Skip to comments.Marriage, Divorce, and Communion - An Interview with Cardinal Thomas Collins
Posted on 06/25/2014 6:47:21 PM PDT by scouter
It is always assumed by the Church that Couples are truly, or "validly" married. The burden of proof is on anyone who says that they are not...
One thing that would help would be if all of us realized that receiving communion is not obligatory at Mass...
Lot's of good stuff in this interview.
(Excerpt) Read more at wordonfire.org ...
“Murder, adultery, and any other sins, no matter how serious, are forgiven by Jesus, especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and the forgiven sinner receives communion. The issue in the matter of divorce and remarriage is ones conscious decision (for whatever reason) to persist in a continuing situation of disconnection from the command of Jesus.”
What doesn’t seem Christian: The Church will offer absolution and Holy Communion if the remarried person divorces their current, innocent spouse.
Many sins are forgiven that can’t be rectified. Seems like some re-marriages should persist, at least out of love for the spouse, and that if remorse is evident, forgiveness should occur. Does it seem like the Church is being a bit Pharisee-like? Thoughts?
“Many sins are forgiven that cant be rectified. Seems like some re-marriages should persist, at least out of love for the spouse, and that if remorse is evident, forgiveness should occur. Does it seem like the Church is being a bit Pharisee-like? Thoughts?”
No, it does not.
The sin here is the act of remarrying after a civil divorce in a valid marriage. The sin is because one who validly married may not marry another while his [first] spouse still lives. The second marriage is not marriage, but rather, adultery. This is what Jesus says.
So, the man who is thusly “married” goes to Confession, tells the priest, “Father forgive me, for I have sinned. I am married civilly to someone but my first wife is still living.”
And the priest endeavors to act precisely as Jesus acted, “Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more.”
And the man goes home to his second wife and they continue on in a married way, which is sin, which is continued adultery. With not even the slightest attempt to turn away from sin, ignoring entirely the command of Jesus to, “go and sin no more.”
The man remains in an objective state of committing grave evil, the matter of mortal sin. Publicly.
“The Church will offer absolution and Holy Communion if the remarried person divorces their current, innocent spouse.”
The Church teaches that where separation in the second marriage would lead to other bad consequences - harm to children from the second marriage, or lack of support for the second wife - the couple, may in some circumstances, continue to live together, continue to form a household, but must live continently, that is, as brother and sister, not as husband and wife. Under these circumstances, the couple may then receive the Blessed Sacrament.
This is a hardship for the couple, a burden. But it fulfills what Jesus says, “Go and sin no more.”
If the couple are unwilling to try this, then at least objectively, it doesn't appear that they have repented of the sin of remarrying after divorce in a valid marriage.
But let's get down to brass tacks. Most folks who are remarried when they still have a valid first marriage hanging out are not repentant of their sin. They don't view it as a sin. Many who are remarried will say that their second marriage is actually a good thing, not a sinful thing, that it is not a sin, that they have not entered into an adulterous relationship.
If such a person goes to the priest to confess, what, then, does he confess? “Father forgive me, for I have sinned. I am remarried, but it's really a good thing, not a sin at all, so please give me absolution so I can go to Communion.”
That's incoherent. These folks are not saying, “Please forgive me and look the other way at my continuing sin.”
Their real view of things seems to be more on the order of: “Recite your mumbo-jumbo prayer of absolution over me so that I can go back to Communion. I'm not doing anything wrong in the first place.”
What, then, is there to forgive? No sin is even acknowledged..
What sitetest said. He said exactly what I would have said, but much more clearly than I would have said it.
Sitetest, what do you think of Cardinal Collins’ interview as a whole?
Time will tell regarding the Synod. I haven’t made comments on how I think it will turn out because I just don’t know. However, I know Kasper’s comments were quite different and Francis had much positive to say about him and his points though.
You can go to Mass and not take Communion, do you know that at one time people were so in tune with the truth of the Eucharist that they would not take Communion because they did not feel worthy of it? The Church had to insist that you had to take it at least at Christmas and Easter.
Communion is not a communal thing, believe it or not. Not in the true sense of "we the people". For a Catholic you are literally entering into a union that is so intensely intimate, that if you think about it to much, you'd not be able to do it.
I’ve been very concerned about the synod for just those reasons. I realize that the pope himself (when speaking ex cathedra), and ecumenical councils, when in union with the pope, cannot err on matters of faith or morals. And certainly this qualifies as both faith and morals.
HOWEVER... My fears (and expectations?) are based on the fact that a synod is not an ecumenical council, and the pope would not formally have to speak ex cathedra for the synod’s results to be put into effect. This is especially true if they construct some sort of fig leaf that would allow them to say they hadn’t changed any doctrine, when, in practice, they would do exactly that.
Such a fig leaf might be to allow the local parish priest to “investigate” the first marriage and issue a “declaration of nullity” on his own authority. And it would allow them to claim not to have changed doctrine, thereby “preserving the faith”. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or a theologian) to see where that would lead. And how “pastoral” they could claim to be. Most people would not be able to see that the bishops had no clothes, and would just go along. People who understand the truth would become more and more marginalized. The true Church would be come an even more tattered remnant than it already is.
is that the bishops will find some sort of fig leaf to hide beh
Excellent point! Holy Communion is about entering into an intimate union (or communion) with Christ. It is only a communal thing insofar as those who have entered into this intimate union with Christ are thereby in communion with each other.
Tom Collins... I like him already.
We all know the type of "Catholics" that get themselves into these situations. They are the types that only show up for the Sacraments and the pageantry and their faith is about as deep as a thimble.
My friend could tell by the style of the wedding dress if is was going to be a sacrament or a show.
I only read it quickly. It seemed fine enough. A little too churchspeaky for me, thus, I found it difficult to read carefully while also reading carefully.
But he gets across the point.
“We all know the type of ‘Catholics’ that get themselves into these situations.”
Ironically, many of these sorts of Catholics might have valid grounds for a declaration of nullity on the basis of lack of proper consent. Giggling post-teens in love with love and more concerned about the flowers in the church and the food at the reception may lack what is needed to form the consent required for the valid operation of the sacrament.
The scandal is that the Church allows them to marry in the Church, anyway.
My parents are still married to each other and my husbands' parents were married to each other at the time of my FIL's death. All of my grandparents and his grandparents all remained married.
That is partially why this homosexual agenda is so troublesome. If straight people can't stay married what makes gays think they will do better? No one seemingly cares about the sacrament anymore. If you do not care about it, go to city hall.
Why get angry at the Church? They are just the facilitator of the sacrament. The marriage is between the spouses and the Triune God. If you only get married in the Church then not come around until your first kid needs Baptized and then hang around marginally going through the motions until the kid is Confirmed how can you blame the Church for your failed marriage.
My point is that a couple who are married for the right reason and in the sacrament, need to pray together and for each other and allow themselves to be nurtured by the Church and not forget the person in the middle of your sacrament Jesus Christ, who can and will carry you through problems.
This business has come about because we as a society (not every single person) are a throw away society. Everything must be easy and light and depends on how we feel about it. We throw away marriage like throwing away a can. It's systemic to where we find ourselves now in 2014. The destruction of Western Civilization.
But if the "burden" consists of the priest hearing the person's confession and telling him in the privacy of the confessional that his first marriage is annuled, then I believe a LOT of priests today would be happy to do so. Such a truncated annulment process would provide the fig leaf they could hide behind, and allow them to issue "annulments" with even more wild abandon than they already do.
The irony is, though, as another poster has already pointed out, that many, if not most of the "marriages" contracted by Catholics today may in fact not be sacramental marriages at all because of the lack of understanding of the requirements of the relationship into which they are entering.
If you are a Catholic, you understand that in such a large organization, not everyone can be counted on to cross ever T and dot every I. But they try.
I hope you're right. I've always considered Cardinal Collins to be fairly left wing, and I would have expected him to be in favor of the "Kasper Doctrine". I'm glad to see he's not, and that other prominent cardinals and bishops were not, either. It does give me some hope that the synod will not go off the rails. Nevertheless... while canon law is clear, it can be changed on the whim of the pope, and this pope is prone to whims.
Pray we must! I would think that the priests themselves would be not in favor of it. They are judged differently from the rest of us.
Extraordinary Magisterium is an ex cathedra pronouncement of the Roman Pontiff (Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX) or a de fide statement of an Ecumenical Council (Justification, by the Council of Trent).
Ordinary Magisterium is the perennial teaching of the Pope and the Bishops in union with him around the world. To capriciously say that only extraordinary Magisterium dogmas are infallible is false and heretical. Lumen Gentium n.25, Humani Generis n.21, both solemnly teach on the supreme teaching authority of the Ordinary Magisterium.
I have to wonder whether this Synod would be considered part of the Ordinary Magisterium.
Vatican just released a document about the Synod. See the thread here:
I have to wonder whether this Synod would be considered part of the Ordinary Magisterium.
I don't think I'm falling into error, even based on EWTN's definition. A synod does not fall into the definition. 1) It is not an ecumenical council; 2) it is not an ex cathedra statement of the pope; and 3) it could conceivably teach something at odds with the "perennial teaching of the Pope and the Bishops in union with him around the world", and therefore would not form part of the ordinary magisterium.
I did not mean to imply that that the Ordinary Magisterium is not infallible. Rather, I mean that synods do not necessarily form part of the ordinary magisterium any more than a bishops' conference does. The proof is in the pudding. If it agrees with the perennial teaching of the bishops in union with the pope, then it is infallible. If it does not agree, then it is not infallible.
And in any case, there is no guarantee that the Holy Spirit will prevent them from making a really bad decision on how to handle annulments.
That seems backwards thinking to me. Either a synod should be infallible or not. Either it is protected by the Holy Spirit or it is not. If it should be and the teachings contradict prior teaching, then we have a serious problem on our hands. In my mind, that would just be more of the same ala Vatican II.
I think that's because you believe synods, by definition, are part of the ordinary magisterium. I do not, especially using the definition of the ordinary magisterium you posted: Ordinary Magisterium is the perennial teaching of the Pope and the Bishops in union with him around the world. I believe they are part of the ordinary magisterium when they teach something that is "the perennial teaching of the Pope and the Bishops in union with him."
I believe synods can deviate from that, because they do not consist of all the bishops. No one would argue, for example, that the Synods of Baltimore were infallible by nature. The fact that they did not teach anything in conflict with the ordinary magisterium does not mean that they could not have done so. It only means that we're fortunate that they did not.
I could be wrong, and I will look into it further. But that's why I'm concerned about what's going to come out of the upcoming synods. And again... even if they are infallible, that doesn't mean that every disciplinary decision that comes out of them is going to be a good idea. That's why I pray every day that these upcoming synods will be faithful, clear, and effective in bringing souls to Christ.
I am actually not sure about Synods (and I am also trying look into it). I think it is important to know where they fit in the Magisterium. They are either part of the OM or they are not. We can’t decide that something is not part of the OM when the results are not to our liking (i.e. contradict prior teaching). If a Synod is part of the OM and we get contradictory teachings (not discipline)?
“Houston, we have a problem.”
The part in bold I absolutely agree with. The underlined part I disagree with. If something contradicts a prior teaching of the ordinary magisterium (as opposed to being a further explication of it), then it is a situation where, as you say, "Houston, we have a problem", and is, by definition, wrong.
The current "Quote of the Week" I have posted on my cube at work is from Flannery O'Connor: The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.
I think we actually agree. I was using “contradicting prior teaching” as an example.
I am going to research, though, the role of the synod in the magisterium of the Church. It is an important question.
When we went to Pre-Cana, it was a rather eye opening experience. The priest we were talking to said we had to go to a weekend retreat, and that we would see why it was required then.
Well we did. There were a lot of couples who hadn’t even talked about the most basic things about marriage (for instance, where the new couple would live after the marriage).
The old priest said he had no concerns about us for a variety of reasons. He also said he enjoyed talking to a couple who actually understood what marriage was, and that it wasn’t about the party.
That is why things are so messed up. To many people don’t realize that love is a choice, marriage is for keeps, and that it won’t be all wine and crumpets.
I agree people have never even talked about how many kids, how to discipline, what their life goals are, where they want to live. etc. So much is feelings and emotions. Marriage is a job. It's a wonderful job, but it requires work and commitment. I used that passage in my wedding which I am sure a lot of you might have. "Love is patient, Love is kind...."
But that is love not marriage. So I used Do not press me to go back and abandon you! Wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God, my God. Where you die I will die, and there be buried. May the LORD do thus to me, and more, if even death separates me from you! This is marriage!
Three things that I learned about marriage along the way. The first one was so wonderfully simple:
If you get upset when someone takes one of your french fries you are not ready for marriage. If you get upset when someone takes all of your french fries you are not ready for children.
The second thing is do NOT live with someone before marriage, ever. Many people think they will learn all they need to know about a person by living with them before marrying them. This is false, all that comes out of this is sex and a financial dependence upon each other, such as roommates. Not a good way to start a marriage. It really is better to learn the habits of the person after you have made the Sacrament. It's a wonderful time.
Thirdly, this is an awesome question to ask couples before they get married. "If you, your spouse and your child are in a boat and they fall out you can only save one. Who do you save? The correct answer is your spouse. As special as a child is, You can have another one together. The loss of a child would be devastating without your other half.
My 2 bits.
I'm interested in what you think.
This right here sounds wrong already. It's stating that the OM = noninfallible (or better stated as fallible...hate those double negatives!). This source doesn't seem to be a reliable source....is it even Catholic?
This is interesting. It is part of a Q & A about the JPII Catechism:
The Catechism is part of the Church’s official teaching in the sense that it was suggested by a Synod of Bishops, requested by the Holy Father, prepared and revised by bishops and promulgated by the Holy Father as part of his ordinary Magisterium.
Intellectually, I know you're right that there are many who marry without having ever talked together about the big stuff, but in my gut, it's hard for me to understand.
It isn't how my wife and I went about things.