Synod: ABC…Easy as 1,2,3…

The Synod. So much swirling around it. There’s no way I’m really ever going to compete with the on-the-ground coverage and leaks coming out of it, but I’d like to offer my own very simple thoughts.

We’ve heard endless commentary of divorce, homosexuality, etc. but it really seems like something simple has been completely ignored. It would be a sacrilege for a divorced person now cohabitating with someone who is not really their spouse to receive Communion. It would be yet another sacrilege for a homosexual engaging in homosexual practices to receive Our Lord in Communion. Easy. Why this is seemingly being complicated to the hilt is beyond me. Well, I guess not so beyond me. It’s Satan.

Here’s the ABC…

A)Can.  916 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. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_P39.HTM

1415 Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a3.htm

B) 2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery:

If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery, and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another’s husband to herself.177 http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P87.HTM

C) 1856 Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us – that is, charity – necessitates a new initiative of God’s mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament of reconciliation:

When the will sets itself upon something that is of its nature incompatible with the charity that orients man toward his ultimate end, then the sin is mortal by its very object . . . whether it contradicts the love of God, such as blasphemy or perjury, or the love of neighbor, such as homicide or adultery. . . . But when the sinner’s will is set upon something that of its nature involves a disorder, but is not opposed to the love of God and neighbor, such as thoughtless chatter or immoderate laughter and the like, such sins are venial.130 http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a8.htm

So, you knew “Easy as 1, 2, 3” was coming, right?

1) People in mortal sin should not receive Communion.

2) People who “remarry” after divorce are committing adultery

3) Adultery is a mortal sin.

Inevitably somebody is going to say you have to know it’s a sin so I’ll just get that part out of the way now.

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest. http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c1a8.htm#IV

Now, as I’ve pointed out before, there’s a new little movement that’s trying to claim “primacy of conscience” without knowing what the heck that means. Primacy of Conscience is based on a rightly formed conscience. That’s part of the deal. It doesn’t mean “Well, the Church tells me it’s a sin, but my conscience doesn’t really make me feel like it is.” Uh-uh. Nice try.

I. THE FORMATION OF CONSCIENCE

1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.

1784 The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart.

1785 In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path,54 we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord’s Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.55

III. TO CHOOSE IN ACCORD WITH CONSCIENCE

1786 Faced with a moral choice, conscience can make either a right judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law or, on the contrary, an erroneous judgment that departs from them.

1787 Man is sometimes confronted by situations that make moral judgments less assured and decision difficult. But he must always seriously seek what is right and good and discern the will of God expressed in divine law.

1788 To this purpose, man strives to interpret the data of experience and the signs of the times assisted by the virtue of prudence, by the advice of competent people, and by the help of the Holy Spirit and his gifts.

1789 Some rules apply in every case:

– One may never do evil so that good may result from it;

– the Golden Rule: “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.”56

– charity always proceeds by way of respect for one’s neighbor and his conscience: “Thus sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience . . . you sin against Christ.”57 Therefore “it is right not to . . . do anything that makes your brother stumble.”58

(Having someone commit adultery with you might be making your brother (or sister) stumble – big time!  Then there’s the scandal…)

IV. ERRONEOUS JUDGMENT

1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.”59 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

1793 If – on the contrary – the ignorance is invincible, or the moral subject is not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the evil committed by the person cannot be imputed to him. It remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience.

1794 A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity proceeds at the same time “from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.”60

The more a correct conscience prevails, the more do persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by objective standards of moral conduct.61http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a6.htm

In short, it really doesn’t matter how you feel or if you feel that the Church is wrong in her doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage. If you are divorced and remarried (and not living under a rock), you are aware of what the Church teaches about divorce, “remarriage”, and the Eucharist. You may not like it. It may make you sad, but it is adultery no matter how you spin it. I’m really not trying to ruin anyone’s day here. I love people enough to want them to stop sinning — or to feel comfortable in sinning — because, hey, I’d really like it if we could all meet up in heaven someday.

Sacrilege against the Eucharist is another mortal sin of the worst kind. “What is a sacrilege?” my former classmates may ask?

Sacrilege is in general the violation or injurious treatment of a sacred object. In a less proper sense any transgression against the virtue of religion would be a sacrilege.

Theologians are substantially agreed in regarding as sacred that and that only which by a public rite and by Divine or ecclesiastical institution has been dedicated to the worship of God. The point is that the public authority must intervene; private initiative, no matter how ardent in devotion or praiseworthy in motive, does not suffice. Attributing a sacred character to a thing is a juridical act, and as such is a function of the governing power of the Church.

<snip>

Real sacrilege is the irreverent treatment of sacred things as distinguished from places and persons. This can happen first of all by the administration or reception of the sacraments (or in the case of the Holy Eucharist by celebration) in the state of mortal sin, as also by advertently doing any of those things invalidly. Indeed deliberate and notable irreverence towards the Holy Eucharist is reputed the worst of all sacrileges.  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13321a.htm

I would propose that suggesting Communion for divorced and “remarried” folks so they feel more included and will suddenly stop committing adultery is the wrong focus (sorry Cardinal Kasper). There’s zero chance of it working because then you are removing the one penalty still in place and they’ll then be COMPLETELY comfortable continuing on in adultery.

The focus should have always been on the Eucharist first. You know, the source and summit of our Catholic faith? There is no “mercy” (buzz word of the year!) in suggesting that it would be wise to allow a person to commit a sacrilege. I don’t really worry about the Church rubberstamping that. She really can’t. What she can do, however, is cause mass confusion which is abounding as of late.

I saw a petition circulating for a “Synod Walk Out.” I’m kind of torn on that one, I have to say. The prolonged scuttlebutt surrounding this Synod is really not healthy for the Church. To have it end on a sharp note of “We’re not going to lead the faithful astray with all this speculation being floated!” sounds heavenly. However, I think I would be happy if some clear, simple teaching of why Communion for the divorced and “remarried” is impossible came out of this synod. It’s already too late for confusion so a document correcting the confusion is going to have to come out fast to nip this in the bud. We’re already leaning toward what happened with Humanae Vitae. The speculation was so huge that artificial birth-control would be allowed that people were defiant when it wasn’t. Now it’s happening with adultery via “remarriage.”

Here’s hoping we’re put out of this misery as quickly as possible!

P.S. This one was a formatting nightmare so please excuse ugliness!

P.S. Again – For those not familiar with the Faith, I’ve used quotes around all version of “remarriage” because it doesn’t exist in the Catholic Church in the manner used here. It only exists after the death of a spouse.

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30 thoughts on “Synod: ABC…Easy as 1,2,3…

  1. I’m glad that you are tackling the Synod. We’re watching in horror as Pope Francis has opened the doors (many were already in) to ennemies of the Church to destroy its teaching. I know that the Holy Spirit will have the final word. Please say your Rosaries everyone as what we are seeing here is not really about divorce nor even about homosexuality but the Father of Lies challenging the Body of Christ head on!

    I saw the Petition too: I opted not to sign it. It comes from a good position but we CAN’T LEAVE the Church to these apostates and heretics. I’d prefer that the good Bishops make a storm and KICK OUT the heretics including Bergoglio if needs be rather than leave the Institutional Structure of the Church: The heretics want the Shell that the Church has built for millenia to carry out its message of destruction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But, listen man, we have NOT left the Church (by trying to keep the Commandments of the Lord God), we want those who have ALREADY left the Church (by disseminating lies, as well as dissimulating about revealed Truth) to admit their lies.

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  2. OMM,

    Thank you so much for your insight and your blog in general. You and Fr. Z are my daily dose of sanity in this crazy world.

    My favorite line in the Catechism, which you included is :

    1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

    The above is the source of all of humanity’s problems.

    I used to think all my problems started when I started drinking (been sober 29 years, praise God!).
    A few years ago, when I returned to our Catholic faith, I bought a Catechism Day by Day book.
    1792 was one of the days in the book. It then hit me like a ton of bricks! My problems were not a result of drinking. Drinking, and all the problems that followed, was a result of leaving God and His Catholic Church!

    When I started to conform as best I can to God’s will and his teachings through the Church, my life really started to turn around.

    Thanks again for reminding us all of the Truth.

    Ted Condo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Outstanding! It’s all there in black and white. Very straightforward. You could have included Canon 915, which states: “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.” I would say that if you are in an adulterous relationship, you’re definitely “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin.”

    Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Usually Canon 915 is reserved for public obstinate sinners like politicians which is why I didn’t throw that one in. Adulterers aren’t usually excommunicated and don’t normally receive a formal imposition or declaration. They’re just sinners. I think manifest is the word. Often, people don’t know about a “first marriage” and we don’t know for sure (or we shouldn’t) whether or not said couple is now living like brother and sister (although I would assume most are not). Just some technicalities.

      Now someone like, says, Ted Kennedy who used to tout his pro-abortions stance, etc….Canon 915 was made for him!

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      1. I tend to think that those who continually publicly disagree with their bishop on the Church’s doctrines, are guilty of this. (This is a universal problem, but SF seems to have more than its fair share.) But then, I’m one of those converts who is, as the old saying goes, “more Catholic than the Pope.” I spent an enormous amount of time and energy studying Catholicism before I decided to convert, and when I did, I accepted its teaching, lock, stock and barrel. If I weren’t, I wouldn’t have converted.

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        1. Well there’s certainly a line to be crossed somewhere. For instance, many people take birth control but don’t walk around telling everyone about it. Now, if they launched a campaign, you’d have another scenario on your hands. Also, there is a responsibility to the clergy to tell them they are in error. in other words, the Church doesn’t go 0-60. There are certain steps of education to go through before they’d deny Communion. Personally, I think it should happen more often but that’s me!

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          1. Why isn’t the bishop in New Jersey telling his priests to withhold communion from those that practice birth control? If a person who is should not be receiving communion because they are divorced and remarried what is the big deal if they get it. They won’t receive the grace, right? Why does this man want to do this?

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          2. Did you happen to notice the text of the letter sent to the priests in New Jersey? I was kind of excited when I heard about it but then read the actual letter. http://www.religionnews.com/2015/10/13/new-jersey-archbishop-sets-rules-barring-catholics-communion/ He’s issued what, pretty much, all the other bishops in the U.S. have made on the topic. He states the fact that they should not be receiving. He didn’t actually tell them to not give it to them. I was hoping for the latter.

            Why did he mention just divorce and remarriage? He didn’t. That was the primary focus though and the reason was a little thing we call the synod. The liberals are spinning big hype that the divorced and remarried will be allowed to receive. (Kind of the point of the post you are commenting on.) He’s, basically been made to have to put out a clarification for his flock.

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  4. Curious as to your thoughts about annulment, specifically the annulments “bought” by wealthy Catholics who ostensibly had very happy and productive (meaning children) marriages. Husband (wife) has affair, divorces partner, and “buys” their annulment so that they can remarry in the church. We all know that it is a crock of “@(#%), but it goes on. Money talks, as they say. It seems the “church” takes the easy way out on this one. Always a loophole and as usual the wealthy win while the poor are expected to take their lumps and leave what may be an abusive marriage and not be able to marry again all for the sake of receiving a wafer.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re right but I’m a practicing Christian who believes in God but doesn’t believe in the church’s somewhat misogynistic views. Apparently, my husband did not commit a mortal sin by participating in IVF. I guess he did commit a lesser sin as he had to masturbate to get the sperm samples.

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          1. I’ll bite. Name one misogynistic view.

            Next, tmi, TT, tmi. Do you really have so little respect for the marital relationship that you want to share the intimate details of it to thousands of people. That attitude, alone, really shows the damage done. Is that what you teach the boys??? Geez. Again, I DON’T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT anyone’s sexual activities, clinical or not. It should be sacred not something to be casusally mentioned in an on-line forum. No wonder there’s no respect for it anymore.

            Lastly, there are several reasons IVF is sinful. Masturbation is really just a drop in the bucket so to speak (really, if I have to have the visual, I’m going to distract with humor. Deal.)

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Replying to your post below. No women hold a position of power in the church. No women are attending the synod. Glad you are okay with that. None of these “men” would have been born without a woman.

            How else is IVF achieved without masturbation. Frankly, I’d be surprised that your husband has never practiced it. There are thousands of parents who are thankful for the procedure of IVF and who cares how it was achieved since the marital relationship wasn’t enough. Consider yourself lucky to have conceived naturally but that doesn’t make you better than me. The Catholic church has a problem with sex, as apparently you do (really if I have to reply with the visual).

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          3. …and men can’t have children or be nuns and sister. And? Some things are simply belonging to our gender. How is this misogynistic? I almost think people don’t actually know what the word means anymore. The church doesn’t dislike or devalue women. Somebody might want to tell Mary, Catherine, Therese, Teresa and Hildegard that the Church didn’t value them.

            I did a whooooolllllleeeee blog on the reasons that IVF is wrong. I know exactly how IVF is achieved and this is very much why I care. I do consider myself lucky to have been able to conceive. That was not always the case and yet I’ve never resorted to methods outside the Church’s teachings – even the tests that go against Church teachings. If I hadn’t been able to conceive, I would have adopted or fostered which may or may not happen anyway in the future. I wouldn’t have drug my husband, doctor, etc. into sin because of my desires. Their salvation is my priority. I don’t justify sin by saying the cross is too heavy to bear. I look to Our Lord to help me bear it just as he promised He would.

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    1. I’ll give you my thoughts. A person who obtains a declaration of nullity for such reasons and through such means, knows very well their marriage is not null and didn’t only sin in doing that but I think they will be living in adultery. You can’t fool God. It’s very different than someone who believes the process to be solid and their marriage null even if it happens that the judges do a bad job and declare null what should not have been so. Then their conscience is clear.

      Second thought: Hell exists.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. OK, first it’s the Body and Blood of Christ, not just a simple wafer. Second, there either is a marriage or it is found to be null due to some sort of impediment at the time of the marriage. This was a pretty straightforward article: http://www.providencejournal.com/article/20140918/NEWS/309189989

      I applaud Pope Francis’ plan to have the fee for the annulment process lowered for those who cannot afford. That said, how much do you think they cost? I think you’ll find it’s not insurmountable for most and there are people who support themselves in the marriage tribunal so it’s not like they should get paid.

      I’d kind of disagree that money makes a difference to marriage tribunals. If anything, I think it has more to due with prestige. For Ted Kennedy the prestige worked. For Joe Kennedy II, not so much. Still, this is far from every diocese. Many of us out here in California complained when annulments were given out like candy. I had one priest suggest to me that because “we now know alcoholism can be traced to a genetic disposition (mind you know hint of it at time of wedding) that someone might have not married their spouse if they had known about the predisposition.” Sorry, Father. What a pile of manure!. That’s a far different cry from someone was a slobbering drunk at the time they entered into a marriage and the spouse-to-be was not made aware of that fact. Thankfully these silly priests have not won out around here and the annulment process has been reigned in.

      So, as you can see from the 5 elements of a valid marriage listed in the article, an abusive marriage isn’t necessarily grounds for annulment. That tendency would have had to be present at the time the marriage was contracted. The Church wouldn’t expect one to live in an abusive situation but it just doesn’t mean the marriage wasn’t a valid marriage. And, yep, some of us have harder crosses to bear in life.

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      1. So are you saying someone should remain in an abusive marriage in order to receive Communion? Not very charitable of the church.

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        1. TT- before I respond, are you suggesting that the Church tells people to remain in physical or mental harm? I’m reasonably sure you know that’s not true but I thought I’d check before answering.

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  5. Right, as easy as 1,2,3.
    You made me remember the interview Raymond Arroyo did with Card. Kasper.
    He tried to pin him down with these simple facts. Adultery is mortal sin and people in mortal sin cannot receive communion. I wish he had done it even more directly. But he made the Cardinal struggle! There is no logic to his arguments. Only fake mercy and other such words to make it sound somehow still orthodox.

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  6. Excellent, timely analysis, OMM! It’s hard to overstate the enormity of the revolution being proposed. It’s been an established principal since the earliest days of the Church that you need to be in a state of grace of receive the Eucharist. Likewise, it’s been axiomatic that if you’re having sex with someone who’s not your legitimate spouse, you’re not in a state of grace. To welcome to the Eucharist the divorced and civilly remarried or those who engage in homosexual activity, something has got to give. The Church would either be (1) scrapping the doctrine that you need to be in a state of grace to receive; or (2) moving extramarital sexual activity and homosexual acts from the ‘mortal sin’ column into the ‘state of grace’ column. If it’s #1, then everyone can receive, and there’s little need for confession, penance or even any recognition of the concept of sin. (Although I suppose it might still be considered sinful not to recycle, or to own a polluting automobile or to be insufficiently generous to the poor). There’s little doubt in my mind, though, that the real end-game of the revolutionaries is #2.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was actually thinking about your number 2. I think (just a guess since I’m hardly a scholar so maybe a scholar will chime in) that extramarital sex as a mortal sin is also doctrinal in nature. I think it’s inherent to the act. When the Church calls it a “grave sin”, I don’t think they can call it an “ungrave sin”. Really the same really goes with #1. So, in other words, I think the liberals can try as hard as they might but they’re going to get nada in this area. As I pointed out, they can champion in confusion.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yet, 98% of Catholics use birth control and still go to Communion. How many Catholics have per-marital sex? It has been too long since I have seen the stats on premarital sex so I don’t remember but I know that it is EXTREMELY high.

    When you all are done excluding everyone from Communion the only person left that will be able to receive Communion will be Mother Theresa herself.

    Think about it. A person can be forgiven for abortion and then receive Communion but a person can NEVER be forgiven for a failed marriage.

    The hypocrisy is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

    When you all are done excluding everyone from Communion the only person left that will be able to receive Communion will be Mother Theresa herself.

    Think about it. A person can be forgiven for abortion and then receive Communion but a person can NEVER be forgiven for a failed marriage.

    The hypocrisy is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

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    1. Sometimes I think “Why the heck should I bother responding to a person who comes up with goofy stats like this?” and then I remember how steeped in “If I say it enough it’s true land.” So, let’s start off with this piece done by the Washington Post (not exactly a conservative bastion): https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/the-claim-that-98-percent-of-catholic-women-use-contraception-a-media-foul/2012/02/16/gIQAkPeqIR_blog.html

      Common sense should tell you the headline is wrong immediately. First of all, 98% of Catholics aren’t of childbearing years. I’m pretty sure the article you were plastered with refers to 98% of Catholic women of childbearing years and then contradict it with their own data. Oh, and Nancy Pelosi is an idiot.

      And then I just have to throw in that the Church has confession for a reason. The not so dumb ones of us use it every chance we get – even Mother Teresa and JPII went to confession! Doesn’t that tell you something. Oh, and btw, Mother Teresa also was against birth control (“Saying there are too many children is like saying their are too many flowers!) so it’s really funny you should throw her in the mix. A failed marriage isn’t necessarily a sin. Breaking the marriage vows and committing adultery is. And guess what? That can all be forgiven with confession and firm resolution too!

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