What do I do with conflicting counsel?

I was told by one priest that I should not receive the Eucharist until I have gone through the process of “radical sanation” for my marriage. Another priest told me that I should not deny myself the Eucharist and that, as long as I am not scandalizing anyone (they know that I shouldn’t receive but see me receive and are offended), I should receive. He said it was within his right to tell me this, something to do with “internal form.”

Well, I sat through Mass this Saturday, wondering what I should do. Finally, I decided not to receive, since I was going to go back to the first priest to start the process of radical sanation. If I had received, it would have been with a guilty conscience, and I felt that would be wrong.

Please advise. Was the second priest correct in advising me to receive?



Dear Gene,

The Church does not recognize your present marriage as valid. For you to have sexual relations with someone to whom you are not validly married is mortally sinful. Unless you choose to live as celibates until you are married in the Church, you continue to sin seriously. Do you want to receive the Eucharist with mortal sin on your soul? This would be a further mortal sin of sacrilege. This is what the second priest is counseling you to do with his talk of “internal forum.” This is a term that is bandied about, but is not to be found in canon law.

The first priest told you the truth. This is what the Church actually teaches. And there are those who love the Lord enough to deny themselves and wait until they can celebrate their marriage with vows recognized by His Church. Meanwhile they are strengthened by the Eucharist which they are free to receive. Your hesitancy to receive the Eucharist for fear of doing wrong was most pleasing to God. You and your wife are in my prayers.

Fr.Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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