Monday, May 12, 2014
WHEN IT COMES TO HOLY COMMUNION FOR THOSE WHOSE MORAL LIVES ARE IRREGULAR, SHOULD THE BISHOPS, PRIESTS, DEACONS AND LAITY OF THE CHURCH BE "ENABLERS?"
Sandro Magister of the Chiesa Blog (press) prints a very good letter from a missionary as to why the Church cannot and will not change her teaching of the indissolubility of a truly Sacramental Marriage. My comments follow this great letter:
"MY TAKE" ON COMMUNION FOR THE REMARRIED
by Carlo Buzzi
Here in Bangladesh we teach the catechism and to be clear we say that every sacrament has four elements: the minister, the matter, the formula, the miraculous event.
In baptism the minister is any person, the matter is water, the formula is “I baptize you. . ." and the miraculous event is that one becomes a child of God.
In confirmation the minister is the bishop, the matter is oil, the formula is “I baptize you. . ." and the miraculous event is that one receives the power of the Holy Spirit.
In confession the minister is the priest, the matter is sin, the formula is “I absolve you. . ." and the miraculous event is the forgiveness of sins.
In the Eucharist the minister is the priest, the matter is bread and wine, the formula is “This is my body. . ." and the miraculous event is that bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus.
In marriage the ministers are the spouses themselves, the matter is their bodies and souls, the formula is the promise and the miraculous event is that they become as one person.
We teach that the sacrament is called this because it produces a supernatural event that cannot be seen with our eyes but is grandiose and real in the eyes of God.
With regard to marriage, we explain precisely that the miraculous thing is that after the promise before God the two spouses become united in one person as if they had been put together with superglue or fused at a thousand degrees.
Now, if this miraculous reality is taken away from Catholic marriage, what should we put in its place?
I have made a reflection of my own.
We know very well that there exists the baptism “of blood” and also the baptism “of desire,” just as valid as that of water.
Those who have remarried, if they are truly aware of their situation, can make the communion of desire.
In the reception of the sacraments there is the objective part and the subjective part. It is known that the most important thing is the great grace connected to the sacrament. But I could ruin this grace and even commit sacrilege if I approach communion casually or unworthily.
Now for these remarried, who all told have trampled a bit on the Christian meaning of suffering, of sacrifice, of forbearance, of penitence, and have forgotten that Jesus went up upon the cross and that the cross, when it comes, is the way for every Christian to drawn near to the Redeemer, it is a bit presumptuous to appeal to the mercy of God when before they have taken it so little into account.
In the subjective sense, I think that for them it is much more essential that they limit themselves to the desire for communion, instead of receiving communion itself.
The voluntary acceptance of this fasting will be very good for their souls and for the sanctity of that Christian community which is the Church.
But taking the route traced by Cardinal Kasper would cause serious harm:
1. It would make the Church superficial and accommodating;
2. One would have to deny the infallibility of the chair of Peter, because it would be as if all the previous popes had erred;
3. One would have to take as fools all those who gave their lives as martyrs to defend this sacrament.
Perhaps I have made my contribution to this diatribe, which I hope will end soon.
So long and many warm greetings from Bangladesh, which is emerging in so many things and is no longer a country to be shoved aside.
Sirajganj, May 5, 2014
MY COMMENTS: Let's face it, we know, or at least I know, that many Catholics who are in irregular moral situations, that is compromised morally when it comes to the objective moral teachings of the Church, receive Holy Communion every Sunday.
We have young Catholics who delay marriage well into their 20's and 30's who are sexually active and receiving Holy Communion and many who receive Holy Communion with only "minor" mortal sins, do so anyway.
We have young and not so young heterosexual and homosexual couples living with their significant others and without the benefit of either marriage or explicit enabling permission, who receive Holy Communion regularly.
We also have Catholics who were married in the Catholic Church, divorced legally and remarried to another person outside of the Church's Sacrament of Holy Matrimony receiving Holy Communion regularly and without compunction with or without the counsel of popes, bishops or priests and deacons.
But despite all the subjective subterfuge of the Church's moral law, the objective moral laws of the Church still stand and uncompromisable.
I personally believe in a clairvoyant way that the upcoming Synod on the Family will not throw out the Church's teaching on the indissolubility of a proven sacramental marriage that may have ended in a legal separation what the state calls a divorce (decided after the external forum for an annulment has shown the marriage in question to be an actual sacramental marriage. First of all no pope and no synod of bishops and even no ecumenical council can do such a thing or else the Church will defect from the moral truth and go into schism which might take generations to overcome and restore orthodoxy.
Therefore, I don't believe Cardinal Kaspar's recommendations will be passed for these cannot be passed, that one in a recognized sacramental marriage who leaves that marriage and lives with another in a civil union would be given a blanket permission to receive Holy Communion.
However, what the pope and a synod can do and more that likely will do is to streamline the annulment procedure and add other grounds for an annulment which is always an ecclesiastical court procedure in the external forum and publication of its findings or judgments.
One of the grounds for an annulment and there are many other grounds too, is that one or the one of the partners entering the marriage at the time of the courtship and wedding did not truly understand the Church's teaching on marriage. With all the coloring book catholics out there as well as cafeteria catholics, I suspect that there are many catholics and non-Catholic spouses of Catholics who really do not know or understand the Catholic understand of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony!
The Church could also expand what constitutes grounds for an annulment based on what actually went wrong in the marriage, especially infidelity or mental illness, that was not present or evident in the courtship phase or with the one with these issues not intending them at the time of the wedding.
And as I have written before, the Church could make explicit when the "Internal Forum" could be used after a penitential period of some kind. This means that the external forum was first used and could not go forward because of a lack of evidence due to the non-cooperation of witnesses or the death of actual witnesses.