Thursday, October 15, 2015

From Dissolubility of Marriage to the Dissolubility of the Church

It is perhaps significant that as the Synod meets in Rome Archbishop Longley of Birmingham, joint chairman of ARCIC, has rejected the idea of non-Catholic spouses being able to receive Holy Communion, three years ago he was open to considering the possibility. In a similar move Archbishop John Myers of Newark has underlined the Church's teaching on the reception of Holy Communion.
As confusion is loosed in the Church I suspect we will see many priests and bishops stiffening what the Church has always believed, [quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est] whilst others move with spirit of the age and the agenda put forward by the purveyors of novelty. If the centre cannot hold then the peripheries will. The Church is like a cartwheel held in tension by the hub, the Bishop of Rome with the rim being that which is believed everywhere, always and by everyone.

It seems that the debate in the Synod Hall has moved from debate over the unity and dissolubility of marriage to the unity to the dissolubility of the Church. It is natural that it should. We believe in a heirarchy of doctrine, not that one doctrine is more important than another but that each is interconnected, remove or weaken one and the whole edifice will begin to collapse. We are watching the collapse!

As Deacon Nick Donnelly says:
The Breakup of the Catholic Church
Father Rosica also indicated that some synod fathers proposed devolving the question of allowing the divorced and civilly remarried to receive communion from Rome to the national level:
“What is needed is not necessarily a universal solution to complex problems, but discussions in small groups and discussions in regional, national and continental groupings to talk about the solutions to the different areas, the different problems, which are not necessarily the same throughout the world.”
But if they succeed in doing this, they change the nature of the Church so that she is no longer one, holy, catholic and apostolic. For example, proposals to devolve decisionmaking powers over allowing the divorced and remarried to receive holy Communion to national bishops’ conferences will break the communion of the Catholic Church. If enacted, we may well see the Church in most parts of Europe abandoning the doctrine of indissolubility by allowing couples in a permanent state of adultery to receive Communion and the Church in Africa upholding the doctrine of indissolubility by maintaining the prohibition of people committing adultery from receiving holy Communion. If this situation were to happen, the Catholic Church would no longer exist in Europe, having finally fallen to liberal Protestantism.
Observing the synod on the family, I know that God upholds the indissolubility of marriage, and so he remains faithful to us and will work his action to purify his Church, the Bride of Christ. We are not left hopeless, but strengthened to defend his truth.
As Pope Benedict frequently prophesied the Church of the future will be smaller and more fervent, Few of us thought that would come about through the action of his immediate successor.


Gregkanga said...

For a very long time I have held the view that episcopal conferences cause more harm than good in the Church period. They have no theological basis, no teaching mission and do not belong to the hierarchical structure of the Church as it was willed by Christ, and this Synod has confirmed that the very reason for their existence is questionable to say the least. When it comes to the faith in the West they have failed on so many fronts at so many levels it is unbelievable. If Rome is serious about saving the shipwreck the Church is fast becoming in the West, then it has to dissolve all episcopal conferences and revert to the traditional way of communicating and dealing with local bishops individually before Vatican II. Seriously, if anything, this is what has to dissolve. I wrote an article on this in Into the Deep at titled, "Time to Dissolve Bishop's Conferences" in the Jan/Feb issue, no.146, page 10, giving concrete examples that has formed and informed my view.

JamesF-J said...

Thank God for Archbishop Bernard!

The Bones said...

Pope Benedict didn't even just say "smaller". He didn't leave it there.


He said it would have to start again, as if from scratch!

Woody said...

So the Roman Catholic Church will split into different denominations just like all the protestant churches.

Anonymous said...

It's no surprise. St Paul explained that the fate of marriage is the fate of the Church in Ephesians 5:31-32 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. "

If Catholic marriages contracept, Catholic missions and the pro-life movement dry up and the culture overtakes us. If Catholic premarital co-habitation increases, Catholic commitment to the faith and experimenting with other faiths increases. If Catholics divorce, then Catholics they lose faith that God won't abandon them as well. If Catholics "remarry" or engage in any other sort of adultery/polygamy, then the Catholic heart is divided between Christ and the idols of the world. And so on....

gemoftheocean said...

Like Obama, it will take DECADES to clean up the Mess that the church has dredged up under this pontificate. At least Obama has a sell-by date.

Woody said...

The other Woody posting here (and elsewhere as I see from time to time) is making, in a short statement, a good point that I could expand upon briefly: without the traditional teaching being upheld by the center, in Rome, inevitably competing versions of the teaching, especially in morals, will be presented to the faithful, and then what are both the faithful and the clergy to do? If presented with different variations of merely well-founded opinions (one set being founded on tradition and the other set being founded on revised thinking approved by a bishops' conference) does a layman adhere to the more traditional view or the locally-approved view? Or go back and forth, depending the day, the mood or the particular issue? And for clergy in an area where the bishops have caved in to more modern mores, do they insist on more traditional (and almost by definition more demanding) practice in the face of the local bishops' laxity? Would this be pharisaical, or merely loyal to the Church of all times? What will the confessor opt for, and why, and will he be able in good conscience to insist on the more demanding position if his bishops (or even the bishops in a neighboring country, or anywhere) have permitted more lax behavior? See, e.g. Friday abstinence.

Highland Cathedral said...

“If this situation were to happen, the Catholic Church would no longer exist in Europe, having finally fallen to liberal Protestantism.”
I agree that those arguing for Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried (CFTDACR) are little different in their basic attitudes from the liberal Protestants. That is what is so scary about the current Synod. The promotion of CFTDACR is but one manifestation of their rejection of the doctrine of sin and grace. They don’t really believe that sin exists and they don’t believe in the power of grace. But supposing that the Church in Europe went down that path, where would it leave the Church in the rest of the world? This would depend on the Pope. If he sided with the CLPs (Catholic Liberal Protestants) then how could the Church outside Europe remain in Communion with the Pope? And if they aren’t in Communion with the Pope are they the Catholic Church? Would it end up with two people claiming to be Pope? One in Europe in Communion with the CLPs and one outside Europe in Communion with everybody else? And what about the true Catholics in Europe? Would there be two organisations in Europe claiming to be the Catholic Church? And what about North America? There would be plenty of Catholics in North America only too willing to join with the CLPs of Europe. Of course, such an outcome would delight the CLPs and their secular allies. They want nothing more than a weakening of the Catholic Church. If they cannot convert the Church to their perverted morality then the next best thing is to weaken it. For example, a divided Church would play a much less significant role at the United Nations.

Anonymous said...

Bring it down to parish level, Father. If after the synod we find that doctrines, such as the indissolubility of marriage, have been "devolved" to local level, and our parish Priest, with the permission or even encouragement of his bishop, starts allowing Holy Communion to openly adulterous couples, just where are the faithful faithful supposed to go? Or, what of the priest whose conscience will not allow him to permit this, which means defying his bishop? It'll be a smaller Church, all right, as the C of E has already found.

Highland Cathedral said...

The Americans better elect a President who is opposed to the Obama agenda or the mess there will just get worse. Unfortunately the Americans are quite capable of electing a new Obamination in the likes of Hilary Clinton. And I suspect that any of the Democrat contenders would be pretty much as bad. What would the USA be like after 16 years of that kind of presidency?

Fr Ray Blake said...

That is what I am worrying about.

torchofthefaith said...

Thanks for this Father,

It's related to the mystery of Marriage in Ephesians 5: 21-33 really, isn't it?

If you start messing with marriage, you end up messing with the Church.

Make a mess?

What an unholy mess!

Liam Ronan said...


Just as a practical matter, how have these 'openly adulterous couples' been identified heretofore so that they were denied the Holy Eucharist when they approached to receive Communion? T-shirts?

Many parishioners (and priests, I suppose) have no clue even now who is living in an irregular union and who is not.

I do think the sin of this Synod is the failure to point out and reinforce that both Pope St. John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger have said that couples who have contracted irregular unions may in fact receive the Holy Eucharist if, barring a grave reason they cannot separate, they live in continence.

Sixupman said...

"National (Catholic) Churches" and its counterpart a "Laity Led Church" have been 'on-the-cards' for many years now. The development, into an Anglican manque with semi-detached relationship with Rome and perpetual synods to keep-up with changing mores, being the order of the day.

Decision time may well be upon us!

Sadie Vacantist said...

Why are comments about Obama being permitted on here? Are Americans seriously equating Bush with Benedict XVI and Francis with Bush's successor? This is preposterous and lies at the heart of the present crisis. Americans are the main drivers behind the privatisation of religion and the destruction of theocratic civilizations.

My Blog said...

Many Catholics lament the fact that the Church is or will shrink and that we all should support whatever the Vatican says to prevent the Church from weakening.

Non-Catholics don't care about the Church, all they want is to feel comfortable knowing that the final bastion of opposition to their sexual perverted actions is collapsing or at least approves their filthy actions and that's why they love Francis because of his "who am I to judge?" and other "nice" words and talk about "openness, welcoming, mercy, not rigid church," etc.

The truth is:

The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit do not care about quantity but about quality.

Most of us think in terms of human definitions and conceptions,i.e. the bigger the better.

Not so with God.

Jacobi said...

The Church will not indeed cannot dissolve. It can however split into Catholic and non-Catholic heretical factions, as happened after the Protestant Reformation, and that will happen again, it now seems.

But the Church, albeit smaller for a while will remain, and the heretical factions will drift and dissolve away.

ps : Is Deacon Donnelly back again??

Anonymous said...

Father, today Rorate Caeli posted a very important post, which provides an explanation of the possibility -indeed probability of danger to the Church of Rome. Last year, when Pope Francis heralded Cardinal Kasper at the Consistory, yet orthodox Cardinals whom I respected were so against what Cardinal Kasper had written, I did some research, which I had forgotten about until I read Rorate Caeli's post today.

You may choose not to post this "comment", but I wanted you to see it as it speaks to your post today about the dissolubility of the Church.

Here is my updated research with some substantiating links and my interspersed comments:

First, PLEASE, read the very important post today on Rorate Caeli, which actually shows what Pope Francis’ pontificate is all about. Here is the link:

Pope Francis is going to devolve authority to the local episcopal areas. Rorate Caeli in the link above explains why this devolution is SO DANGEROUS for our Holy Mother Church. Indeed, ‘devolution of authority to local churches’ is what the ongoing battle between Kasper and Benedict XVI has been for many years. (Cardinal Avery Dulles wrote about this battle and alludes to Gallicanism – which I believe is why Daneels et. al. called themselves St. Galen’s Mafia. Remember: the St. Galen Mafia boasted about and admitted to recently by Cardinal Daneels was opposed to Benedict XVI during his pontificate. See a summary of Cardinal Dulles’ article here: .

Daneels was also on Kasper’s side, regarding devolution of authority to local churches. See here an article by Fr. Raymond deSouza: It now makes sense why the Holy Father, in spite of Daneel’s record of condoning sex abuse, has appointed Daneels on the Synod committee to draft the final SYNOD report. The recommendation will be to devolve authority to the local churches. Fr. Raymond deSouza in the ncregister link provided, uses the same quote as Rorate Caeli did today: “Quis custodiet Kasper?”

It also makes sense now, why Cardinal Marx has changed his tune from ‘Rome will not tell us what to do’, to ‘we will be in unity with the pope’ – as probably Pope Francis will use the excuse of the ‘deadlock’ between progressive and orthodox participants at the Synod to give local churches decision making power to “not change doctrine, but to institute their own praxis” – which ofcourse will undermine doctrine.

We really need to pray that this does not happen…and now I've decided that it's really important to sign the petition for the Orthodox Bishops to walk away from this Synod!!!! ...their walk may save our Holy Mother Church from centuries of trying to repair the damage - damage that Rorate Caeli points will happen if this devolution takes place.

Sounds pretty far off doesn't it? But is it any more far off than what is currently being debated about in the Synod?

Genty said...

The Voice of the Family group is doing sterling work in Rome.

Gillineau said...

Has it crossed anybody else's mind that the current incumbent of the papacy has dementia? I ask this in all seriousness - he's rudeness, his contadictory comments, his wandering teachings, his unedited written works. It just seems to me to be the behaviour of one who's a little short of the full shilling. I don't mean this as an insult, just as a suggestion and given the current confusion, perhaps one we should investigate.

That being said, the fact of Benedict being functionally incarcerated, unable to speak out, unable to leave, does seem a mite more sinister.

Either way, Catholics have to step back from the near papolatory we've been tempted by in recent decades. The pope is not the Church! He is, at best, merely a sign of its unity, at worst an impediment to it. But he is never it.

On another note, how long did it take for ordinary faithful Catholics to realise that a reformation (the Reformation) was upon them. I presume that even Henry VIII and his wretched offspring were presumed faithful for quite a long time before the notion emerged and was accepted that things had irreversibly changed. How long was it before Henry was excommunicated and his new church formally declared schismatic. I bet it wasn't that quick; my entirely uninformed guess would be about 50 years, a couple of generations.

Unknown said...

This is the ends of collegiality; of conciliarism. A Soviet Church. Soviet simply means, Council.
Errors of Russia, etc, etc.

Jacobi said...


The first reference to a second Reformation I have come across was from Malcolm Muggeridge who complained about 1978, I think, that it had delayed his conversion to the Church

Fr Ray Blake said...

You mean the strange remarks about the Mayor of Rome and the even stranger ones about the kidnapped Paraguayan(?) comparing the president to a Nazi? I am sure he was just tired. But I understand it was a question asked by some of the Mayors few supporters.

Liam Ronan said...

@Fr. Ray Blake,

Probably owing to oxygen deprivation on high altitude flights.

Victoria said...

Liam Ronin:
both Pope St. John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger have said that couples who have contracted irregular unions may in fact receive the Holy Eucharist if, barring a grave reason they cannot separate, they live in continence.

Liam please provide a link to the document/s in which Pope St John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger said the above.

I am aware of the Vademecum for Confessors but that document didn't say what you are claiming.

John Vasc said...

Gillineau - in answer to your question, Henry VIII was declared ‘head of the Church in England and Wales as far as the word of God allows’ in 1531, but it wasn't until 1534 that the Act of Supremacy was introduced, and put to the bishops for signing. More and Fisher were executed in 1535, and 1536 saw the beginning of the dissolution of the monasteries and 1537-8 the brutal executions of the Pilgrims of Grace and of the brave Carthusian Martyrs.
In fact, Pope Paul III reacted quickly - in 1535 a Papal Bull had already been issued against the King: a suspended sentence. In 1538 the Bull was activated and Henry was excommunicated.
A useful guide to English popular reaction is Eamon Duffy's invaluable 'The Stripping of the Altars' - it shows that the people realized quite quickly they were being 'reformed' on the sly (despite the temporary retention of the Mass) because of Cromwell's wholesale abolition of many feast days and devotional practices and prayers that were central to English Catholicism and part of their religious tradition. In the trimming down of the liturgy and abolition of monastic life (and the robbery of land and property) they also saw clearly the intention by the metro-set of King's ministers to usurp and protestantize the nation - hence the many regional uprisings in 1535-36.
They blamed the reforms on Cromwell, and not on Henry - tyrants always find a useful scapegoat.

Sixupman said...

Gillineau: and those clergy persecuted upon rejection of Vatican II and the NOM who had the vision to see the direction of travel - not to mention the clergy still being persecuted, to a greater or lesser degree, for adherence to Catholicism and the Magisterium of Mother Church.

Gillineau said...

Yes, I've read Duffy; Scarisbrick ('Reformation and the English People' 1984) suggests that the Faith was strong amongst the masses (where it existed) even up to the point of split so my question isn't about what people in authority knew or believed (who cares!), rather what the peripheries knew and believed, and how they acted. How long did it take for Joe Bloggs to recognise the service he was attending wasn't Mass and that his bishop had no legitimacy?

Let's pray that the pope is strong, just as Paul VI had to be. Although P6 had the minor advantage of not having his predecessor shackled next door, as a sort of threat.

Liam Ronan said...


Here are a few citations for you:

"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."

Pope St. John Paul II wrote:

“Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted 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, such as for example 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.” (Familiaris Consortio, 84)

"The June 24, 2000 Declaration of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts “Concerning The Admission To Holy Communion Of Faithful Who Are Divorced And Remarried”
The Pontifical Council stated:

“c) the manifest character of the situation of grave habitual sin.
Those faithful who are divorced and remarried would not be considered to be within the situation of serious habitual sin who would not be able, for serious motives – such as, for example, the upbringing of the children – “to satisfy the obligation of separation, assuming the task of living in full continence, that is, abstaining from the acts proper to spouses” (Familiaris consortio, n. 84), and who on the basis of that intention have received the sacrament of Penance. Given that the fact that these faithful are not living more uxorio is per se occult, while their condition as persons who are divorced and remarried is per se manifest, they will be able to receive Eucharistic Communion only remoto scandalo.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

“If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.”

Sandpiper said...

Rather than dementia I think Pope Francis exhibits characteristics of a type of manic, borderline personality.

My Blog said...

"The Dissolubility of the Church"

Why be a Christian? To know the TRUE God and to go to Heaven.

What is the role of the Church? To lead souls to Heaven.

What if the Church leads souls to Hell? Souls, ultimately, must follow Christ's teachings, not the Church's heretical ones.

Jesus spoke about the dissolubility of the Church in Mark, Chapter 9, Verses 43-48:

42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe [in me] to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.

43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna into the unquenchable fire.

[44] 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.

[46] 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,

48 where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’

If the teachings of the Church lead souls to Hell, i.e. are contradictory to Christ's teachings, two things will happen:

1 - The Heretic Clergy will go to Hell. (..."it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.")

2 - The Souls, (the faithful, the little ones) must repudiate, reject and even cut themselves off these false teachings and if they can't find any safe Church (parish) that teaches and preaches Christ's Commandments, they must stop going to that place.

When Christ says that -figuratively- one must cut off his own limb if that limb causes him to sin, so how about something exterior to that person, such as a cleric or a church that causes him to sin.

The ultimate goal is Salvation, is Heaven. If one can't attain Heaven through a Church (because it preaches Hell), one must leave that Church.

Christ is clear.

This is not a call for forming a new Church, but to remain faithful to the Truths of the Catholic Faith. It is the only Faith founded by God that can lead souls to Heaven.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the participants in the anonymous discussions listened to today's reading?
"Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees – that is, their hypocrisy. Everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. For this reason, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in hidden places will be proclaimed on the housetops."

and this:
"I will tell you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has the power to cast into hell."

Do they, I wonder, consider that these words might be relevant to them?

My Blog said...

How can I describe the Church?

The Church is like a bus or a taxi, you take it to go your own specific destination. It is your means of transportation to Heaven.

But if that ride changes its course and decides to move to a difference direction, you have no choice but to leave.

When you leave, if you can't find a different ride and if it was the only ride that takes you to your destination, then you have no choice but to go on your own, walking if you have to.

Although that ride could have made it faster and easier, but since it changed its course, you just can't continue riding it or you might end up in a different place far away from your intended destination.

Yes, you will be on your own, but you will arrive safely and exactly to where you want to be.

Lynda said...

Marriage cannot change - it is part of the Deposit of Faith and the Natural Law. The Motu Proprios are invalid for necessarily conflicting with the Deposit of Faith and the Natural Law. Marriage is indissoluble. Invalid marriages are necessarily a rare occurrence.

Anonymous said...

I find it confusing the way some words are translated. The greek word eon is one that has been totally misused. I do not know when this misunderstanding occurred, but occur it did. Eon means age as I read one time in an older bible commentary. My mind at my age is a trifle foggy but I do remember that comment. Eon in the sense Christ used it is found only twice in scriptures.I ask you all to carefully consider these facts. The Church will never be conquered. The Church victorious glorified and righteous in Heaven is unconquerable.
The church militant and temporal. is very vulnerable, purgatory is likely the same but different in the fact that it is now dependent on the church temporal for assistance to reach heaven. We can pray people out of it. It may even be possible for those in purgatory to refuse to leave until someone here on earth is changed for the better by their continued suffering. We can help them and there is nothing the church teaches that says they cannot help us with their extended suffering.
Can the church militant here on earth be closed down, Well consider this, nothing of the satanic filth can harm her but we can and are lately heading down the road to some sort of perdition.
Consider scripturally what age the Church is in. First we know the age of the Messiah is over. He was obedient suffered and fulfilled His messianic duties. We can obtain salvation, we can obtain redemption and now we can acknowledge that his promise of the Paraclete the Holy Spirit was honored. Can He die twice for us, yes if Jesus got it wrong the first time. To think that is a moral equivalent of what this present synod is about to confirm???
Pentecost took us into the age of the Holy Ghost the unseen Eternal Divine Spirit of supernatural love and sanctifying grace (Righteousness in the eyes of God) and and since then we can attain heaven to live with a God who is righteous. The question you might like to debate just like at the synod and its foolishness is, "Can we loose or dismiss the Holy Spirit from our lives? Can we offend God so much that He cannot see us (Habbakuk) Can we do as God told Ezechiel and receive His punishment "the soul that sins dies". Can mankind as a whole dismiss God from among us. Would the cantankerous misplaced three days of Darkness theology really happen as viewed by so many foolish thinking spin professors. It will if the Church disappears from this world. read the true Doctrine of the marvels of grace not the opinionated thoughts we read about Grace today. Just imagine a world without priests or the church. Would God allow it to continue, if it is not how His Son left it??

Stephen Turton said...

All above seems a little doom and gloom. Not all is as as bad in Europe as may seem. Many churches in France, and I'm talking of recent visits have an astounding - it hits you as you go into them - an astounding peace silence and intense sense of the presence of the Eucharist, that does not leave you for a long time. A sense of orthodoxy and truth. Places where the faith has been kept, nothing has changed.

Anonymous said...

@Liam: I take your point, but I was thinking more of those individuals/couples (every parish has got them) who cohabit while openly proclaiming that no, they haven't got married/got an annulment before remarrying, because "they can't be bothered with all that stuff" or "they don't agree with the Church about that" or some such gracious comment.

Oh well. When I went back to the Church some years ago, having been lapsed for a considerable time, I was myself in an irregular situation; and I sat at the back and I did not go forward for Communion until I had sorted that situation out. This was simply because I feared committing sacrilege more that the possibly raised eyebrows in the neighbouring pews. (The situation that has been allowed to develop of having everyone assume they must receive each and every time they show up at Mass has a lot to answer for, IMHO.)

The C of E has already gone down this path. Which is why they are in such a mess now, with - as far as I can see - anything goes.

But beginning to look as if I was just being over-scrupulous, after all, isn't it?

Liam Ronan said...


You did well to refrain from receiving Communion where you and your irregular situation might be known or suspected. Even so, it seems possible to occasionally receive Communion in another parish or mission church where neither you nor your marital status are known.

"...they will be able to receive Eucharistic Communion only remoto scandalo.”

Insofar as those individuals/couples who openly, publicly, and notoriously cohabit, I can honestly say in my 66 years I have never met one nor had one pointed out to me (in which case I would have cut-off the gossiper/detractor at the knees).

Sean W. said...

Sorry Greg, there are no other boats. And you can no more reach your destination by swimming alone than the passengers aboard the Titanic could've swam the rest of the way to America.

If the ark has sprung a leak, it's our job to bail her out. And if necessary to toss overboard the treacherous crew who are drilling holes in the bulkheads.

Anonymous said...


Erm, well, no, I refrained from receiving because I was in mortal sin at the time. You don't really mean that I should have snuck off to the next parish where I could commit sacrilege without anybody, anybody mortal, that is, knowing?

Fr Blake, help us out here. Does remoto scandalo apply in such a situation or does it mean that those in a frater-soror situation may receive "only remoto scandalo"; all others, please sort themselves out first?

Liam Ronan said...


If you will revisit what you had written earlier, you characterized your situation thus:

"I was myself in an irregular situation; and I sat at the back and I did not go forward for Communion until I had sorted that situation out."

Since the immediate topic under discussion was 'irregular unions', principally Catholics who have been divorced and civilly remarried, my brief reply to you distilling and restating the writings of Ratzinger, Pope St. John Paul II, the Council for Pontifical Texts, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (cited extensively and precisely by me earlier in this post)was intended thus.

I suggest your most recent comment to me, i.e.:

"You don't really mean that I should have snuck off to the next parish where I could commit sacrilege without anybody, anybody mortal, that is, knowing?"

arises either out of ignorance of the aforementioned citations and context to which I had reported them, or a desire to make me appear to sanction sacrilegious reception of the Holy Eucharist in plain contradiction to the wording and distinctions I had stated earlier.

Alas, I fear you are having me on, brother.


Anonymous said...

Thanks be to God that you have clarified this for my slow brain. I did indeed fear that that was exactly what you meant, and am so pleased and relieved that it is not. Peace be to you also, brother.

Liam Ronan said...


I'm pleased to have allayed your fears.

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...