Let me get this straight. A person could go out and murder someone, rob a bank, commit adultery, or abuse a child, and after a 5-minute confession, they are free to receive communion an hour later. But just let a married couple sleep together that did not have a 20 yr ago first marriage that lasted less than a year “annulled” by a bunch of strangers who they will never meet, and they are in such a serious state of sin that they cannot possibly receive communion? What’s wrong with this picture?
The difference is that in the former, the sin has been recognized and absolved, putting the person in a state of Grace. In the latter, until the matter is either determined to be licit or not, there’s no way to absolve and the Church has no way to determine the state of Grace. If the priest absolves a person before the tribunal and then the tribunal rules the original marriage valid, the couple is living in an invalid marital state and unable to receive communion and the priest is now in a state of mortal error and so are the couple who have been receiving the Eucharist improperly. So it is a judgement on the side of caution
It does not feel fair and I know it hurts. It happened to me. The above is not meant to marginalize the way you feel. It is only to answer your question.
It’s not about the gravity of the sin. There’s no sin so grave that God cannot forgive it, if you want to be forgiven. The problem is not wanting to be forgiven. The man who cheats on his wife once, regrets it, and resolves never to do it again, is penitent, so he can be absolved. The man who makes no such resolution, but continues to cheat, is not penitent* by definition* – so he cannot be absolved, even if the priest says the words. The reason “divorced” couples (and I put that word in quotation marks for a reason: morally speaking, there is no such thing as divorce) cannot be admitted to communion is precisely that lack of penitence.
Are you going through the sort of situation you describe?
You did not specify a Catholic married couple. Did you mean to be very general?
What is wrong with the picture is that Catholics are not learning what the Church teaches, or are not following it. Matrimony involving a Catholic requires the approval of the Church to be valid.
If a Catholic has confessed properly and been absolved, and has ceased to commit the sin then communion is allowed. If there is no intention to stop the sinful action, then the absolution is not given.
I find the analogy you make to not be a good one. All sin requires true contrition from the penitent. The priest says the words of the absolution but God forgives. If you confess your sins while mentally “crossing your fingers behind your back” even though the priest may say absolution God won’t forgive.
Research has shown that many of the type of people you refer to in your analogy are often repeat offenders. I know God will forgive anything but as these people are very unlikely not to offend again it brings in to doubt whether they’ll be forgiven.
A truly contrite adulterer who firmly resolves not to sin again can be forgiven just as much as murderers, rapists, bank robbers, paedophiles, etc. The gravity of the sin doesn’t determine whether forgiveness is given. It’s the state of the penitent that determines this.
Let me get this straight.
I find this is rarely what anyone actually wants. Sigh.
A person could go out and murder someone, rob a bank, commit adultery, or abuse a child, and after a 5-minute confession, they are free to receive communion an hour later.
IF they resolve to amend their lives and sin no more. Confession isn’t a magic spell, it’s a sacrament of penance for the truly sorry.
But just let a married couple sleep together that did not have a 20 yr ago first marriage that lasted less than a year “annulled” by a bunch of strangers who they will never meet, and they are in such a serious state of sin that they cannot possibly receive communion?
Doesn’t matter how long it lasted. It was an attempted marriage. Doesn’t matter if they are strangers, judges are supposed to be strangers to the people in the cases they judge as an aid to impartiality. And, in consultation with their pastor, the couple may decide to take up the heroic duty of abstaining from sexual relations during this process along with the firm intention to follow the guidance of the Church in the matter, no matter what it turns out to be. Sort of impossible to be in a state of sin when fully submissive to the guidance of the Church.
What’s wrong with this picture?
As it turns out, nothing.
You may consider that receiving communion, while a great spiritual good and highly recommended to Catholics, is not necessary every week. It is entirely appropriate not to receive communion when a priest counsels one not to. It sounds from your post as if the only value communion has is as a public judgement on someone. This is a vast misunderstanding of what Eucharist is, although in the USA it is a very common misunderstanding. Rather, the Catholic view on the topic would be that the Church is offering to guide you, if you value the guidance of the Church, wait for it submissively. IF you don’t value the guidance of the Church, why are you even at Mass? That would be a sham.
Because being married twice is bigamy
Nothing like someone making a sincere, honest and dispassionate search for the truth, all while seeking the guidance of Holy Mother Church…:hmmm:
Depends on whether the person making Confession was truly repentant or just going through the motions in which case they are only fooling themselves. How do you know that there was no penance conferred? How do you know that the thief and the murderer did not spend 20years in jail or receive the death penalty or truly repentant of their behaviour? Christ forgave the thief on the cross. We are not privy to Confessions or the entire ever-changing story of a humans life span. People change and we should not make assumptions about others spiritual state.
The most important point and difference is that Marriage is a Sacrament.
People cannot receive the Eucharist in most cases regarding “marital status” because they are living in an adulterous (or perceived adulterous) state i.e. divorce and re-marriage without an annulment.
If the person was truly serious about receiving the Eucharist they would seek an annulment of the first marriage. Making exaggerated claims about the Church and it’s motives are suspect to say the least especially since the situation you are describing is easily remedied **if **that person is truly repentant and contrite about their situation.
If the first marriage consisted of a Catholic marrying a non-Catholic then all that is required is an annulment. If in the current marriage both are Catholics, they should talk with their Priest, abstinence is required until the annulment comes through, followed by Confession and then they can receive the Eucharist.
There is a reason why these processes are in place. The Church is there to guide us, to ensure we make spiritually edifying decisions.
We all make good and bad decisions which affect our religious life, some with foresight and Church guidance and others with our back firmly facing the Church. When they turn to face the Church and walk back towards it they should do so with serious intent and take the consequences with a glad heart.
It’s not easy being a Christian, it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Not unless they have true contrition. Which seems unlikely to form within the next hour after killing, raping, or other nefarious conduct.
Choices have consequences. A person who chose to marry while still married to another chooses adultery. As you so wisely pointed out above, someone can repent of adultery and resume the sacraments.
Until they give up the adulterous sexual relations, that are in an ongoing state of sin. If they forego the adultery, they are certainly free to receive communion.
Your inflammatory and wholly inaccurate presentation of it.
The adulterous couple are not innocent lambs. They made a choice. They could have chosen not to enter into adultery and continue to receive the Eucharist. They could have chosen to present the first marriage to the Church to determine whether or not is was valid. They would then, therefore, be able to make a moral choice to not marry if it is valid or marry if it proved to have been invalid. And would never be in such a situation as to require abstaining from the Eucharist. They can still present the issue to the Church, and if found invalid have their marraige convalidated and resume the sacraments.
Lots of choices other than sin.