Skip to comments.Testing Limits: Diocese Opens Door to Communion for the Remarried
Posted on 10/09/2013 9:27:08 PM PDT by ClaytonP
The archdiocese of Freiburg recently signalled a willingness to allow remarried divorcées to receive communion. While far from revolutionary, the move reflects a desire to change doctrine long considered out of touch with reality.
Catholic laity have long pressured the church to rethink its doctrine on several issues, and remarriage often lands near the top of the priority list. A dialogue with church leaders was praised on both sides, but there was no chance of real reform under Pope Benedict XVI and the conservative-dominated leadership of German Catholicism.
But now discussion is brewing again in Freiburg, but this time under differing circumstances. The new pope has warned against burying the faithful under a mountain of rules without distinction. Francis' change of tone has inspired a new confidence among many in Germany who have been hoping their Church would break down old barriers to modernization.
(Excerpt) Read more at spiegel.de ...
If it does, there will be no discipline to deal with the pro-abort politicians.
There are millions of Catholics who are unfairly treated by ignorant church members.
Many realize that there is no automatic sin in divorce.
However, many also believe that a formal Annulment process is required before a new marriage in the Church can take place.
This is false.
There are MANY situations, alcoholism, Drug Abuse, mental illness, a violent Ex-Spouse -— SEVERAL situations were forcing a formal annulment process can be sinful, if no regard is shown for the consequences of sending out those awful form letters to possibly unstable people.
There are millions of divorced Catholics who know in their heart and soul that the first marriage was not valid, and they should not endure the abuse of the former spouse by going through the “External Forum” of the formal annulment process.
This kurfuffle has not “stood”, does not now stand, and will not stand, least of all on the merit of some cowboy priest/bishop/archbishop, in Germany, who decides on his own to make some tradition extinct.
The decider on these issues has an address, in Rome, at the Vatican, not in some rogue rectory in Germany.
Has that ever happened in America?
Pro-abortion federal politicians will not be denied Communion until Donna is gone. And even then the chances are slim.
At least the Germans aren’t calling for bigamy and polygamy like they did 500 years ago.
Why is it always Germany vs Rome on something as simple as Marriage.
Vatican cool to German challenge to divorce rule
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
VATICAN CITY (AP) The Vatican put a German diocese on notice Tuesday that it disapproves of its challenge to church teaching on whether Catholics who remarry can receive Communion, saying the issue will be discussed by the whole church at a meeting next year of the world’s bishops.
The diocese of Freiburg issued an official set of guidelines this week explaining how such divorced and remarried Catholics could receive the sacrament. It said if certain criteria are met if the couple was trying to live according to the faith and acted with laudable motivation they could receive Communion and other sacraments of the church.
Church teaching holds that Catholics who don’t have their first marriage annulled, or declared null by a church tribunal, before remarrying cannot participate fully in the church’s sacraments because they are essentially committing adultery. The issue has vexed the Vatican for decades and has left generations of Catholics feeling shunned by their church.
Annulments are often difficult if not impossible to obtain and can take years to process when they do come through.
But the Vatican said Tuesday that Freiburg’s local initiative “risks causing confusion.” It said the issue will be discussed in 2014 at a major meeting of bishops that was announced Tuesday. And in a polite but unsubtle jab at Freiburg’s one-off decision, the Vatican issued a reminder that it was “important to undertake such a path in the full communion of the church community.”
Pope Francis has said the issue must be addressed and has hinted that the Catholic Church might follow the lead of Orthodox Christians, who in similar states are allowed to receive Communion. The accommodation would be in keeping with Francis’ message of the church being merciful and inclusive.
In fact, the Freiburg diocese quoted Francis in justifying its decision. It noted that the guidelines support Francis’ call to find a “new balance” between the church’s rules and the need for it to be merciful. It quoted him as warning that “otherwise the moral house of the church will fall like a house of cards.”
Francis announced Tuesday that he would hold an extraordinary synod on the family in October 2014, his first synod and the third ever to use the more restricted format aimed at facilitating discussion and decision-making. The issue of married and divorced Catholics will certainly be discussed, as will the church’s entire approach to ministering to married couples.
Francis has emphasized how the church needs to do a better job preparing young people for marriage, lamenting how newlyweds today seem to think that marriage isn’t a lifelong commitment but just a “provisional” one. At the same time, though, he has also said the church process for annulling marriages isn’t working and must be reviewed.
While such synods are held every two years or so, this one will be different because it will involve a much smaller group of bishops the presidents of national bishops’ conferences. Only two other such restricted, or extraordinary, synods have been held since the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that encouraged greater participation of bishops in church governance.
Francis has said he wants bishops to have a greater say in running the church and has already set about reforming the Vatican’s synod structure, which to date has proven to be little more than a forum for talking. That one of his first major initiatives as pope involved convening the third extraordinary synod ever is an indication of how important an issue he considers this form of collegiality in church governance.
Frank Jordans and David Rising in Berlin contributed.
If both are annulled, fine. Otherwise they are adulterers
that is bs
There are MANY situations, alcoholism, Drug Abuse, mental illness, a violent Ex-Spouse - SEVERAL situations were forcing a formal annulment process can be sinful...Sinful? Does this then give everyone the potential for an immediate "out" when they had previously said to one another:
..I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.
The following is from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - “LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH CONCERNING THE RECEPTION OF HOLY COMMUNION BY THE DIVORCED AND REMARRIED MEMBERS OF THE FAITHFUL,” Section 7:
The mistaken conviction of a divorced and remarried person that he may receive Holy Communion normally presupposes that personal conscience is considered in the final analysis to be able, on the basis of one’s own convictions, to come to a decision about the existence or absence of a previous marriage and the value of the new union. However, such a position is inadmissable. Marriage, in fact, because it is both the image of the spousal relationship between Christ and his Church as well as the fundamental core and an important factor in the life of civil society, is essentially a public reality.
It is not to be taken lightly but it EXISTS, and you do not do the Church any favors by denying the existence of this option.I did not know this existed. Who decides if someone is abusive, mentally ill, an alcoholic [with no hope for rehabilitation], allowing the person to divorce, then receive the Sacraments, without an annulment?
What if it is anticipated that someone who receives the questionnaire from the Church will react in a cruel or violent way?
What if a divorced spouse KNOWINGLY asks questionnaires to be sent to Alzheimer's patients, alcoholics, drug addicts and the mentally unstable, in order to cause pain and suffering, as a method of revenge or retaliation?
“John Paul II
Our starting point is what the Pope has said. John PauI II issued a document in 1981 with the Latin title Familiaris Consortio on the subject of family life. In it he made it clear that divorced Catholics enjoy full and complete union with the Church, they are not excommunicated, and may receive the Eucharist. In other words, the Pope makes it clear ‘that divorce is not a sin. Sadly, a lot of Christians are not aware of this.
He also spoke of Catholics who are divorced and remarried - his words would apply equally to a (never married) Catholic who had married someone who was divorced. These Catholics, married “outside the church” as we usually say, should not, the Pope said, consider themselves as separated from the church, “for as baptized persons they can and indeed share in its life.” Once again, the Pope’s words make it clear that they are not excommunicated.
However, speaking in a general way he said such Catholics may not participate in the eucharist. The Pope urged them to seek an annulment of the first marriage - an annulment would help them become officially eligible. What about the situation where an annulment is not possible?
The Pope here summed up concisely the official teaching. But most Catholics in this situation are not aware that the church has always had what might be called a “second level” of teaching applying at the level of conscience, which is very relevant to them.
Thus John Paul spoke of those “who are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably destroyed marriage had never been valid”. Once again, he urged them to bring that first marriage to the tribunal. He made no further comment about what happens if this is impossible.
But the people he described include many whose marriages will never be annulled, not because their case is not a strong one, but because witnesses cannot be located, or refuse to be interviewed. Sometimes a key witness is dead. Does the church have anything to say to them?
Similarly, a Catholic married to a divorced person who is not a Catholic will, perhaps, have good reason to believe that an annulment could be granted to the first marriage of that partner - but the partner does not wish to apply to the tribunal.
There is little that the Catholic can do about it. The partner may say, very reasonably, “Look, if this annulment process only involved me, I would do it for you. But you tell me that it would mean asking friends, and my own parents, and even my ex-spouse to agree to be interviewed, and I don’t think I want to do that.” This attitude is perfectly understandable, no matter how anxious a Catholic partner might be for an annulment of that first marriage. Does the church have anything to say to them?
The conflict faced by a Catholic in either of these situations is knowing that it is very likely that the first marriage was not in itself binding but this is not going to be able to be established officially.
The church does have something to say to such people. In such instances, the Catholic may make a decision which is called the internal forum solution, or good conscience solution, and may then continue to receive Holy Communion.
It should be emphasized that this is a perfectly correct moral principle, and is totally orthodox. It is not a case of people “making up their own rules”, It was explicitly referred to in l97l by the Cardinal in charge of the church’s authoritative teaching body in Rome called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In a letter dated 11.4.1973, which appears in the Canon Law Digest, 9:503f Cardinal Seper urged pastors of souls to “follow up with special solicitude those who are living in an irregular union, applying in the solution of such cases, in addition to other correct means, the approved practice of the church in the internal forum”.
In plainer English, the cardinal was saying that priests (and others) should take special care of people whose marriages are not recognized by the church and in addition to other correct means [such as inviting them to seek an annulment of a previous marriage], should apply the approved practice of the good conscience solution. This can enable them to receive Holy Communion.
Pope John Paul was certainly implying this outcome in his reference, quoted above, to people who are objectively certain that their marriage was not valid.
There are rules applying to the good conscience solution. They were spelt out two years after Cardinal Seper’s letter by one of his successors, Archbishop Hamer, of the same Roman congregation.
Hamer said that those who use this solution should try to live good Christian live+ and should avoid scandal by receiving the sacraments where they are not known (CLD 9:5O4f).
Note that scandal is not to be presumed. Many people have no comprehension of how any marriage can be annulled and the person be allowed to remarry in the Catholic church. Theirs is not the kind of “scandal” which is warned against. If the circumstances of a person’s second marriage are not known generally, (bearing in mind that there is no list which appear in newspaper of those who have been granted a marriage annulment) such remarried Catholics could certainly receive Holy Communion in the parish in which they live.
Another important point is that the good conscience is a decision which the church expects people to take for themselves. They may, of course, obtain help - and such help ought to be available. The decision they take is not an official one, but applies at the level of conscience: they do not proceed on the basis that “Father X said it was all right”.
Since the principles which the church tribunal applies in the granting of an annulment are not well understood generally, it is not easy for a Catholic in a second marriage which has taken place outside the church to reach such a decision about a previous marriage. Catholics have also long been used to being told not to make moral decisions on their own consciences. They often find it very difficult to take such an important step alone. But this is what the church asks.
The good conscience decision is not based merely on a desire to receive Holy Communion (although this desire obviously inspires the effort by people to look at their situation). Rather, it is based on a conviction that the first marriage was not one which ought to be seen as valid and binding, even though this will probably never be officially declared by the church.
Some find it regrettable that Catholics who have cautiously and carefully taken a good conscience decision about their second marriage, and are receiving Holy Communion, may be exposed to harsh judgement by other Catholics, and have no paper or document from the church to support them. But we can hope that in time people who are now unaware of the church’s teachings on which such decisions are based will learn about them, and be less judgemental.
However, there is probably less likelihood than they might fear, of an embarrassing social occasion in the church in which their status, what is correct in the sight of God, is going to be called into question. In fact, people whose remarriages have taken place with the church’s blessing are virtually never asked to produce a certificate which shows this.”