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.61” http://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.
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.