Communion Change?

Cardinal Reinhard Marx

According to the findings of a German bishops’ report released on Dec. 22, most of the country’s 66 bishops now favor allowing divorced Catholics living in new civil unions to participate in confession and receive Communion in “particular justified instances.” The report said the exclusion of divorced Catholics was “no longer comprehensible” to many priests. “For many Catholics engaged in church life, the pastoral care of faithful with a civil divorce and living in new unions is a test of the church’s credibility,” the document continued. “The church’s teaching and pastoral work must uphold Jesus’ instruction on the indissolubility of marriage, but also his invoking of God’s mercy on those who are sinful.” The summary said most divorced German Catholics considered their separation and new relationship “morally justified” and viewed their consequent exclusion from sacraments as “constituting unjustified discrimination and being merciless.”

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Henry George
3 years 4 months ago
Is a distinction being made between the person who did not seek a divorce but was either physically or emotionally abandoned by their spouse and those who basically destroyed their marriage ? For those whose marriage collapsed due to no moral fault of their own and have subsequently entered into a second marriage - receiving Communion and other Sacraments makes sense. For those who wantonly destroyed a marriage that is a more difficult question.
Mike Evans
3 years 4 months ago
We would forgive a murderer or an adulterer or bank robber. Why not someone who "wantonly" destroyed a marriage?
Steven Breen
2 years 11 months ago
I read about this and even write an article for essaymaxi
Mike Evans
3 years 4 months ago
About time for such a strong statement. Would Jesus exclude them forever?
Martin Eble
3 years 1 month ago
If the New Testament is any guide, Jesus excluded anyone who did not repent.
William Rydberg
3 years 4 months ago
It's probably timely to mention some quotes of a few of my favourite Divines: “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, with bishops as their signposts.” - attributed to St John Chrysostom. “What seems to me white, I will believe black if the hierarchical Church so defines.” ― attributed to St Ignatius of Loyola Posted without comment... Something important to think about whenever immortal souls are in the balance.
Bruce Snowden
3 years 4 months ago
When the Church says that Catholics are "living in sin" because of divorce and civil remarriage and cannot receive Eucharist, is the Church saying that such couples living within that frame are guilty of a moral genetic connection to the sin against the Holy Spirit, the only unforgivable sin and because of that moral equivalency their sin is unforgivable as long as their unlawful marital union exists, simply because the Church speaking in the name of Christ says so? If not, why the restriction? If so, how very harshly un-Christlike! I think at least in some cases, maybe the majority of cases, there ought to be theological rethinking along the line of Holy Father Francis always so on target
Martin Eble
3 years 1 month ago
It is rather simpler than that. The Church is saying that sex outside of marriage is objectively a serious (mortal) sin. Therefore, if you divorce and remarry civilly you are objectively committing a serious sin every time you engage with your spouse in activities restricted to those that are married. You cannot be shriven of a sin of which you do not repent and choose not to try to avoid. Therefore, Catholics who are civilly divorced and remarried cannot receive the Eucharist, which requires that the communicant be in a state of grace. There is nothing un-Christlike about it. Jesus did not cut sin or sinners any slack at all, conditioning forgiveness without exception on repentance.
sam jackson
3 years 2 months ago
this statement is very strong, for more info
John Wilson
3 years 1 month ago
There must be a freedom to take decision for every individuals.
William Harris
1 year 4 months ago
Many U.S. Catholics have experiences with divorce and remarriage, as well as cohabitation. And as a whole, Catholics are accepting of various kinds of family arrangements, including cohabitation and same-sex relationships.
Martin Eble
3 years 1 month ago
Of course a majority vote of the German bishops does not constitute a change in Church teaching. The German bishops are supported by the government rather than by the collection basket through a tax on self-identified Catholics. As a result, for tax purposes, Catholics are increasingly avoiding the tax by no longer identifying themselves as Catholics. That raises the question of whether the bishops in Germany are being motivated by their vows to teach as Christ taught - He who taught that divorce was contrary to the law of God, or by pecuniary incentives unique to Germany.
Eric Jhonson
3 years ago
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Arrom Anor
2 years 6 months ago
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Edward Evans
1 year 2 months ago

The Church—the institution as well as the individuals—needs to minister to the millions of divorced Catholics by both changing ingrained attitudes and reaching out in love. Yes, the Church is and should be pro-marriage, but, like its Lord, it must also love and support those whose marriages have failed. It’s a fine line to walk, but it is necessary.
( Edward E. from )



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