
The Church has survived difficult times before.
In the meantime as others have said, read the Bible and study the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition” to insure your knowledge is accurate, so you can save your own Soul.
Hearing about this this morning knocked me over. Cardinal Burke no longer at the helm? What will this all look like now?
I believe we need Cardinal Burke here. It is possible that people are reading too much into this. God’s will may be to bring him back to the US.
Yes, those developments make me apprehensive too. Neither Wuerl nor Levada are renowned for their orthodoxy, whereas Burke certainly is.
PETE thank you for informing me this….I am greatly concerned and very sad. I feel for our devout priests, they will most likely be more persecuted within our church, we will need to defend them and stand up for them ….
Magee: “As I recall, the scripture says wherever two or more of you gather in my name, there shall I be. I don’t recall anything requiring approval from some human governing authority.” Temper that viewpoint with the 1st command Our Lord gives the Apostles after His resurrection in the Upper Room: “Whose sins you loose, they are loosed; whose sins you hold bound they are held bound.” (Jn: 20:21-23)
In our Holy Catholic Church, divorce is considered worse than murder. A murderer can confess his sin and immeidatly be eligible to recrive Holy Communioin, but a remarried Catholic without an annulment is prohibited from the Eucharist. That’s a fact.
The church also wants all Catholics that have been dirvorced and remarried to show up at Mass, even if they can’t receive the Eucharist. If Commnion is really the Eucharist Banquent of the Lord, imagine being invited to a dinner party but not being allowed to eat. That’s what Church policy is.
There is a reason why “former Catholics” is the second largest religious denomination in the US. The divorce and remarriage policy is another rather large controversy that helps keep the numbers of those who were kicked out very high, right next to those who left due to the Church’s controversial teaching on birth control, which virtually all of the laity and most priests ignore.
Pope Francis, pray for us…..
good cause, do you know the history of when the Church’s teaching on birth control became controversial? Do you know the history of when the Protestant teaching on birth control became controversial. Why IS this teaching still controversial today? Should the Church avoid controversy at all cost? Did Jesus avoid controversy at all cost? Is God still the author of life, or has our modern day technology made God obsolete on issues of life? Is modern day man now equal with God?
Jeremiah 1:5 says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”.
Did God “know” the Blessed Mother before she was formed in the womb of St Anne? Did God “know” Isaac before he was formed in the womb of Sarah? Did God “know” St. John the Baptist before he was formed in the womb of Elizabeth? Did God “know” Jesus before he was formed in the womb of Mary? Did God “know” ______ or _______or _______ or_______before he/she was prevented from being formed in his/her mother’s womb because his/her mother had a tubal ligation or his/her father had a vasectomy? I wonder how many men or women have been “known” by God but have been prevented from being conceived in his/her mother’s womb in the first place?
Adulterers in an immoral relationship can repent, too: just stop having sex. Contraceptors can get rid of their drugs. The immoral want it both ways: to continue sinful relationships without personal sacrifice and have God and His Vicar affirm them. Won’t happen. And if the Church is losing folks who can’t respect God’s Law, better they leave than stay and whine continuously.
good cause, – – Every time someone commits a sexual act with one that they are not validly married to – they commit a Mortal Sin.
If recurring they are not sorry for their Mortal Sin either – there is no remorse nor intention to stop committing the mortal sin.
One must be sorry for their mortal sin, and promise not to commit the sin again – which means no longer committing the sin of adultery (or any other mortal sin for forgiveness).
good cause, you must not have read the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition”.
Divorced and remarried persons are not “kicked out” of the Church. In fact they are encouraged to remain in the Church.
They are responsible for their own actions. All of us are.
CCC: ” 1651 Toward Christians who live in this situation, and who often keep the faith and desire to bring up their children in a Christian manner, priests and the whole community must manifest an attentive solicitude, so that they do not consider themselves separated from the Church, in whose life they can and must participate as baptized persons.
They should be encouraged to listen to the Word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts for justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God’s grace….
The Pope can not change those things instituted by Christ.
Jesus was very clear about adultery.
Jesus was clear that divorced and remarried Catholics must not receive communion? Really?
Chapter and verse?
Well one think I know for sure is that Jesus did say “And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” Matthew 16:19 giving His church full authority over those issues.
Correction its “one thing” not one think…sorry for the typo I typo to fast…
Imagine being invited to a beautiful banquet, Good Cause, where everything is provided, even a sumptuous gown intended to honor the Host, but opting to remain in your stinky work jeans and BO stained tank top instead because you don’t feel that you should have to change. If you were invited to a posh wedding, I doubt you’d fault the host for expecting the guests to make use of that which is provided.
IOW: Nobody has been ‘kicked out.’ Rather they have chosen, by free will, to depart. Turning the tables and making the Church out to be the bad guy is a great way to try and expunge folks from the consequences of their own choices, but it doesn’t hold in the long run. It’s Adam all over again, pointing out Eve (and, of course, God who gave her to him) as the cause of his sin while taking no ownership or accountability whatsoever.
You also say, “…If Communion is really the Eucharist Banquent of the Lord.” How about, Communion is, in reality, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of God Almighty. The Creator of Heaven and Earth of all that is seen and unseen. That is what faithful Catholics believe. And it is not only because we believe it that it is true, but rather it is true and so we believe.
For Ed Peters: “How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened.” -Thomas Jefferson
12/16/13, Your Fellow Catholic challenges the statement “Jesus was clear that divorced and remarried Catholics must not receive communion?” (“Really? he states). Yes, Your Fellow self-identified Catholic: Chirst: “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery. ” Luke 16:18 (also see Mt 5:32; Mt 19:9) Christ: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.” (Mk 10:11) These laws are re-affirmed in 1 Cor., Romans, and Hebrews (but I suppose YFSIC rejects Paul as well as the author of Hebrews also). So, anyone who commits a mortal sin de jure must not receive communion (“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord..For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgement against themselves.” 1 Cor 11:27). The basis of the teaching are Our Lord’s own words, which have been re-affirmed by Cath Church teaching innumerable times, YFC.
That’s a good summary.
Sandro Magister @ http://www.chiesa.com (12/18/2013) notes this: Archbishop Baldisseri – considered a pupil of the pope – has already guaranteed that ‘Francis wants a dynamic and permanent synod, as osmosis between the center and the periphery’ ” Sounds to me like a repeat of the Dutch Bishops’ synod of 1966-1968, when Montini had to organize a cadre of cardinals to try to get their fractious group into union with CC teaching. Stormy weather ahead.
We’ll see the Holy Spirit move to protect his Church, watch this space. Its not within the Holy’s father’s ability to Change Church teaching, if it were, this Church would not be here.
I am trying not to be discouraged but the more news come out from our Pope…the more I am concerned. I feel like writing to him….Lets see where the Holy Ghost moves me to…..this is heavy in my heart. I pray that Jesus will speak to our Pope and show him what is really the reality of things….I pray that our blessed Virgin Mary, that she speaks to our Pope as well and warn him. I don’t want people to misjudge him or have ills against him due to actions that come off as scandalous.
I have no respect for anyone that denies the trials we are now faced with in our church. I feel scandalized, my biggest prayer is that our Lord will hold me and secure me. Into his arms, safely I want to be. Do you ever feel like just curling up and wishing that Jesus was there holding you. That is exactly how I feel. I just want to escape scandals that hurt my security in my faith, I know that it is Jesus that protects me because I often wonder, what if I didn’t have the grace to understand better, perhaps I would have been like many who leave this Catholic church. But I remember the wise words from my grandmum she said “The Catholic Church is the true Christian church that Jesus started, the very one He died for”…..it was those very words that even till today, that I cling on too when I am faced with concerns that cause confusion. I don’t understand the sins of men, I drive my self crazy trying to figure it out but I do reflect often on my own. I try to put myself in Christ’s shoes and see if my actions hurt Him. I try to avoid hurting Him. Since I can’t always figure it out, I prefer just escaping a little and pretend I am again a little child running to Jesus, running to be safe with Him, in His arms He is my security.
You know what, even with Jesus blood and His bruised body, I feel that He is so strong, that even the troubles of this world cant touch me…..He is taking on the battle for me because sometimes I am not strong enough to deal with them.