Not long ago, the Bishops of Kazakhstan issued a document, a Profession of the Immutable Truths about Sacramental Marriage. I wrote about it and provided an audio reading of it HERE.
At The Catholic Thing my friend Fr. Gerry Murray has written a piece about it. Let’s have a taste, with my emphases and comments:
A Second Look at the Kazakh Bishops’ “Profession”
As has been widely reported, three bishops in Kazakhstan – Tomash Peta, Jan Pawel Lenga, and Athanasius Schneider – issued a Profession of the Immutable Truths about Sacramental Marriage on December 31, 2017. This precisely reasoned defense of Catholic teaching on marriage gets to the heart of the problems occasioned by the eighth chapter of Amoris Laetitia.
Now that the initial flurry of commentary has died down, I’d like to examine calmly here three paragraphs that summarize why permission to receive Holy Communion given to people who are in “second marriages” and have the intention to continue to commit acts of adultery is a grave offense against Catholic teaching on the sacredness and indissolubility of marriage. This permission abolishes the perennial sacramental discipline that protects and upholds this teaching. [The Church’s laws are not pulled out of a pointy hat. They are founded on divine law, revelation, and the experience of centuries. Cult (worship), Code and Creed are interwoven. Undermine one and you undermine the others. This is especially the case when changes touch on our most fundamental teachings and life events.]
The Kazakh bishops write: “Sexual relationships between people who are not in the bond to one another of a valid marriage – which occurs in the case of the so-called ‘divorced and remarried’ – are always contrary to God’s will and constitute a grave offense against God.” This is plainly true. Adultery is never pleasing to God, is never authorized or tolerated by God, is always evil.
They continue: “No circumstance or finality, not even a possible imputability or diminished guilt, can make such sexual relations a positive moral reality and pleasing to God. The same applies to the other negative precepts of the Ten Commandments of God. Since ‘there exist acts which, per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object.’ (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 17)”
This is a key point sometimes overlooked in the debate. Adultery can never be never “a positive moral reality and pleasing to God.” Therefore, the Church must never encourage people to engage in acts that are always per se offensive to God. It is pastorally deficient [that’s a diplomatic way to put it] to advise that a person committing such evil acts may responsibly judge himself not to be guilty of giving serious offense to God due to alleged circumstances that diminish his culpability for his sins.
How can he be so sure of his innocence of his persistent mortal sin that he thinks God will not hold him to account, but rather wants him to receive the Holy Eucharist without repenting of his sin? And why would a priest advise someone that he may continue to commit the sin of adultery as long as that person thinks he will not be held guilty by God for that sin?
The priest’s job is to tell people not to sin, not to tell them to discover reasons why their sin is not sinful for them. It is an act of spiritual arrogance in God’s sight for the priest advisor or the civilly “remarried” person to claim that, because of some alleged exculpatory reason, he does not have to obey the Sixth Commandment now and in the future, and that he can worthily receive Holy Communion. We are called by Christ to conform our lives to God’s law, which includes the recognition by our intellect of the justice and holiness of that law.
Read the rest there.
Looked at from one point of view, the main job of the priest is to say, “No.” I suspect that most parents find that to be true.
Just as good parents do not make rules simply to ruin what might have been a great time for their children, so too neither God’s laws nor the Church’s are intended simply to screw with our heads and repress our fun.
They are given to us in love to help us not to hurt ourselves and others and to see more easily amidst the rocks and thorns what path to tread towards heaven.