Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Pastoral Problems

I don't know if this is the type of situation Pope Francis was trying to deal with in his recent telephone call, but this kind of situation is not unusual - this is a made up.

Mary has been living Sam for 14 years, he is divorced, they have three children. Mary has been assiduous in the formation of her children in the faith, she tells her priest that she desperately wants to receive Holy Communion. the priest reminds her what Jesus says about someone married to a divorcee is committing adultery. 
Mary says she accepts Jesus' teaching and that Sam, despite only being a nominal Christian, because of his love for her respects her and has agreed to try and live as brother and sister.
Mary despite her love for Sam is well aware of the sinfulness of her situation and has even considered leaving Sam but that would deprive their children of a father, but she too loves him. They do live as brother and sister most of the time but every so often Sam and Mary fall, often it is Sam's fault but not always.

May Mary go the Holy Communion, possibly in a Church where she is completely unknown, even occasionally?


Pablo the Mexican said...

Mocking God is a serious thing.

No amount of rationalizing will make a sin otherwise.

"Go, and sin no more"

Was the command to the adulterous woman.

Do like wise.

"Brother and sister?"

That's for people that are not already public sinners.


Fr John Hunwicke said...

In my view, yes, if it is their sincere intention with the help of God's grace to do their best not to "fall". But they should, I presume, be carefully instructed about the need to make an act of contrition, with an intention of Confession as soon as morally that is feasible, whenever they do "fall".

Sean W. said...

Provided they are making an effort to live in chaste continence, and there is no risk of scandal, and she has made a good and fully confession of any sins, and there is no risk of scandal, I don't see a reason why she should not seek out communion.

Anonymous said...

First of all, if it is possible for them to get married, this should be done urgently. If not:

I don't see how this could work. They are in a constant position of there being a near occasion of sin. Furthermore, marriage is a public matter, and so is the scandal of cohabiting with one to whom one is not married. I think it could only be feasible where there is a much more formal revocation of the sexual relationship, which would not be likely in the scenario presented.

I think for the good of the souls of all concerned, Mary ought to refrain from receiving Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament until such time as a clear and definitive renunciation of the adulterous sexual relationship can be made. It is not respectful of God to confess having had any sexual relations (even kissing) and then go immediately back into the situation where one is likely to do so again. I think this is not to treat the sacrament of confession seriously but to misuse it.

For the sake of the children's souls, as well as her own, Mary should forego receiving until she's in a better position to renounce the sinful sexual relationship. And, if they do have intercourse she may become pregnant and they have another child to care for.

All in all, in the scenario described, things are much too unstable for Mary to be able to make an objectively good confession of sexual relations with one to whom she is not married. She should do her best to avoid sexual relations (but this would be almost impossible in the circumstances and this involves more than just physical acts). The risk of not being able to make a good confession, and so risking sacrilege, as well as the risk of very harmful scandal to others, including her children who are young and impressionable, means she should wait until she is in a more stable situation from which the necessary undertakings can be made and scandal minimised.

Apart from this particular scenario, the scandal, especially to the young, where adulterers (living publicly in a sinful state) receive the Blessed Sacrament, is very great and very real - potentially harming many souls. I think a major factor in the widespread increase in cohabiting with one to whom one is not validly married, and loss of faith in, and reverence for, the Blessed Sacrament, has been, precisely, the widespread scandals of persons receiving the Blessed Sacrament while apparently cohabiting with one to whom one is not married.

In other words, I think the whole crisis that has been created around this issue, has been enabled and prepared for, by the widespread abuse of the Blessed Sacrament by giving to those publicly living as man and wife, when they are not married (or married to another).

What I'm trying to say is that this whole issue, which is being presented as a false crisis of not being permitted to receive when "remarried", is a false one, the very clever work of the devil. It has been brought about precisely by the permitted scandal of widespread lack of reverence for the BS, the widespread abuse of the Blessed Sacrament by reception on the part of those cohabiting or committing ongoing adultery. It is because such public sins have been apparently permitted for so long and through constant scandal, the sense of sin and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament have been lost by large sections of the Church, that the Devil can now move to the next stage, of saying - lets make this official and bring the unchangeable Divine Law, Revelation, natural moral law into line with the widespread sinful practice. One doesn't fix the problem of widespread grave and public sin by making it officially acceptable. That is what Satan is after. It would imperil more and more souls. The whole "issue" or "crisis" is a false, manufactured one, based on the groundwork of the longtime widespread enabling of sin. The answer is to return to teaching and applying the laws of God and His Holy Church - saving souls instead of endangering them.

Unknown said...

Surely the answer to this is yes, as long as she has gone to confession. In this case, the intention at confession would be not to "fall" again so why would this be any different to a single person doing their best to live a chaste life, but failing on occasion. In fact, even if the failure was not occasional, why she should not go to communion (again after confession), as long as the intention to live as brother and sister was sincere?

Unknown said...

Yes, I think she could receive Holy Communion. If Mary's confessions express genuine remorse for her previous sins and she has a genuine resolve to avoid future sin then she would be making a good confession and, once forgiven, be in a state of grace and therefore, as a Catholic, free to receive Holy Communion. Unless it were publicly known that she and Sam were no longer living as 'husband and wife' it seems to me right that she should, for the sake of avoiding scandal, receive Communion at a Church where she was not known for being in an 'irregular marriage.'

Obviously, it may well be difficult for Mary and Sam to avoid 'falling' from time to time. However, provided that they were genuinely resolved to live as brother and sister, and took definite steps to help them fulfil their resolve, then occasional falls would be in the same category of other people's sins. For example, Susan is a Catholic married woman, who engages in lust, pornography (some women do), and from time to time 'sees' a former boyfriend. Provided that when she goes to Confession with genuine remorse and has a genuine resolve not to sin again then she is forgiven and can receive Holy Communion. It seems to me that Mary and Susan would be in a similar situation.

Cosmos said...

If you are sincerely living as brother and sister and you "slip up," why couldn't you be forgiven for that as long as you resolved to not to do it again? I always thought the issue was that you could not repent of something you fully intended to do again.

Anyway, the heart of the problem here is that the Church claims that its teachings on fundamentals issues can't change. If it changes the rules here it is going to: (1) seriously redefine what many, many people think is fundamental (everything is up for grabs), (2) seriously call into question its claims about itself.

It's one thing for the Church to appeal to authority when making pronouncements about ambiguous issues. However, if the Church gets into the habit of telling people that only certainly designated authorities are even competent to judge what is or is not a contradiction, it will risk losing its ability to claim to embrace both faith AND reason. It will no longer be a religion for thinking people.

Annie said...

A person who asks that question has not been properly catechized. No surprise there. I'm not a priest but, if I were, I would tell the lady that - before I can answer that question - we first need to have a conversation so I can get an idea of what she does or does not know about her Catholic faith. I would string this out with as many sessions as necessary until she understands the nature of mortal sin and the sacrilege of bringing Christ into a soul which is in such a state. Some people may "get it" rather quickly; with others it might take several meetings. In this way, the priest is taking the time to give the woman the instruction that she obviously didn't get before. In the end, you want this woman to know the answer herself when you then ask *her* the question. I'm not saying this is full proof but it's worked well with previous generations.

The problem is that, in the past, priests could rely on sisters and brothers to provide religious instruction to children, who would then know their faith as adults. Now this often is not the case and priests are having to teach the faith to one person at a time and how many hours are there in a day? Maybe a priest could start by *personally* training RCIA instructors in his parish - instead of farming it out to poorly catechized *professionals* - and in that way have a core group of solid people to help him.

M. L'abbé Rafael Gonzalez said...

They are living in a habitual occasion of sin that cannot be wholly avoided if the reason they stay together is for the good of the children. Is she at least very serious in avoiding the near occasions of sin: sleeping in another bed, avoiding physical contact, kissing or cuddling... Is there a fatalism about falling into sexual sin: "it happens once in a while and it can't be helped ". A prudential judgment can be made if there is true contrition, a clear plan to avoid the near occasions of sin and a clear desire to advance in the spiritual life, beginning with penance. Just an opinion

Unknown said...

If they are committed to living together as brother and sister and it will not cause public scandal (she may receive another church where she is not known) there's no reason why they need separate.

Sadly, it is this type of genuine common sense compassion, that safeguards the truth while still allowing people to grow in our Lord, that is willfully hijacked by those that exist solely to cause as much damage to the Church as possible. It is here that they seek to blur the truth and trivialize marriage,so that it is reduced to nothing more than a mirror of what takes place in the world. It is this area that bishops are called on to make clear and defend the truth. Let's pray that some of them are give the grace to realise that they will one day have to give an account for their actions, and lack of action.

Sadie Vacantist said...

A universal edict annulling all marriages would address this. I suspect some bishops are afraid of such an initiative because it would signal the end of the Second Vatican Council project. Others are resigned already to its collapse.

TLMWx said...

"she desperately wants to receive Holy Communion"
Well would she not have to avoid the near occasion of sin too ? Simply deciding to avoid activity in that way is not realistic. Would be it be spiritually better for her to make a spiritual communion,

Genty said...

Mary's intention is sound. She is trying to live according what the Church asks her to do. So I'd have thought she could go to Holy Communion, in her own parish, after Confession.
Didn't Pope Benedict say something of the sort?
Frankly, if I had a £ for every time I fell face down on my good intentions, I'd be a multi- millionaire.

Jane said...

We really mustn`t forget the spiritual gains from being obedient to the Church`s teaching and, in this case, abstaining from receiving HC. Our Lord will never be outdone in generosity; if we obey, whatever the sacrifice, He will find other ways to be present in us, to enrich us and to give us grace. The value of a `spiritual communion` must also not be over- looked: how humble is that prayer which asks Jesus to come into our souls `at least spiritually` when we are unable to receive Him physically. How could we ever imagine that He would decline such an invitation, or that He would not honour and love the obedience which leads us to request His merciful presence?

Mark said...

They are living in sin unless Sam gets an annulment. So it has to be a 'No' to Communion.

GE said...

Of course she can! She is trying to live chastely while keeping her family together. That's all one can ask and expect of any of us. But if she receives Communion in a place where she is well known it might cause scandal amongst people who do not know of the details. So yes, best if she receives in another location - or I expect she should be able to ask her pastor to receive Communion privately, outside of Mass?

I realize this is a fictional story but I hope there are people out there who accept that cross instead of pretending there's nothing amiss about their situation. Eitherway they need our prayers.

Sadie Vacantist said...

The Church is moving towards a relaxation of the annulment process as a way of dealing with the corruption of the process in the USA.

The way to achieve this is to declare all marriages invalid unless desired otherwise by those contracted. In other words the Church is declaring bankruptcy of the sacrament.

Many bishops are wary of this development. As they know it could lead to, in time, a reset or reboot of the entire Church which will flush out all zombie processes. One of these zombie processes is Vatican II.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I am the Pastor of the Magdalen!

I would encourage her to seek to be always in a state of grace, and in such a state receive the Lord, perhaps in a parish where she is not known if people in her own know her situation, as Pablo says if she is a 'public' sinner the situation is problematic but if her intention is to "go and sin no more" then she may receive.

Our problem as human beings is that often our intentions are half formed, the are always affected by concupiscence but 'God judge not our actions but our hearts' as St Theresa, that Doctrix of the Church tells us.

The problem with couples is that one might desire a good and the other desire something else, eg the wife regards contraception as sinful, the husband insists on it.

Interesting lay women seem to be more exacting than men whilst priest seem comparatively soft! Not a scientific survey I know but..
...but perhaps we see more sinners tears and heartbreak?

Fr Ray Blake said...

I am not sure where the Church is moving, nor I suspect is anyone else, including the Pope.
But the annulment procedure was designed for a comparatively small number of people, when the family was relatively stable, so many people wait for years, so many diocese haven't even got the personnel to run a Tribunal. It might be that what we have is the best we can come up with but it does need looking at.

Liam Ronan said...

Those who are contrite, acknowledge the irregularity of their marriage in the Sacrament of Confession, and who form the firm intention to live in continence as brother and sister might subsequently receive sacramental absolution should their resolve weaken and they sin.
They must sincerely repent of and confess these sins and renew their resolve to live a life of marital continence.
Excepting perhaps the sin of final impenitence, i.e. the sin against the Holy Spirit, there are no sins for which absolution may be given only once in a lifetime.
Time after time we ourselves confess our sins (some grave and habitual)only to repeat the same sins and seek absolution.
Over time, though they may fail, divorced and remarried Catholics may through the Grace of God become perfectly chaste.

Liam Ronan said...

Pastorally (I'm no priest) I'd note, Father, you've set-out that:

"They do live as brother and sister most of the time but every so often Sam and Mary fall, often it is Sam's fault but not always."

Mary may not actually be freely consenting to the sexual activity and that might mitigate matters as to whether those recurring sins are mortal or venial.

I'd want to know what the couple's living arrangements were and how, as a practical matter, any future temptations might be lessened practically.

Paul Hellyer said...

Lynda. I could not agree with you more. Your answer is spot on. Great. . .

Anonymous said...

I think St JP11 encouraged the use of "Brother and Sister" solution. I think he was commenting at the time on the abuse of the internal forum

Jacobi said...


As you say, a not untypical situation.

I am always suspicious of people who “desperately” want to receive Holy Communion. Sadly, it is usually social approbation that is sought.

My RE teacher, circa 1952, would have been quite clear about this situation, now apparently seen as a dilemma.

Being in a state of mortal sin, “Mary” should not, and indeed cannot, receive Holy Communion.

But, she should go to Sunday Mass in her parish, ensure that her children receive a proper Catholic education and the Sacraments and should offer up her Masses for her family and for a resolution of her dilemma - and never lose hope and Faith.

The Good Lord will listen!

ps since those far off days I have always found that my RE teacher’s judgements to have been correct.

Liam Ronan said...

I should just like to remind all that on 14 September 1994 Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the CDF issued a letter to all of the Bishops of the Catholic Church concerning the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and remarried members of the Faithful within which letter Cardinal Ratzinger stated:

"The faithful who persist in such a situation may receive Holy Communion only after obtaining sacramental absolution, which may be given only "to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when for serious reasons, for example, for the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they 'take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples'"(8). In such a case they may receive Holy Communion as long as they respect the obligation to avoid giving scandal."

Damask Rose said...

Part I

Yes, I agree that Mary should go to Communion in an unknown parish to avoid public scandal. She needs all the spiritual help she can get to maintain her chastity and that of her "husband".

"...aware of the sinfulness of her situation and has even considered leaving Sam ..."

By Mary partaking the Sacraments in all sincerity, through the movement of grace, she may find that she would either want to have separate bedrooms with Sam (if they can cope with separate bedrooms, so be it) or ultimately, following grace again, she will separate to protect her and her whole family from the current situation and avoid the near occasion of sin.

"...Sam but that would deprive their children of a father..."

Why? Doesn't have to be this way. Sam can come home after work, have dinner with the family, help the kids with their homework, play, watch a movie and so on. They can go shopping together at weekends, go for daytrips... but at bedtime, Sam goes home to his flat.

This would be a wonderful witness to the children of the Catholic faith. I'm sure blessings would pour down upon Sam.

(I think that Sam and Mary's situation is "worse" than if a Catholic couple is validly married, but the husband insists on contraception when the wife doesn't want it - I think this very situation is covered in HV by Paul VI or was it Pius XII - can't remember, I have read it though.)

If Mary falls pregnant, her "...assiduous in the formation of her children in the faith" falls flat and scandalises her children.

So when did Mary become "assiduous in the faith"? After she conceived her three illegitimate children? She didn't consider her faith before she slept with an adulterer? Can somebody really be that ignorant of the faith? Perhaps, yes. But we can all convert and repent.

If Mary said the Rosary, her situation would change over night.

Jacobi said...


Yes, it’s all quite clear really. My RE teacher and Cardinal Ratzinger would have been in full agreement!

Damask Rose said...

Part II

Guys, sorry, but I was brought up real strict by my mother.** I was taught that divorced men were illegible bachelors. If one would fall in love with said divorcee, one walked away with a broken heart.

My mother taught me to pray for a husband and I've offered up pilgrimages for this intention and I most certainly didn't fornicate before marriage.

I find it difficult to come to terms with the "internal forum", "pastoral solution" and now this new thing of integrating divorced and remarrieds aka adulterers into the parish. I wouldn't even accept a cup of tea made by an adulterer and I reserve my right to express the spiritual work of mercy and point out what they are doing and tackle the parish priest over this. I do not consider this to be pharasaical and I expect the Fait to be taught. I do not want an adulterer witnessing to me or my kid whom I am forming in the Faith. Do I know if they are living as brother and sister? Perhaps, if some people only ever go up for a priestly blessing. Which is insulting to all those Catholics who go to Confession regularly. I've even had a deacon wax lyrical after Mass about his daughter's illegitimate birth of a child she's had with a man clearly not her divorced husband. But then I believe if a man can't witness through his family, he shouldn't be ordained a deacon. I think this faux-mercy has replaced repentance. Apologies for sounding uncharitable, and Lord, please help me to have more charity.

**But this is the thing, I think there is a current movement (Fr Anselm Grun? et al) in the Church that parents are abrogated from passing on the faith to children, or not to fret over their children's lapsation, because the grace received through baptism will bring them too the church... Thus overturning centuries of established praxis where parents were expected to bring up their children in the Faith backed up by priests preaching from the pulpit and later sisters in schools. In fact, it's quite scary because this "baptismal grace thing" is leaving the practice of the faith to chance and flies in the face of encyclicals backing parents rights and schools regarding passing on the Faith (eg Familiaris Consortio, Spectat Fides, Divini Illius Magistri and even under the current world climate, importantly, Mit Brendenner Sorge. I mention all of this because if the Church softens its teaching towards adulterers and their parish integration, Catholics who want the real Faith may get marginalised. Linking into what Lynda's said, it's seems to all be a strand of the same spider's web.

In all honesty there shouldn't be mixed marriages or aberro-Catholic families if Catholics were practicing their Faith properly. The Papal baptism of the unmarried couple's baby, the Buenos Aires transgender and lesbian baptisms especially, with their lesbians stating publicly their daughter wouldn't be brought up Catholic is so horribly, glaringly symptomatic of this. As I've mentioned before, so is the lynching of Sr Jane Laurel and others who even dare preach sexual morality. It's really very simple, if you don't teach the Catholic Faith you don't get Catholic families.

With regards to the Divorced Catholic Biggie, I'll leave the last word to the ultimate witness in this matter who really understood it:

In A Man for all Seasons, a young man asks to marry St. Thomas More’s daughter. St. Thomas More replies, "The answer is no and will be no as long as you are a heretic."

Liam Ronan said...

@Damask Rose,

You observed:

"Sam can come home after work, have dinner with the family, help the kids with their homework, play, watch a movie and so on. They can go shopping together at weekends, go for daytrips... but at bedtime, Sam goes home to his flat.

This would be a wonderful witness to the children of the Catholic faith. I'm sure blessings would pour down upon Sam."

And how would real children process this state of affairs?

Probably something like "Jesus says Daddy has to live somewhere else." Or "The Catholic Church says Mum and Dad have to split up."

Likely outcome? "I miss Dad soooo much! I hate Jesus. I hate the Catholic Church."

Maybe 'Sam' can discover he has a bad back and needs a new bed/couch to sleep on? Or maybe, just maybe, they can remain together and continent through the Grace of God.

Liam Ronan said...

Not to belabour this, Damask Rose, but you presuppose 'Sam' not only has sufficient income to rent a flat of his own (as well as for Mary), pay each's utilities, transport, etc. but also to continue shopping together at weekends,day trips, and so on.

I realize you are positing an idealized example, but my suspicion is that it is fraught with serious implications for the children.

Liam Ronan said...

Thank you for the opportunity to role-play, Father Blake. In so doing I believe we all learn about ourselves.

Were I a pastor of souls I should like to be guided by the following:

"Go then and learn what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice. For I am not come to call the just, but sinners." Matthew 9:13

"The bruised reed he shall not break: and smoking flax he shall not extinguish: till he send forth judgement unto victory." Matthew 12:20

God bless and keep up the good work of evangelization.

George said...

No matter how contrived or imprudent the "brother - sister" solution may be, at least it keeps the subject in the realm of a pastoral problem. The Catholic Pharisees and Sadducees can debate the relative merits of such pastoral provisions. But at least the doctrine remains officially intact.

As an aside, it's interesting to see how many of the Pharisees keep to their tone and tenor when someone very close to them (especially an adult child) goes down this same road. They tend to quickly dismount the high horse. Very few keep to the Bing Crosby "Aloha on the Steel Guitar" approach.

Maria said...

I don't think Mary or Sam are doing anything wrong. Who are they harming? I think it is more important that their children are properly cared for - that is the main thing.

The Keeper said...


You've ironically inverted the parable. Now it's the tax collector saying, "thank goodness I'm humble, unlike that Pharisee over there!"

Since we are admitting that some doctrine should be protected, since God gave it to us and all, maybe we should stop judging who is considering the hypothetical with a Lilly white heart and who is, like the Pharisees, just lording his privileged status gained by his outward religiosity over the hypothetical woman.

Gungarius said...

There seem to be some people here commenting who give the appearance of being cold hearted puritans.

Surely the bigger scandal is that people in this situation (even if doing extraordinary things like tying to live chasetly like brother and sister) are barred from communion in their local parish as it would cause scandal, yet the conregation is full of people going to communion who use contraception or who m******e or who have drunk to much or who have had sexual contact with someone they are not married to. But that's ok because the rest of the parish dont know for sure.

The Church really is in a mess on this one and as I said in an earlier post the problem isn't the dogma; it is that any sin in sexual matters is currently considered to be objectively speaking mortal.

Things do change. In the middle ages having a mortgage or money in the building society which is lent to others with interest would have been considered to be a mortal sin.

The church still condemns Usury, the dogma has not changed, but a more proportionate approach is taken and the Catholic chief executive of a major UK Bank can openly receive Holy Communion (indeed one might say perhaps to liberal an approach given the debt problems in todays society the Church is far too liberal on this matter).

Gabriel Syme said...

No, she should not receive communion.

The teachings of our Lord are clear and unequivocal. The various patronising, protestant bodge-jobs attempting to bypass our Lord are repugnant.

This is giving people permission to fail, before they have even begun to try not to. It is protestantism. It is lowering/removing the bar. It is a joke.

The specifics of a persons situation do not matter - people will always want to have their cake and eat it. This isn't news. We have known this for 2000 years, why the sudden stupidity from our leaders?

If this is allowed, then soon we will have homosexuals taking communion whilst allegedly living as "brother and brother" (!) and then it will be the man who loves his pet dog "chastely", but who sometimes "falls".

All the "as long as she goes to confession" arguments are rubbish. Confession is meant to be accompanied with a sincere desire not to sin again - that stance is clearly being dumped here, with this clear built-in allowance for future sin. And Confession attendance is very rare or never for most contemporary Catholics as it is.

The populist Bergoglio should look to address the failing fundamentals, not introduce his media- and crowd-pleasing loop-holes.

I am 36 and all have ever known is a Catholic Church which so obviously longs to be Protestant.

This is, of course, why I have begun to attend an SSPX Church.

If anyone disagrees with the above, there are 10s of 1000s of protestant churches willing to indulge you.

Lets not wreck *the* Church to pander to some self-important adulterers and boost Bergoglios media credentials yet further.

Liam Ronan said...

I thank God that it will be only God Who will judge me when I die.

St. Faustina, pray for us.

Liam Ronan said...

Is it to be:

"Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?" Luke 9:54


"And Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34

Patrick Lawler said...

I have three-part answer:
ii) NO!
iii) HELL, NO!
Whereas this gentleman says it much more articulately:

Anonymous said...

I'm a longtime lurker, and I have to say these comments make me so sad. I am currently in an irregular situation where I am living with a man to whom I am not yet married, and for complicated reasons, I cannot move out. Every week, I go to Mass, and every week, I refrain from communion, making a spiritual communion in my pew instead. I know that I am living in sin, I'm not proud of it, and while I continue to be in this situation, I would never dream of sacriligiously taking communion. What I find incredibly irritating is that people expect that exceptions should be made for choices we have made. I know where I have gone wrong and I'm ashamed that I let that happen, but I don't go around insisting that pastoral exceptions should be made for my mistakes. It's embarrassing to be the only person who is still in the pew during Communion, but that's something I brought on myself. At least when we get married then I will be able to regularise my situation, go back to confession and be a Catholic in good standing again. But all this hand wringing about how to be pastoral and ignoring that we have personal responsibility for our actions drives me nuts. The Church shouldn't dumb down the Truth because it is hard. We are supposed to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, not assume it will come without any work or suffering. If God has mercy on us, it will be because we have honestly and truly confessed our sins while making serious changes to our lives to try to avoid sinning again, not because we pretended our sins weren't that bad and took Communion while in a state of mortal sin.

Fr Ray Blake said...

My prayers for the resolution of this situation Louise.
Be strong in faith.

Sadie Vacantist said...

It is absurd that I can take communion and Louise can't. The simple solution is for the Church to discourage me also.

Liam Ronan said...

@Sadie Vacantist,
This is not a criticism, just a simple question.
When and where I was raised I never ever heard the expression 'take Communion'. It was always 'receive Communion'.
I just wonder if that expression of yours is a function of where you come from?

Morgan said...

God knows this woman's heart. It is again a situation of the rules vs. how to get close to God. If she goes to a church where she's not known, goes to confession where she says everything but her living situation, and then gets communion - as she asks Jesus to forgive her sins and she means it and Jesus understands her situation (father for her children vs. no father and still can't get communion), then God's grace comes into the situation and she should go get communion knowing that God knows her, knows what her life is, knows her faults, knows her sadness, and has send His Son exactly for this purpose. Some sins that aren't spoken of in confession but are truly repentant must be forgiven. What would the person in the woods where there is 1 priest who comes around 2 times in the persons life do? The person can't remember everything. Its the repentant soul that is saved through the grace of God - even if there isn't a priest available.

William Tighe said...

"When and where I was raised I never ever heard the expression 'take Communion'. It was always 'receive Communion'."

"To take communion" is the longaeval English phrase for the act of communicating. It long antedates the Reformation, and would have been the phrase used by Chaucer, Fisher and More, among many others. Accipite and manducate ... (etc.) "Take" is a good Anglo-Saxon "four-letter word," while "receive" is a latinate loan-word; both are good translations of "accipere."

It is amazing to read the amount of "heavy weather" one sees from linguistically and historically challenged Catholics concerning this innocuous and venerable term.

Sadie Vacantist said...

@Liam Ronan

The purpose of the post was to offer some support to Louise and express my solidarity.

Liam Ronan said...

@Sadie Vacantist,
Of course. What you were undertaking was self-evident.
I merely asked you a straightforward question about your use of the expression 'take Communion' v my life-long familiarity with the term 'receive Communion'.
No big thing. Was merely curious.

Damask Rose said...

Louise. God bless you. Thank you for your witness. I will say a prayer to the Holy Family for you and your future husband.

Anonymous said...

That is to do a disservice to their "adult child".

Anonymous said...

That would be a most egregious lie about marriage on so many bases - that would be evil and apostasy beyond imagining.

pablito said...

If Mary is serious in her intention that she and Sam live as brother and sister, surely she complies with the requirements of both Familiaris Consortio and the 1994 letter of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, and she should receive communion provided scandal can be avoided, perhaps in a parish where she isn't known.

If she occasionally "slips up" that would be in the same category as any sinner who makes mistakes, what's important is her honest intention not to sin. I think the pharisaical judgementalism of some comments here are appalling.

Both Mary, and Sam, if he is respecting her decision, are making all the sacrifices anyone, the Church included, can expect of them. This is where, if the Holy Father is serious about mercy, it should be shown

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...