My friend Fr. Gerald Murray, a canonist, has a good piece at The Catholic Thing about Communion for the divorced and remarried.
Denial of Holy Communion to the divorced and remarried, however, is not based on an assumption that everyone in an adulterous relationship is in fact subjectively guilty of mortal sin. (Canon law operates on the assumption that we are responsible for our external acts and their consequences, unless the contrary can be demonstrated). The denial is based on the assumption that those who publicly enter into an adulterous union (such as a second civil marriage) are committing objectively grave sinful acts of adultery, thus wounding the Mystical Body of Christ. When that is not the case, say for a couple who live as brother and sister in view of the good of raising their children, they can be admitted to Holy Communion after making a good confession, provided that scandal is avoided.
The Declaration continues: “But the unworthiness that comes from being in a state of sin also poses a serious juridical problem in the Church: indeed the canon of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches that is parallel to can. 915 CIC of the Latin Church makes reference to the term ‘unworthy’: ‘Those who are publicly unworthy are forbidden from receiving the Divine Eucharist’ (can. 712). In effect, the reception of the Body of Christ when one is publicly unworthy constitutes an objective harm to the ecclesial communion: it is a behavior that affects the rights of the Church and of all the faithful to live in accord with the exigencies of that communion. In the concrete case of the admission to Holy Communion of faithful who are divorced and remarried, the scandal, understood as an action that prompts others towards wrongdoing, affects at the same time both the sacrament of the Eucharist and the indissolubility of marriage. That scandal exists even if such behavior, unfortunately, no longer arouses surprise: [NB] in fact it is precisely with respect to the deformation of the conscience that it becomes more necessary for Pastors to act, with as much patience as firmness, as a protection to the sanctity of the Sacraments and a defense of Christian morality, and for the correct formation of the faithful.”
Read the rest there. You will enjoy Father’s direct, concise approach and clarity.
Fathers! Rise up and teach, not with misplaced compassion, but with charity in truth.