Cardinal Re: No Sacraments for the Remarried and Divorced

Emeritus Cardinal Re does not consider it possible to revise this legal requirement of the Church, for “an objective situation can not be changed”. (H/T to Eponymous Flower)

Matrimony, The Seven Sacraments, Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1445.

Matrimony, The Seven Sacraments, Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1445.

Vatican City (kath.net / KNA) The emeritus Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re (80) does not believe that Pope Francis will remove the exclusion of remarried divorcees from the ecclesiastical sacraments. He does not consider it possible to revise this canonical rule, Re on Tuesday said to the Internet site Vatican Insider. “An objective situation can not be changed,” said the former prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, who served as the highest-ranking cardinal the conclave for the election of Francis.

However, Francis is keen to improve the Church’s pastoral care of the divorced and remarried, the cardinal stressed. This should be aimed to encourage those affected in their faith and to enable them to live in prayer, and with regular attendance at Sunday Mass. Currently being worked on are ways to make the Church’s closeness to these people more visible. [Scary, Divorcee Liturgies?]

Concern for the family is counted among the main topics of this Pope.

The second major concern of the Pope was to strengthen the collegiality with the bishops, says Re, who also headed the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. But Francis would simplify the processes in the Synod of Bishops to make the interaction of the synod efficient. With regard to the reform of the Curia, over which the committee appointed by Francis of eight advisory Cardinals [is] currently meeting at the Vatican, Re said it would take time and an intense reflection.

Link to Kath.net…

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8 Responses to Cardinal Re: No Sacraments for the Remarried and Divorced

  1. Brother Burrito says:

    Communion is not licit while fornication or adultery are currently taking place.

    However, while a couple are living together as brother and sister, and all mortal sin is confessed, then Communion is possible.

    This is my reading of the Church’s position on these matters.

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  2. kathleen says:

    I’ve just realised that the title here is misleading. Besides, the word “divorced” should come before “remarried”!
    A person who has had to undergo a civil divorce, perhaps through no fault of their own, (and who has not entered into another marriage) can still receive Communion. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says as much:
    If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense” (CCC 2383)
    It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.” (CCC 2386)

    Only in the case of a divorced person entering into another marriage, without an annulment of their first marriage, is unable to receive the sacraments.
    It is quite surprising how many marriages are found to be genuinely invalid in an annulment process. Too often people rush into marriage without proper preparation, maturity, intent or knowledge of the real responsibilities of a true marriage.
    What I find hard to understand is why practicing Catholics go ahead and remarry without trying for an annulment of their previous marriages first. Naturally, in doing this they are automatically putting themselves outside of the Church – they know that.

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  3. Jerry says:

    What I find hard to understand is why practicing Catholics go ahead and remarry without trying for an annulment of their previous marriages first. Naturally, in doing this they are automatically putting themselves outside of the Church – they know that.

    Kathleen can you clarify what you mean by “outside the Church”? Because at face value your claim is simply flat out wrong.

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  4. kathleen says:

    Yes Jerry, I’ll try.
    What I mean to say is only what the Church teaches. By remarrying, while still sacramentally married to the former spouse, the person is in effect committing adultery. In the eyes of Church Canon Law the first marriage is still a marriage if it has not been annulled. Therefore these people are only “outside the Church” in this sense; they can still go to Mass of course and practice their Faith in other ways, but absolution in Confession and receiving Holy Communion is denied them.

    I personally know Catholics in this situation (as I’m sure most of us do) and it is very very tragic. Numerous reasons might have attributed for them to take this step without following the necessary process to follow the Church’s guidelines, but the Church cannot go against the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ on this.

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  5. Jerry says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    Thanks, and I completely agree with your response.

    But these people are not, repeat not(!) “outside the Church”!

    As Pope Benedict put it:

    Pope Benedict said that Catholics must keep two things in mind: First, that even if divorced and civilly remarried Catholics cannot receive the Eucharist, they are part of the church and are loved by Christ; and second, that suffering out of love for God and for the church is “a noble suffering.”

    While participating at Mass without receiving Communion is not optimal, he said, “it is not nothing; it is involvement in the mystery of the cross and resurrection of Christ.”

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0504311.htm

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  6. Toadspittle says:

    “…but the Church cannot go against the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ on this.”

    Remind us again, Kathleen – of the bit where Jesus condemns divorce.

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  7. kathleen says:

    “But these people are not, repeat not(!) “outside the Church”!”

    Yes, OK Jerry, you are right – I used the wrong words, sorry. I should have said instead that “they were not in full communion with the Church”. Believe me, I have nothing but the greatest compassion for Catholics that find themselves in this distressing situation.
    ____________

    Toad, there is more than one place in the Gospel where Jesus condemns divorce and remarriage. Here’s a good article on the whole subject:

    “1) In Luke 16:18 Jesus says:
    “Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”
    No outs, no exception. Luke apparently thought that he omitted nothing central to the issue when he quoted Jesus on the issue of divorce. If he thought that Jesus taught that adultery was an exception, why would Luke leave that out? In Luke Jesus is quite clear in teaching that whoever marries someone divorced is an adulterer.
    2) Mark also records Jesus thoughts on the issue, Mark 10:2-12:
    2 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away.” 5 But Jesus said to them, “For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” 10 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” …

    Read more here: http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/divorce.html

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  8. Jerry,

    This is one big mess. The survey showed a widespread lack of understanding among Catholics on church teaching.

    People lie to get married, people lie to get annulments.

    The best thing would be if there is an impediment, to just call off the wedding.

    But, how is the church supposed to know of this, when people who do not attend church, just show up to get married.

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