Cardinal Wuerl: 'Don't deny the doctrine, but apply it to people'

Wuerl: People who have drifted away from the Church feel they are being heard under Francis

Thank you for the link!

The message that is consistent is that our doctrine will not change so I am having a very difficult time understanding what is really hoped to be accomplished. I would greatly appreciate someone helping me understand how you don’t change the doctrine but somehow make people who disagree with it come around to accepting it after this synod is completed. No sarcasm intended just a serious concern.

I’m wondering about the same thing. Like they are hoping that people who don’t accept the teachings are simply poorly informed and misunderstand things, and that paraphrasing it will make a dramatic effect and open their eyes to the truth. I think this is very naïve. People understand, they just don’t accept it and want to make their own religion.

I agree. It sounds like they’re trying to figure out how to build square circles. Here is Cardinal Wuerl:it’s one thing to doctrinally state the obvious. It’s another thing to take that and get it to work in the concrete order where people live.
I cannot get by the feeling that this is nothing more than an expression of a desire to sidestep the doctrine, as in “Yes, that’s what we believe…but…”

If it is doctrinally obvious that the divorced and remarried cannot receive communion then what are we discussing? This is perhaps the most annoying part of the “discussion”: there is no specificity, every statement is generalized and vague. Phrases like “where people live”, the “application of discipline”, mercy, etc are thrown out. What is not addressed are the specific doctrines involved and how they would have to be changed, reversed, or ignored in order for communion to be received by those in “irregular” marriages.


Clarification: Divorced and remarried CAN receive communion, if they refrain from sexual intercourse and live in continence. The matter under consideration is whether those who do not wish to follow the Church in this stipulation are left without the supernatural strength of grace in the sacraments to live a holy life and raise their families. No other sin but this, not even abortion, is denied repentance and reconciliation to God. Many repent of their first marriage’s failure, but are unable to give EVIDENCE of their repentance unless they live in continence if they’ve remarried.



I’m sure its true that many are repentant of the reeason the first marriage failed.

That failure isn’t the reason communion isn’t permitted for divorced and remarried Catholics. If the first marriage was valid and sacramental, then the second marriage becomes adultery of the first. When couples are living as brother and sister, they can receive communion, provided they have confessed. The “marriage” maintains its civil status, but it no longer is an obstacle to receive because it is no longer adultery.

Repentance means your sorry for the sin(s) you committed and will do your best to avoid them in the future. You HAVE to be sincere. If you are in an invalid marriage and do not intend to make a complete change, then you are not truly sorry and do not intend stop sinning. Under those circumstances, even if you do receive absolution, you are NOT forgiven. There can be NO change in that. We need to pray and trust the teaching authority of the Church to follow the will of the Holy Spirit in their decisions. God Bless. Memaw

I believe you are mistaking my message, completely. What you are implying in a complete change, unless I’m misunderstanding you, is that they separate. The Church has never insisted on this as evidence of sincere repentance. The only stipulation is that they refrain from sexual intimacy and live in continence, thus enabling them to receive communion.

Clarification: putative “marriages” are continuous states, not, “Oops, we goofed going to the courthouse, I’ll go to confession now, all good now,” because you never cease the putative “marriage.”

This sin is not denied repentance and reconciliation to God, abortion and the 45566879879845 other sins possible completely and totally aside.

If you keep pretending to be married to someone to whom you are not married and you keep having sex with that person, how is that not a perpetually sinful state (until it is rectified)?

In a later post you say:

The only stipulation is that they refrain from sexual intimacy and live in continence, thus enabling them to receive communion

Okay, so… do we agree or do we not? Is sexual activity outside of valid marriage sinful or is it not? Remember, this is marriage which is 1. a sacrament (and even when it’s not, natural marriage is still a God-intended thing) and 2. it is a public act/state, which makes marriage (and other sacraments) different when considering them in terms of defects etc.

I just don’t see a logical way for them to be allowed to receive Communion without insisting–with of course all the necessary pastoral assistance they need–that they not have sex without contradicting doctrine.

PS: We are not having any semantic issues, I understand your terminology and what you mean.

I suspect there will be a lot more intense focus on the true nature of sacraments so that people are better able to understand their force and efficacy beyond the mere ritual niceties. One of the things Pope Benedict stated was the reality of sacraments celebrated without faith. To access or draw on sacramental grace one needs faith. True inner faith. It is really obvious that many Catholics moreso these days, do have difficulty with that vital part of sacraments ie. accepting the Real Presence at the Eucharist and accepting the totality of absolution in Reconciliation etc. Likewise, if marriage is celebrated without true faith in the sacrament, the grace to sustain them could be missed.

This is one of the modern conundrums that atheism has created I believe. Perhaps dealing with this aspect will further shed light on the true nature of the sacrament of Marriage that Christ originally envisioned for us.

I agree.

But as an added thought, it is probably by the virtue of possible scandal that they should refrain from communion. Be it cohabitation, polygamy, porn dealing, etc., these aren’t actions as much as states in life. Bishops (and priests as well) I believe can withdraw communion from those who they believe to be in scandalous states. Or they can ask them to refrain from communion. (They’ve already done that with politicians and others.) It is possible to do so without judging their souls, which is, of course, left to God in the end.

I think it is their (the Bishop’s) approach they want to change. It the past it’s always been “Don’t do this! Don’t do that! Why? Because doctrine says so.”

Now I think they are moving towards something more like “This is what we believe. This why we believe it. Let us help you to understand all this. Once you understand it, you’ll understand how it fits into your daily lives.”

Church Doctrine has not changed and it shouldn’t. But they really need to improve their sales pitch.

Clearly. I’m using a shorthand version so all this doesn’t have to be typed out each time.

The matter under consideration is whether those who do not wish to follow the Church in this stipulation are left without the supernatural strength of grace in the sacraments to live a holy life and raise their families.

“Do not wish to follow the church”…as in rejecting her doctrines?

No other sin but this, not even abortion, is denied repentance and reconciliation to God.

This misstates the situation. Adultery can surely be forgiven and adulterers are not denied repentance and reconciliation. What prevents one from receiving absolution is not the sin but the lack of contrition. Since contrition includes the intention not to commit that sin again, those who have no intention of changing their behavior cannot be absolved.


:thumbsup: Pardon my cynicism, but I like to get to the bottom of everything (it’s a fault), but WHY are they doing this. What can possibly be the motive. These are intelligent people who understand doctrine. Have they now concluded that we are so weak, stupid and mediocre that we can no longer accept and understand the truth as it has been proclaimed for 2000 years?

Not commit that sin again??? You mean resolve not to enter into a third marriage?
That is a stretch of the imagination that has nothing to do with true repentance for the failure of the first marriage and entering into the second one. You are terribly wrong in assuming there is no contrition, although some couples who are not repentant, could care less about whether they can be reconciled to God and receive the sacraments. Those are not the ones who have true contrition, so let’s not even weigh them using the same scale as the ones who deeply want to be united to God and receive Him…

Good article from a divorced/remarried faithful to Jesus and His Church’s teaching…

The Tablet article was called ‘The Case for Mercy’ and, reading it, I felt like pleading for us suckers who actually believe the basics: sin, confession, absolution, the Real Presence and the like.

I assumed you knew the sin involved with a second marriage was not the ceremony itself but the sexual relations that ensued. If the partners do not intend to stop having sex they cannot be said to show contrition, therefore their sin - that of adultery - cannot be absolved.And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Mt 19:9)

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