The other day at Crux there was a piece by Fr. Paul Keller about a theoretical (Deo gratias) case study in which the writer – basing himself on the objectively unclear notions of Amoris laetitia Chapter 8 – figures out how to give Holy Communion to a woman living in a publicly known permanent state of adultery. The piece is characterized more by probably well-intentioned sentimentality than reason and knowledge of the Church’s law and perennial teaching.
Keller’s piece once again raised in my mind the question of why the Knights of Columbus are bank rolling Crux.
Enter Ed Peters at his splendid blog In The Light Of The Law. Peters pull Keller’s offering to pieces and exposes the errors.
Read the Crux piece first, keeping in mind that this is what we are going to hear a lot more of in the future. Then read Peters’ piece, keeping in mind that this is what we ought to be hearing a lot more of in the future.
Here is a key bit:
Amoris assumes, without ever quite stating it, that individual consciences (which, yes, can be very complex, and often deal with hard cases, and are never fully knowable to another, and might be only partly informed, and so on, and so on), are the final arbiter of whether a would-be communicant must be given the sacrament, as if only Canon 916 (which most people would recognize as being the canon that looks at conscience) were on the books, and by which canon one could, in some hypothetical case, see an objectively grave sinner approaching for holy Communion without that act itself being sinful, while Canon 915, meanwhile, which requires minsters to make a distribution decision in accord with objective criteria, simply does not exist.
The pervasive and steadfast refusal of nearly all “Amoris supporters” (I dislike the term but it saves time) to face squarely the ancient tradition behind and unambiguous rule of Canon 915 is what dooms virtually all defenses of Amoris so far to irrelevance at best and to pastoral and even doctrinal disasters at worst.
However, there is something buried in Peters’ presentation which all confessors (i.e., priests with the faculties to receive sacramental confessions) should understand.
One of the worst sins/crimes a priest can commit is that of solicitation in the context of confession of sins against the Sixth Commandment. Can. 1387. says: “A priest who in the act, on the occasion, or under the pretext of confession solicits a penitent to sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue is to be punished, according to the gravity of the delict, by suspension, prohibitions, and privations; in graver cases he is to be dismissed from the clerical state.” Pretty serious, right?
I strongly suspect that most confessors who read that canon, when they were taught about that canon way back when, assume that it means solicitation for themselves. However, the canon is not limited to themselves. It means solicitation – period. That means that if the confessor recommends, condones, approves, etc., sins by the penitent against the Sixth Commandment with anyone (including with the civil spouse with whom the penitent lives in adultery), then that confessor is guilty of the delict described in can. 1387!
Fathers, did you get that? More HERE.