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Sometimes one side is simply right and the other side is simply wrong

January 26, 2018

That’s the situation here.

It doesn’t matter what reasons might be offered by the storied Archdiocese of Braga for its plan to authorize the administering of holy Communion to basic divorced-and-remarried Catholics. If that is, as reported in the Catholic Herald, their plan, they are wrong. Patently and gravely wrong. Just like the Maltese. Just like the Germans. And just like a few others if only in terms of the wiggle room they allow themselves in these cases, as do, say, the Argentinians.

Of course, one more post here won’t convince the Lusitanians of this point, so I shan’t bother to make all the arguments that I (among many others) have already offered on this matter. We are right about this point and they are wrong about this point and that’s that.

I suppose, though, I could reiterate for others what “the point” is in its tedious but crucial substantial specifics:

Per Canon 915 (papally issued law, resting on divine law foundations, and, till the current crisis, uncontested by pastoral and canonical tradition in this regard), ministers of holy Communion may not offer that Sacrament (similar problems arise in regard to offering absolution in Confession, but one crisis at a time) to Catholics (who are generally the only ones eligible for holy Communion in the first place, per c. 844) who, having entered a marriage that enjoys the presumption of validity (c. 1060), then civilly divorce (or are divorced, in other words, regardless of whose ‘fault’ the divorce is), and, failing to obtain (because they never applied for or were refused) an ecclesiastical declaration of nullity (or a variant on the uncommon dissolutions of marriage as discussed chiefly here and here), purport to enter a new marriage (civilly or by some other mechanism, even one that looks religious, but which, as long as the first spouse is alive, of course, isn’t a “marriage”, but we call it that for convenience, and yes this applies also to single Catholics who purport to enter marriages with divorced persons as described above), but decline to live as brother-and-sister (as befits all people who are not married and which is necessary for them even to approach for holy Communion in accord with Canon 916) and, even if they do live continently (may God bless them), are nevertheless known (always if ‘actually’, and usually even if ‘legally’) to be divorced and remarried outside the Church and so (notwithstanding their arguable eligibility for the Sacrament in conscience) give objective scandal to the faith community (even if no one is surprised by divorce and remarriage these days, and they thereby occasion, moreover, the giving of scandal by ecclesiastical ministers who are thus tempted to disregard their certain obligations under Canon 915).

I think that’s everything. 

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