Divorced/Remarried w/out Annulment--Hellbound or Not?


#1

I posted this in the Ask Apologist section but did not receive a reply, so I’m asking this here.

I’m always hearing people implore a Catholic who has been remarried outside of the Church, after a divorce and no annulment, to still come to Mass, even though they are not able to receive communion. They are told there is value in ‘Spiritual Communion’. Of course, they can’t receive communion because they are not in a state of grace, correct? This is because sex outside the bounds of a sacramental marriage is a mortal sin for a Catholic, yes or no?

So, are they knowingly, with a full consent of their will commiting a mortal sin, or are they excused because of their passions, or what? Do they have to abstain from sex to go to Heaven? Do the priests think they are going to Hell? Because I’m told they are still expected and bound to go to weekly Mass, but why should they bother if they’re going to Hell? If they can’t go to communion, doesn’t it mean they’re in Mortal Sin?

Can they just go to confession each week if they’ve had sex? What if they have children together? Are they supposed to separate? The whole thing suddenly doesn’t make sense to me. Why aren’t they told that they might go to Hell? I never hear anyone telling that straight to their face, but just telling them that they should go to church and have spiritual communion, that that’s valuable and worth having. But, if they’re in mortal sin, then they are doomed.

Do I make any sense? :confused:


#2

[quote=HelpingHands]I. But, if they’re in mortal sin, then they are doomed.

Do I make any sense? :confused:
[/quote]

wrong, no one in a state of mortal sin is doomed, they always have the option to confess and receive absolution at the reform their way of life and remove whatever the sinful condition or action is standing in their way to full communion with Christ and His Church. Even someone who dies in a state of mortal sin may be saved if he expresses contrition, this was just answered on AA within the last 24 hours. The only person who is doomed is someone who dies in a state of deliberate, unrepentant mortal sin, who is fully aware of his sin and its consequences, yet stubbornly clings to the sin and is entirely without contrition. That is the general statement.

With regard to a particular person whose manner of life suggests that they may be persisting in a particular mortal sin, the attitude of the Christian is that we do not know the state of their soul, the matter is to be dealt with in confession, and we assume in Christian charity that they are doing what they can to rectify their situation. We do not make judgements about particular persons.


#3

[quote=HelpingHands]…people implore a Catholic who has been remarried outside of the Church, after a divorce and no annulment, to still come to Mass, even though they are not able to receive communion.
[/quote]

Of course. A Catholic is still bound by the ordinary precept to attend Mass, even if s/he cannot receive Communion.

They are told there is value in ‘Spiritual Communion’.

It’s not really ‘Spiritual Communion’ if the person is not in a state of Grace.

Of course, they can’t receive communion because they are not in a state of grace, correct?

Correct.

This is because sex outside the bounds of a sacramental marriage is a mortal sin for a Catholic, yes or no?

Yes, of course.

So, are they knowingly, with a full consent of their will commiting a mortal sin, or are they excused because of their passions, or what?

They are not excused for any such reasons. Their relationship is mortally sinful.

Do they have to abstain from sex to go to Heaven?

Probably. They must abstain from mortal sin in order to get to Heaven. If they are having sexual relations outside of sacramental matrimony, they are living in mortal sin. That is not compatible with salvation.

Do the priests think they are going to Hell?

Who knows (or cares) what the priests think? Hopefully, any priest is aware that a person who dies in a state of mortal sin goes to hell.

Because I’m told they are still expected and bound to go to weekly Mass, but why should they bother if they’re going to Hell?

Because maybe fulfilling their Mass obligation will keep at least ther prevenient Grace alive (even though their santisfying grace is inoperative). Prevenient Grace may yet lead to their repentance and salvation.

If they can’t go to communion, doesn’t it mean they’re in Mortal Sin?

No. There can be other impediments to reception than mortal sin (for example, eating just before Mass).

Can they just go to confession each week if they’ve had sex?

Of course. But one of the things we must (at least) intend to do is cease our sinful behavior.

What if they have children together?

This doesn’t change the nature of the relationship, any more than if anyone concieves children outside of wedlock (which is what has happened).

Are they supposed to separate?

No. But they must live as “brother and sister” to avoid falling into mortal sin.

The whole thing suddenly doesn’t make sense to me.

Why not? You seem to grasp the implications quite well.

Why aren’t they told that they might go to Hell?

Oh, that’s because priests these days are wimps and don’t tell people the truth.

But, if they’re in mortal sin, then they are doomed.

We cannot jump to conclusions. But, indeed, if someone is fully aware that they are in an adulterous relationship, but willingly persists, their prospects are grim.

Do I make any sense?

You make perfect sense, and your instincts are correct.


#4

[quote=HelpingHands]I posted this in the Ask Apologist section but did not receive a reply, so I’m asking this here.

I’m always hearing people implore a Catholic who has been remarried outside of the Church, after a divorce and no annulment, to still come to Mass, even though they are not able to receive communion. They are told there is value in ‘Spiritual Communion’. Of course, they can’t receive communion because they are not in a state of grace, correct? This is because sex outside the bounds of a sacramental marriage is a mortal sin for a Catholic, yes or no?

So, are they knowingly, with a full consent of their will commiting a mortal sin, or are they excused because of their passions, or what? Do they have to abstain from sex to go to Heaven? Do the priests think they are going to Hell? Because I’m told they are still expected and bound to go to weekly Mass, but why should they bother if they’re going to Hell? If they can’t go to communion, doesn’t it mean they’re in Mortal Sin?

Can they just go to confession each week if they’ve had sex? What if they have children together? Are they supposed to separate? The whole thing suddenly doesn’t make sense to me. Why aren’t they told that they might go to Hell? I never hear anyone telling that straight to their face, but just telling them that they should go to church and have spiritual communion, that that’s valuable and worth having. But, if they’re in mortal sin, then they are doomed.

Do I make any sense? :confused:
[/quote]

First let’s remember that the Church is not to blame here. The fault is with the people who married without paying any attention to the teachings or law of the Church, yet still claimed to be Catholic Christians.

"I’m always hearing people implore a Catholic who has been remarried outside of the Church, after a divorce and no annulment, to still come to Mass, even though they are not able to receive communion. They are told there is value in ‘Spiritual Communion’. Of course, they can’t receive communion because they are not in a state of grace, correct? "

Of course attendance at Mass provides Actual Grace to those not in a state of Sanctifying Grace. This should bring them to repentance and to seek Reconciliation.

" This is because sex outside the bounds of a sacramental marriage is a mortal sin for a Catholic, yes or no?"

Generally yes.

"So, are they knowingly, with a full consent of their will committing a mortal sin, or are they excused because of their passions, or what?

Passions could reduce the responsibility, but not always. What have they done to reduce or eliminate the temptation should be asked.

“Do they have to abstain from sex to go to Heaven? Do the priests think they are going to Hell? Because I’m told they are still expected and bound to go to weekly Mass, but why should they bother if they’re going to Hell? If they can’t go to communion, doesn’t it mean they’re in Mortal Sin?”

They should because they are not married to each other, they are basically “shacking -up”. No one but God knows where anyone specifically is going. Their actions however do reflect their attitude about their Salvation. As I said above. Going to Mass should help them realize their error and seek to correct it.

“Can they just go to confession each week if they’ve had sex?”

A person cannot go to Confession and be forgiven unless they fully intend to avoid the sin again to the best of their ability.

What if they have children together?

Then it’s hard to deny that they had sex.

Are they supposed to separate?

That would be a means to avoid sinning again.

“The whole thing suddenly doesn’t make sense to me. Why aren’t they told that they might go to Hell? I never hear anyone telling that straight to their face, but just telling them that they should go to church and have spiritual communion, that that’s valuable and worth having. But, if they’re in mortal sin, then they are doomed.”

Every Catholic adult should know that 2+2=4 and that dying in unrepentant Mortal sin is a possible ticket to Hell. Most people live for this moment and never really consider how their actions impact their life or death after physical death.


#5

[quote=puzzleannie]wrong, no one in a state of mortal sin is doomed, they always have the option to confess and receive absolution at the reform their way of life and remove whatever the sinful condition or action is standing in their way to full communion with Christ and His Church. Even someone who dies in a state of mortal sin may be saved if he expresses contrition, this was just answered on AA within the last 24 hours. The only person who is doomed is someone who dies in a state of deliberate, unrepentant mortal sin, who is fully aware of his sin and its consequences, yet stubbornly clings to the sin and is entirely without contrition. That is the general statement.

With regard to a particular person whose manner of life suggests that they may be persisting in a particular mortal sin, the attitude of the Christian is that we do not know the state of their soul, the matter is to be dealt with in confession, and we assume in Christian charity that they are doing what they can to rectify their situation. We do not make judgements about particular persons.
[/quote]

Wonderful answer.

On a similiar note a Fransican Friar mentioned to me just yesterday that he is partial to the East’s definition, or way of explaining, sin. He says the East talks of two forms of sin as does Rome. The East makes a distinction between these two types of sins as; sins of malice, and; sins of weakness. I’m not sure if this is a direct parallel doctrinally speaking, but I received some comfort and understanding from the distinction.


#6

Hi everyone,
I see that some people have a more literal interpretation of the catechism and others don’t. I’m glad that one can be orthodox and not see everything as black and white. PuzzleAnnies explanation rings more to my heart. Thanks.


#7

Sin has an objective and a subjective aspect pertaining to guilt.

Objectively, the aforementioned couple are commiting mortal sin, and if they die in a state of mortal sin, they will indeed go to hell.

Subjectively…no one but they themselves and God (and perhaps their confessor ) know all the mitigating circumstances surrounding their situation. This is why the Church never judges as to whether a particular person is in hell, because there may be unknown situations which lessen their guilt, and it is always possible that at the moment of death they are given the grace of perfect contrition for their sin.


closed #8

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