Devil's Advocate on Divorce and Communion

Well here it goes:

Who are you to judge another’s person heart? Perhaps Jesus converts the heart of most who are drawn to receive communion. How are we to know all the complexities of motives and situations? Where in the Bible does it say that material heretics can’t receive communion? In fact, one of them has been named a Doctor of the Church (Saint Gregory of Narek). If we can’t judge the communicants as adulterers subjectively, who are we to keep them from Jesus?

Soda and popcorn time. Debate!

Since when were you a Protestant TAM?

I’m not sure St. Gregory of Narek can be called a material heretic. Additionally, the matter of withholding communion in the modern age is more pertinent to public scandal, such as with politicians who exhibit obstinance. As then-St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke explained recently as representative of the canon law on the matter:*[T]he consistent canonical discipline permits the administering of the Sacrament of Holy Communion only to those who are properly disposed externally, and forbids it to those who are not so disposed, prescinding from the question of their internal disposition, which cannot be known with certainty.*Thus, withholding of communion does not make a judgment on the internal dispositions of the individual.

As I understand it, a divorced Catholic in good standing with the Church can receive Communion.

Are you talking about the divorced and remarried?

Mary.

:takeoff:

Who are you to judge another person’s heart?

No one.

Perhaps Jesus converts the heart of most who are drawn to receive communion.

Perhaps he does.

How are we to know all the complexities of motives and situations?

Often times we cannot…So we pray for enlightenment and live in Love.

Where in the Bible does it say that material heretics can’t receive communion?

Well - I would offer:
1 Co 11…
27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

Also…

1 Cor 5…
1 It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. 2 You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst… 11 But actually , I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

And again…

Mt 18…
17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Soda and popcorn time. Debate!

:compcoff::manvspc::takethat: :smiley:

Also - as another said, are you mainly referring to one who is divorced and remarried without a decree of nullity?
There are many who are divorced and are perfectly free to receive communion.

Peace
James

At this time, the criteria for receiving communion for the divorced and remarried is that they are objectively in a state of mortal sin. Therefore, the actual state of the heart is not relevant. This is my understanding of the reasoning behind denying communion for the remarried.

I wondered how long it would take before someone would start using St. Gregory as as excuse to overlook sin. If one is in the state of serious sin, (no matter what kind) and they repent of it and I mean truly repent, that means true sorrow for that sin, then one has to avoid committing that sin again, not continue to live in as before. If one continues to live in sin then that is not true repentance. When Jesus forgave, HE also said, “Go and sin NO MORE!!” God Bless, Memaw

I think we should assume the best, not that it is an excuse, but a genuine inquiry into a legitimately difficult issue. After all, Catholics alone look at remarriage as on on-going sin, and it is unique in many respects to all other sins, the sin that keeps on sinning, so to speak.

TAM, a divorced Catholic in good standing with the Church can receive Communion. Now, let’s define good standing:

Good standing would be a divorced Catholic who is living chastely. This divorced Catholic might be in the process of petitioning for an annulment (and is waiting on the outcome), or it may be someone who was unable to receive an annulment, has accepted that, and is living chastely. I have friends who did not date until they received the results of the annulment process (i.e. the annulment was granted, so two friends were declared available for a sacramental marriage), and they say the wait was tedious, but worth it. I know some good priests (and I would like to see more) that say, “if you have not received a decree of nullity, you should not be dating/courting.”

A divorced Catholic not in good standing would be someone who is say, living with a significant other while waiting on the outcome of an annulment. I would like to see more priests and permanent deacons put their foot down on this teaching. It is surprising how many older people today (i.e. those older than childbearing age) who are playing house, and many look at this like it is no big deal.

As for divorced and re-married Catholics, those re-married outside of the Church (i.e. without an annulment) should not be receiving Communion. This goes for say, a divorced Catholic who married his second wife in Las Vegas or by a Justice of the Peace. Another scenario would be two Catholics who were unable to receive annulments (or never petitioned) and married say, in a Presbyterian church. These Catholics are living in sin, unless one of the former spouses is deceased.

By the way, I know some pastors put their foot down on criteria for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, and I am glad they do, because this is confusing to others. Some pastors have a criteria that if married, your marriage must be in accordance with the Catholic Church. Years ago, I was at a parish where it seemed like anyone could be an EMHC, because there was a woman in the choir (seriously) who was a non-Catholic who often distributed the Eucharist. There may have been others who were in second marriages without annulments.

I hope and pray that the upcoming Synod will uphold the Catholic teaching on divorce and re-marriage. Cardinal Burke has written extensively on this, and says if it comes down to this, he will resist. I am there with him.

The Bible itself says that not everything is in the Bible.

Its not complicated.

If a person divorces but does not remarry they may receive Communion, assuming they are in a state of grace.
If a person divorces and remarries without an annulment they commit a mortal sin and may not receive Communion.

This is what the Church teaches and all Church teachings have the full authority of God behind them. What God teaches trumps any contrary opinions any individuals may have.

If they are “living in sin” how are Church Radical Sanations even possible (whereby the Church retroactively acknowledges that an allegedly remarried couple were in fact validly married for the first time when they gave public consent to each other in the Reigstry Office - or possibly Las Vegas)?

Its not black and white is it…?

Thistle I know what you mean but I think you’ve worded it poorly.

Nobody on earth can know with certitude when a person “commits a mortal sin”.
All we humans can judge is whether or not somebody has objectively (ie materially) sinned (ie an action of grave matter).
This means that, had they done so with full knowledge and intent, THEN they would have committed a mortal sin. Nobody knows this.

So the bann on the divorced and remarried from receiving Communion is NOT because they have **committed a mortal sin **but because they are in a state of mortal sin.

A “state of mortal sin” is when one puts oneself into a situation where one is repeatedly involved in objectively grave matter (eg an invalid marriage which is putatively adulterous).

This does not always mean that person is repeatedly “committing mortal sins” that kill the soul.

I am talking about it objectively. I cannot say any specific individual has committed a mortal sin.

I don’t understand why you say committing a mortal sin is not the reason a person cannot receive Communion but its because they are in a state of mortal sin.
Committing a mortal sin means you are in a state of mortal sin. You cannot commit a mortal sin and not be in a state of mortal sin.

I also don’t understand why you use the word repeatedly. A mortal sin does not have to be committed more than once for it to be a mortal sin.

“Committing mortal sin” and “being in a state of mortal sin” are two completely different concepts Thistle.

Just because the individual words seem the same doesn’t make these technical phrases identical.

Most of us know “black boxes” are actually bright orange now.
Though people not in the know might think they are black because they don’t understand the phrase is bigger than the sum of its parts.

Your mistake is much the same, and completely understandable.
But you are misleading people here which is why I am forced to pull you up on this.
My apologies for this.

BTW the phrase “committing mortal sin” can mean nothing else than killing sanctifying grace in the soul and meriting hell. Nobody is able to judge that happens when a remarried couple engage in sexual relations. It is not objective at all.

[quote=Blue Horizon;12793771**]“Committing mortal sin” and “being in a state of mortal sin” are two completely different concepts Thistle.
[/quote]

Just because the individual words seem the same doesn’t make these technical phrases identical.

Most of us know “black boxes” are actually bright orange now.
Though people not in the know might think they are black because they don’t understand the phrase is bigger than the sum of its parts.

Your mistake is much the same, and completely understandable.
But you are misleading people here which is why I am forced to pull you up on this.
My apologies for this.

BTW the phrase “committing mortal sin” can mean nothing else than killing sanctifying grace in the soul and meriting hell. Nobody is able to judge that happens when a remarried couple engage in sexual relations. It is not objective at all.

One is the act and the result follows. If you commit a mortal sin you are then in a state of mortal sin.
Also you do not have to repeat a mortal sin for it to be a mortal sin.
The above applies whatever the mortal sin committed.

As for a Catholic who has divorced (that in itself is not a mortal sin) and remarries a different person engaging in sexual relations without getting an annulment that is a sin of grave matter and if said Catholic knows that then they have committed a mortal sin and are in a state of mortal sin.

Every Catholic MUST be in the state of Grace when receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion. That’s NOT an option. Otherwise we would be receiving HIM unworthily. I would not want to wish that on anyone. Read 1Cor 11: 23-29 That oughta wake anyone up. God Bless, Memaw

Thistle when you say “If a person divorces and remarries without an annulment they commit a mortal sin” then you are catagorically wrong. Though I know what you mean.

The better way to put it is “If a person divorces and remarries without an annulment they commit adultery (a sin of grave matter) if they are not living as sister and brother.”

That is all I am saying.

Here’s where I find myself partially ‘off the res’.

I’m of the humble opinion that no person of good will, who sincerely ‘discerns’ the Body of Christ in the Eucharist, should be denied Holy Communion with the Lord, due to their state of sin. Christ is the remedy to Sin; denying Christ Eucharistic to the Sinner, is denying the remedy/medicine, to the infirm.

I do not advocate this position publicly, nor do I defy the proper Church authority in this regard, and I’m not a Eucharistic minister–though if I were, I would certainly NOT invoke my humble opinion, over that of the Church authority; I simply have my opinion on the matter as indicated above.

And it is my understanding that the application of this ‘rule’, is a matter of discretion of the Bishops over their respective diocese.

So some bishops in say Mexico, will deny those ‘living in sin’ in their flock, the Eucharist, while some bishops in various parts of say, the USA, permit it–limiting the application of ‘eating/drinking judgment on [oneself]’ referenced in St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, to the ‘…discernment of the Body of Christ’, and not ‘unworthily’, as in tainted with Sin.

The latter application, in reality (IMO), would implicate >90% of those who have ever communed.

The former, more liberal application, would limit the ‘eating/drinking judgment on oneself’, to those who disrespect the Eucharist as merely symbolic–which imo, seems more consistent with that passage–which is why he recounts the words of the last supper (“This IS my body…this IS my blood”) before making that admonition.

…and from what I can tell, it would appear that Pope Francis is of this latter school of thought.

Please note the bolded language above: “…it is my understanding…”; that’s how it was explained to me; that’s how I’ve seen it practiced; and I haven’t seen anything authoritative, to say that it isn’t within the discretion of the bishops–so let anyone feel free to correct me if I’m mistaken here.

JMHO.

^^^also worth noting: As part of the liturgy, we recite:

“…Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof (used to be “…to receive you”), but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed (used to be "…I shall be healed).”

IMO, this expresses my position as indicated above; that, coupled with the ‘mea culpa’ at the beginning of mass, done sincerely, should suffice to ready the sinful soul, for reception of Christ Eucharistic.

Again, JMHO.

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