You wrote in a recent post, “Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried (which in 99.99% of cases would be sacrilege).” Can you tell me what scenario would permit your conscience to give communion to the remarried? I can think of a couple, perhaps; curious what you’re thinking, esp. as I teach a marriage class every semester.
Okay, I left myself open to that fair question.
First, before anyone tunes out… I have to ask: Has reception of Holy Communion in most places come to be about something other than getting to heaven? I have a strong impression that, in many places, if you were to quiz people about Communion, the answer would be along the lines of, “That’s when they put the white thing in your hand before you sing the song together.” Seen that way, why shouldn’t everyone go up and get the white thing? Excluding people would be mean!
If, however, Holy Communion is known to be the reception – in the state of grace – of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, who is Savior, King of Fearful Majesty and the Just Judge, then there are going to be limitations on how and when we receive.
Amoris laetitia is objectively vague. I have little doubt that this is intentional, so that priests who have been inclined to do whatever heck they want with distribution of Communion can now have some official “cover”. Amoris is being taken by some to mean that Communion can be received by people who are, at the time of Communion, not in the state of grace and who don’t have a firm purpose of amending their sinful ways. I think that that is a reduction of the Most Sacred Host to “the white thing”.
A priest who allows or prompts the reduction of the Eucharist to “the white thing” is probably going to go to Hell.
However, those who are faithful to the Church’s perennial teaching can interpret Amoris in a way that is harmonious with the Church’s perennial teaching. That’s how I choose to work with Amoris.
Now to the question about the .01%… which is an arbitrary number, of course, chosen to show that the scenario would be rare.
If a couple who are civilly married, etc. etc., have entered into a process with a priest who has helped them to see what their situation truly is (according to the teaching of Christ and His Church), then they know that what they are doing is wrong. They know that they are in an adulterous union and that they have committed mortal sins. Therefore, they know that are not properly disposed to receive Communion. They also know that Communion is not “the white thing”.
That is what the priest must help them to understand. That is his duty, at the peril of his own immortal soul and theirs.
If they then choose – for whatever compelling reason suggested by the objectively vague Amoris, etc. – to stay together, then the priest must help them to make a choice. After Father lays out the options, they will tell the priest either that …
1) they will not live in continence as brother and sister, or
2) they will try to live in continence as brother and sister.
If they say they won’t, and they don’t, they cannot be admitted to Communion. They must be told not approach to receive Communion, for that would be a mortal sin and a sacrilege.
If, on the other hand, they say that they will try, and if they confess their sins and intend to live in continence, they probably can be admitted to Communion – remoto scandalo – provided that scandal is avoided.
HENCE…. and here is my answer…
If, in those circumstances when such a couple might be properly disposed to receive Communion (i.e., they are in the state of grace), give them Holy Communion outside of Mass in the rectory.
That would avoid scandal. Right?
Think about it. If reception of Communion is so important to them because they a) really understand what the Eucharist is… WHO the Eucharist is and b) they reflect on the Four Last Things and c) they must live together for some reason and they choose to live in continence, etc., and d) they manage to live in the state of grace, then they should be willing 1) to attend Holy Mass according to their obligation (like everyone else) but 2) not receive Communion during Mass so that they will avoid giving scandal.
If they have charity toward their neighbors, they would want to avoid scandal and to avoid putting the priest in a tough spot. Right? They should be thrilled to receive Communion but out of sight, in the rectory, away from public view. Right?
Now I will track back to what I asked about Communion at the top.
What is it that they want?
Communion with its holy effects? Or do they want to be seen receiving Communion?
Do they want the Eucharist or the “white thing” that symbolizes affirmation?
If they really get the Eucharist, with the full implications of receiving as Paul describes in 1 Cor 11:27 (“Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.”), and if they really get the Four Last Things, then … would they really want to put at risk their eternal salvation by sacrilegious reception?
If they have been working with a sound priest who helps them to understand what mortal sin is and what matrimony is according to the Church’s teachings – BECAUSE THAT’S HIS JOB! – would they really want to receive Communion in their irregular state?
Or course there may be times when they fail in their determination to live in continence and they have sexual relations.
Simple. They go to confession and start over with a firm purpose of amendment.
That’s what we all do when we sin in any way. We go to confession with a firm purpose of amendment and start over with God’s help. In some Amoris scenario, they might have to live in a near occasion of sin, but for the sake of care of children, etc., they have to bear their Cross.
However, there is a rock solid principle that cannot be set aside: No firm purpose of amendment, no Communion.
My solution, given the aforementioned conditions are met: occasional Holy Communion in private, outside of public Mass, away from observing eyes.
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