French bishop opens door for remarried divorced couples to receive the sacraments

By Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent, LifeSiteNews November 9, 2016:

dominique_lebrun_810_500_55_s_c1The bishop of Rouen in the Norman town of France, where Saint Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431, organized an unprecedented public ceremony on the feast of All Hallows at his cathedral, welcoming divorced and remarried couples of the diocese for a special benediction.

The couples were personally invited in a letter distributed by local parishes as part of a special “Year of Mercy” initiative. The letter included references to Amoris Laetitia.

More than 600 people answered Bishop Dominique Lebrun’s call to the “separated, divorced, divorced and remarried” to join vespers of the feast of All  Saints, entering the cathedral through the “Door of Mercy” before moving as close as possible to the altar in “symbolic scenography,” wrote Claire Lesegretain, a journalist for La Croix, a daily newspaper near the French episcopate who covered the event.

The service was aimed at making those who feel “rejected,” those who are “turned back” from the threshold of the Church, feel part of it again, Lesegretain reported.

During vespers, the bishop announced that he had named seven priests as special “missionaries of mercy” in his diocese as a response to Pope Francis’ call at the beginning of the Year of Mercy. The priests were given the “special” task of welcoming divorced persons who are engaged in a new union to help them “examine their conscience, in total confidentiality, thanks to the Word of God.” After the ceremony on November 1, writes La Croix, all of the five “missionaries of mercy” present received several requests for appointments.

“The missionaries will listen to them and ask them questions in order to discern and to find out which path to follow together with their parish community,” Bishop Lebrun said.

Lebrun openly stated that Amoris Laetitia considers that “this discernment can allow for the receiving of the sacraments if there is no grave fault and when ‘mitigating factors’ and ‘situations’ diminish responsibility.”

So the bishop of Rouen is clearly stating that certain people who are still validly married there would be no problem as to the reception of the sacraments even if the nullity of the first marital union were not to have been established. In his view, the person can then enter into a new union with “no grave fault” involved.

This goes directly against the words of Christ about the sin of adultery and the indissolubility of marriage, but it does find its place in the new logic, where one looks subjectively at the responsibility for the divorce and the way in which it took place.

While it is beyond doubt that in a divorce the responsibility for the situation is often unequally divided, up to the point where in some cases one of the spouses bears the whole responsibility for the separation, this makes no difference to the reality of the marriage and the vow of fidelity “until death do them part.” Objectively, they are still, or should be, images of Christ’s fidelity to His bride, the Church. That is what they have sworn to in the name of God …

In the letter, Lebrun openly addressed those who are “married before God in the sacrament of marriage, who are today separated, divorced, perhaps remarried or living in a new union.” “I know many of you have the impression that you have been rejected by the community, that you have been condemned,” he added.

He went on to beg forgiveness four times.

“I come to ask your forgiveness: the failure of your marriage has become the failure of a life, perhaps because of the way you are looked at or because of attitudes you face,” he said. “In reality, your divorce is a trial in a life woven by love, which has so many faces and expressions.

“I ask your forgiveness: the indissolubility of your marriage has become a burden that you carry as a condemnation. For you, it was a way of liberty, love and mercy, and that is what it should remain for all.

“I ask your forgiveness: the reminder of the law hits you like the stones that Jesus refused to throw at the adulteress. Yet the law is a way to happiness.

“I ask your forgiveness: the impossibility to receive the sacraments for divorced persons engaged within a new union has become an exclusion. It is and should be a call to welcome you with more charity.”

Lebrun sees the answer to this in Pope Francis’ “appeal to choose the logic of integration,” quoting Amoris Laetitia, which says “no one can be condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel.”

Having protested that “the Pope does not change the Christian ideal … marriage remains marriage.” Lebrun added, “However, your way remains a way of the baptized called to holiness, as mine is also. It is a call to joyous conversion, to a life ever more united to Christ and not to an illusory perfection. It is a way of growth that is called ‘graduality.’”

Lebrun invites them to join him in prayer on All Saints Day: “We will give thanks for your lives, for all the love they contain. I will bless you in the name of God. (…) I hope it will be a new starting point, and an encouragement.”

Having commended and thanked those who remain faithful to their marriage vows with “audacity and courage,” the bishops speaks of those who have entered into a new union but who continue to come to church without receiving communion. And then:

“Others have decided, in conscience, to receive Communion. They ask themselves (…) what does the community think, and the priest? Is it right?”

The bishop does more than infer that it can be right. “Each situation, each path requires discernment. The Pope is prepared to consider that this discernment can allow the reception of the sacraments, if there is no grave fault. ‘Mitigating factors’ or ‘situations’ diminish responsibility (Nos. 301/2),” the bishop writes.

Lebrun goes on to say the Pope has asked that time be taken for this discernment. He adds: “I hope that this first of November will be a steppingstone toward a new path. Let us not go too fast … nor too slow.”

The wording is cautious, but not cautious enough for an ordinary reader to understand that the bishop is favorable to access to the Holy Eucharist for the divorced who are in an irregular new union, and that he hopes it will be possible for some, if not many. He has acted in this direction himself, albeit more discreetly than last week.

Claire Segrétain writes: “This is the first time that such a celebration, aimed at the ‘separated, divorced, divorced and remarried.’ is made public in a diocese of France. ‘In July 2015, in Saint-Etienne, I invited a dozen divorced and remarried couples who were asking for a blessing to receive it together,’” she quoted the bishop as saying. He felt “called” to “make the situation go forward” upon hearing the pope encouraging to “dare to go down singular ways” in Amoris Laetitia (the words, it should be said, are the bishop’s own and cannot be found in the Apostolic exhortation). But one thing is clear: the bishop of Rouen is sure that he is acting according to the Pope’s will.

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56 Responses to French bishop opens door for remarried divorced couples to receive the sacraments

  1. JabbaPapa says:

    So the bishop of Rouen is clearly stating that certain people who are still validly married there would be no problem as to the reception of the sacraments even if the nullity of the first marital union were not to have been established. In his view, the person can then enter into a new union with “no grave fault” involved.

    This analysis is erroneous — and a Blessing is a Sacramental in the first place, not a Sacrament, and certainly not the Eucharist.

    To say that “this discernment can allow for the receiving of the sacraments if there is no grave fault and when ‘mitigating factors’ and ‘situations’ diminish responsibility” certainly does NOT mean nor “clearly state” that there is “no problem” for reception of the Sacraments, nor that entering into a new union involves “no grave fault”.

    The author of the article is simply choosing to completely ignore the actual meaning of such words as “if” and “when”, and to completely ignore that the “special” task of welcoming divorced persons who are engaged in a new union to help them “examine their conscience, in total confidentiality, thanks to the Word of God.” clearly does NOT constitute freely providing the Sacraments to Adulterers.

  2. John says:

    JabbaPapa@ 08:08. As morally superior people,we should keep the sacraments to ourselves. ?

  3. JabbaPapa says:

    As a morally superior person, do you prefer the idea of handing them out to all and sundry ?

  4. John says:

    JabbaPapa@10.10.
    You will realize that I was merely being ironic. Those fond of the traditional Latin Mass should recall the words of the liturgy ‘ Domine non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum….’, not ‘Domine non est dignus….’
    I fail to understand the ease with which anyone can judge the worthiness of another.

  5. Marai says:

    No – one can. Therefore we have rules – based on good foundations: the 10 commandments – in this case 6.

  6. John says:

    Marai @13:33. But determining an individual’s worthiness is not your function. The Church does not give you personally, or give me, the role of pronouncing on those who should, or should not, receive the Eucharist. That is a matter between the communicant and God alone.

    The Ten Commandments are there for everybody’s guidance ; but pointing an accusing finger at individuals personally and attempting to examine their consciences is neither justified nor helpful. Better to say : Domine non sum dignus…..

  7. ginnyfree says:

    I grew up in a very Catholic place, observing the rudiments of the faith in others though my family and I were perpetual outsiders, the kids on the block some moms didn’t want theirs playing with because we weren’t Catholic, etc. One of the things I observed was there were a few pews in the back of the church reserved for “visitors” and that is exactly what the sign said. One of the guys in my clique was an usher and explained that those pews were reserved for the divorced Catholics and others and when they came in they’d get ushered there. They were very aware of persons not of that parish and if you tried to sit down elsewhere, they would fish you out of the crowd and bring you back to your special seats. They made sure these “visitors” didn’t go up during Communion time unless they’d given sufficient explanation to these guys (they were all men BTW, no girls or women allowed) prior to the start of Mass. If Mass was underway, forget it. You simply couldn’t go up at all. They guarded the Blessed Sacrament and were proud of it. They’d even discuss who was and wasn’t allowed to go up and made sure they knew everyone’s business to that end. Perhaps even a little gossipy, but it prevented sacrilege. “Open Communion” was a term for the Protestants. I married and moved away from that town and all that I knew second hand about Catholicism but it remained a part of my experience of the faith till later in life. Now, I look back on those days with almost the same longing they must have in their hearts for the good ole days. Those men and youths who did those things were saintly compared to the mess we have to put up with these days. Male and female ushers and not one of them would dare impede anyone from receiving Communion. Those men I watched back in my childhood and teen years defending the Blessed Sacrament from profanation and sacrilegious communions got weeded out by the liberals and progressives working towards female ordination and open communion. They too bare the sword of sorrow with our Lady. Someday they will be back, but not today. God bless us all with the perseverance of the good widow. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  8. Toad says:

    Sounds utterly revolting to me, Gin-Girl. But, what do I know, etc.

    “They were very aware of persons not of that parish and if you tried to sit down elsewhere, they would fish you out of the crowd and bring you back to your special seats.”
    I’ve never heard, let alone seen, anything remotely like it. Judgemental bigots.
    If it’s true, (and who am I to doubt it) no wonder the Church is on the rocks all over the States.

  9. John says:

    ginneyfree@14.27. Were not those ushers you mention making moral judgments on who should, or who should not, receive the Eucharist ?
    Should there be, then, a sinners’ pew in Church for those judged unworthy ?

  10. johnhenrycn says:

    If you don’t respect and follow the rules and assure others that you intend to, it’s immoral to expect free admittance to the Church, which is not to say that people accepted by the doorkeepers as true members are always blameless and pure.

    Your reminisce (GF) about Catholic life during your pre-Catholic childhood sounds familiar to me. Catholics tended to stand apart. I found this lent them an air of mystery and solemnity, which is sadly being lost in the present age, although not entirely yet, but give Kasper, Cupich, Daneels, Wuerl and their fellow travellers a few more years and (God forbid) controlling influence at the next conclave like they’ve bragged about having at the last one, and the Church will be in grave danger of absorption into the secular mainstream.

  11. JabbaPapa says:

    That is a matter between the communicant and God alone

    No it isn’t — as pointed out BTW by the Bishop of Rouen : Certes l’accès à l’Eucharistie ne doit pas devenir « une réclamation » pour les divorcés remariés, et la communauté paroissiale ne doit pas non plus en faire « un droit », selon Mgr Lebrun.

  12. johnhenrycn says:

    I think it would be a good thing to set aside part of the nave for use by people who’ve not been to confession recently, and for them to be seen as such. It would not be seen as a badge of shame, but rather as one of obedience to the precepts of the Faith. I know that I would view it in that way. I would respect people who set a good example for others by going there.

  13. John says:

    The Scottish Kirk in days gone by brought this to a fine art with their ‘cutty stool’ on which those accused of adultery or fornication were obliged to sit. Robert Burns, the Scottish poet, was several times so obliged.
    Nothing like publicly identifying the sinner, particularly if you are perfect yourself. None of this Mercy nonsense.

  14. ginnyfree says:

    Dear John…………….I’ve always wanted to say that………….forgive my pun at your expense………….you state here: “The Church does not give you personally, or give me, the role of pronouncing on those who should, or should not, receive the Eucharist. That is a matter between the communicant and God alone.” and then asked me this: “Were not those ushers you mention making moral judgments on who should, or who should not, receive the Eucharist ?” In case you haven’t heard of it, all of us are bound to make such moral judgement calls by the Church, all of us. Canon 912 states clearly there are laws that prohibit communion – “Can. 912 Any baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to holy communion.” http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P39.HTM Canon 915 in particular is one such prohibition – “Can. 915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” Ever since Jesus Ascended into Heaven after instructing the Apostles, we have had rules regarding who could and should be admitted to the mysteries and who should and could not be allowed. Non-Baptised individuals come immediately to mind. Those who offered incense to the Ceasar’s image or the statues of the pagan gods to save their lives were considered no longer worthy and forbidden from participating in the Masses in the catacombs. Excommunication is exactly that, a law that forbids one from not only receiving the Eucharist but also from the rest of the mysteries called Sacraments. Those excommunicated have legitimate processes to go through BEFORE they can be re-admitted to the Sacraments. There is much, much more I can say to refute your premise that it is the individual’s themselves who decide whether or not they can receive the Eucharist. That is totally false teaching and has never been a part of the Catholic understanding of what communion is and represents. Only those worthy can readily receive. St. Paul himself is one of the first to defend the integrity of the Eucharist in his letter to the Corinthians, “For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.” 1 Cor. 1:29. Is he wrong? Are our Scriptures in need of some re-visioning? O foolish Galatian. Who has bewitched you? I suggest you read the following from Cardinal Burke regarding this very issue:
    Canon 915: The Discipline Regarding the Denial of Holy Communion to Those Obstinately Persevering in Manifest Grave Sin
    Most Rev. Raymond L. Burke
    Archbishop of St. Louis https://www.ewtn.com/library/CANONLAW/burkcompol.htm

    We are all called to defend the Blessed Sacrament with our lives if necessary. Don’t miss the opportunity for ordinary men to become Saints. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  15. John says:

    johnhenrycn@ 16:16. Not having been to confession recently is not in itself a bar to the worthy reception of the Eucharist; only being in the state of mortal sin constitutes such impediment. Why then segregate persons who simply have not been recently to confession ?

  16. John says:

    ginneyfree@17:00.
    Dear ginneyfree,
    All of your quotations etc are fine but you or I cannot excommunicate anybody or determine whether he or she is in a state of mortal sin or not, the only impediment to receiving the Eucharist worthily. That is the only point.

    No fear that you or I are asked to defend the Blessed Sacrament ‘with our lives’. Life is a bit less dramatic than that.

  17. Toad says:

    CP&S never lets you down, does it?
    When I think that even the usual suspects thereon will find the Ginless Wonder’s account disgusting beyond comprehension, up jumps JH to say what a good idea prod-nosing, judging, and publicly sentencing sinners to opprobrium on an industrial scale is.
    Wonderful.

    But – I’d very much like to know when, and where, it happened. And if the yahoos involved were Irish-American. Because I can’t imagine Catholics from anywhere else in the world being so utterly appalling. Them, yes.
    But what do I.know, etc.

  18. JabbaPapa says:

    Not having been to confession recently is not in itself a bar to the worthy reception of the Eucharist

    Yes it is — Catholics are required to Confess at the very extreme minimum once a year.

    you or I cannot excommunicate anybody or determine whether he or she is in a state of mortal sin or not, the only impediment to receiving the Eucharist worthily

    Adultery is a mortal sin, and those living in a permanent public state of Adultery cannot simply decide from “conscience” that they can validly take Communion — indeed, the Argentine Bishops denounced such actions as being particularly scandalous ; Cardinal Vallini, the Vicar of Rome, explicitly denounced those claiming that Adultery is somehow “compatible” with the Sacraments ; and even this Bishop of Rouen quite unjustly attacked in this article has stated that the divorced-remarried cannot “demand” the Sacraments as a “right”.

  19. JabbaPapa says:

    Toad, the sort of thing that Ginny describes was explicitly denounced by Pope Martin V 600 years ago in his one-paragraph-long Encyclical Ad Evitanda Scandala. Not the refusal of Eucharist when it is so justified by the provisions of Doctrine and the Canon Law, but the public segregation and shaming and refusal of association with those not in a sufficient State of Grace to receive the Sacraments was condemned in the 15th Century.

  20. ginnyfree says:

    Come, come Toadie. Are you asking me to find out or because you don’t believe men in America actually were trained to defend the Blessed Sacrament as Ushers? I cannot imagine what one in man in particular, would do if he had to sit back and watch people just come into a chapel, walk up to the Tabernacle, open it and help themselves to the Blessed Sacrament inside while stuffing their pyxes with the Sacred Breads to take to whomever desires to have home delivery of the Eucharist. I’ve heard it called “Pizza Love,” by some Gen-Xer’s. The Eucharist delivered like pizza. Some of us cannot stand to see these supposedly extraordinary ministers of holy communion on their rather ordinary rounds of delivery. If anyone dared walk up and help themselves to the Blessed Sacrament in 1948 or 1958 or even 1965, the way they do every day today, he’d find himself tackled to the ground and subdued till the cops arrived. Now, either sex can do this without even an eyebrow being raised by some. No, this state of affairs is not going to last and the present will once again become the past. The times change and sadly so do liturgical fashion statements. One such statement no one will miss is liturgical dancing. Any you’d like to see go Toad? I’d be interested to know. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  21. JabbaPapa says:

    people just come into a chapel, walk up to the Tabernacle, open it and help themselves to the Blessed Sacrament inside while stuffing their pyxes with the Sacred Breads to take to whomever desires to have home delivery of the Eucharist. I’ve heard it called “Pizza Love,” by some Gen-Xer’s. The Eucharist delivered like pizza.

    This OTOH is just utterly disgusting Blasphemy and Sacrilege.

  22. John says:

    JabbaPapa.@19.12. Sorry, Catholics are not obliged,that is obliged, to confess at all unless they are in a state of mortal sin. Are you saying that a person with venial sins only must confess at least once yearly ?
    Many do confess venial sins frequently of course but that is not obligatory in canon law.
    My comments about excommunication were in response to ginneyfree who raised this issue. I am simply repeating that neither she nor I can excommunicate anybody and, furthermore, each penitent in confession must himself or herself determine whether he or she has a mortal sin to confess. The penitent accuses himself or herself. Not an outsider.
    The examination of conscience is done by the individual penitent, not by somebody like ginneyfree, or by me, who interpose ourselves between the confessor and penitent. Neither the confessor nor the penitent requires a third party to interpret the penitent’s moral guilt or otherwise.

  23. johnhenrycn says:

    Jack (17:09) says: “Not having been to confession recently is not in itself a bar to the worthy reception of the Eucharist…”

    Thank you so much for that golden nugget, JK. I’d never have known it without your merciful intervention. Fact is though, restraining oneself from taking communion when in a state of doubt concerning one’s worthiness is a commendable, if not necessary, practice; and in further point of fact, there is nothing wrong with abstaining from communion 364 days of the year if one’s honest, humble and good faith concept of the sacrament so urges, unless such urging descends into the sin (?) of scrupulosity.

    Insofar as a special seating area for non-communicants is concerned, this would not be like the “cutty stool” your masonic superstar Burns had to park his rump on (so you say) but rather an area reserved for people (a plural word, don’t you know?) who are unable for conscientious reasons, including but not limited to those who believe themselves to be in a state of mortal sin, can attend Mass and be comfortable knowing they are not alone. Misery, they say, loves company. Such a special area would actually increase their level of comfort, because they would not have proceed out into the aisle so as to permit actual communicants egress out of and subsequent ingress back into their common pew and thus be “centred out” as they say. A person of your perspicacity and sensitivity can probably understand this.

  24. Toad says:

    “Come, come Toadie. Are you asking me to find out or because you don’t believe men in America actually were trained to defend the Blessed Sacrament as Ushers? “

    What do you mean asking you to “find out,” Ginless? You were there, weren’t you? Or so you tell us.
    Just tell me where, when, and whom. Why? Simple curiosity. Don’t be coy, now.

    Then I’ll need to waste no more time on this sordid farce.
    Except that yes, Jabba’s right – it’s redolent of 16th Century Puritanism.

  25. JabbaPapa says:

    Canon Law

    Canon 989 After having reached the age of discretion, each member of the faithful is obliged to confess faithfully his or her grave sins at least once a year.

    Do please stop spreading objective falsehoods that can lead others into objective states of Sacrilege.

    The penitent accuses himself or herself. Not an outsider.

    In fact, the penitent is accused via a properly informed conscience by God.

    Neither the confessor nor the penitent requires a third party to interpret the penitent’s moral guilt or otherwise

    ALL Confession requires the interpretation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament, and is not merely a dialogue between two mortal creatures.

  26. Toad says:

    “..a special seating area for non-communicants…”
    Would be fine, if entirely voluntary.
    But Gin’s noble “ushers” would be herding the sinners in – with curses and the lash.
    Do the wicked rascals the world of good, no doubt, but still…

  27. JabbaPapa says:

    Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2042

    The second precept (“You shall confess your sins at least once a year“) ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.

    You don’t even know the basics of your Duty towards the Church and to God, and instead seek to lecture others to erroneously suggest that “conscience”, which you clearly define according to purely secular notions, is sufficient to determine one’s own “right” to receive Holy Communion. It is a Blasphemous suggestion, contrary to Catholic doctrine and the Canon Law.

    It is intrinsically uncatholic.

  28. John says:

    johnhenrycn@19:57. I am old enough to remember the time,pre Vatican II, when few persons present at Mass went to Holy Communion. In fact Holy Communion was not made available at all to the congregation where I attended at the last Sunday Mass at noon. Now I have noticed for many years that there is a stampede for Holy Communion of virtually everybody at any Mass I attend such that extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist have to be pressed into service

    I do not go to Holy Communion at every Mass I attend and do not care,or feel uncomfortable about, what others may make of that. I doubt if they notice or bother at all. If some feel more worthy than I am, they are welcome to that.I mix freely with communicants at Mass and do not discommode anybody who wishes to pass by me in the pew.

  29. JabbaPapa says:

    I am simply repeating that neither she nor I can excommunicate anybody

    Those simply in an insufficient state of Grace to receive Holy Communion, including the divorced-remarried, are not “excommunicated”.

    The old penalty of minor excommunication was definitively revoked by the Council Fathers at Trent, but it had been de facto revoked a century earlier.

    As Pope Francis pointed out correctly in Amoris Laetitia, the divorced-remarried are not excommunicated ; nor are those not having Confessed for over a year ; nor those having unconfessed grave sins ; etc etc etc

    They still have no valid nor licit access to the Sacraments without sufficient Acts of Confession and Penitence.

  30. JabbaPapa says:

    The old penalty of minor excommunication was definitively revoked by the Council Fathers at Trent

    Sorry no — it was revoked in the 19th Century.

  31. John says:

    JabbaPapa@20:10. Yes indeed the obligation is, as you quote, ‘to confess faithfully his or her grave sins at least once a year’. but whereas you type in bold the words ‘at least once a year’ you should also have also typed in bold the earlier words ‘his or her grave sins’. The obligation to confess does not apply to venial sins. Hence, if there are only venial sins, and no mortal sins, there is no obligation to confess. Many do so of course but it is not a strict obligation according to Church law. That is not an objective falsehood. Had you typed all of 989 in bold, and not the selective words ‘at least once a year’, you would not have fallen into that error. Your argument seems to be that all Catholics have, year by year, mortal sins to confess and hence have an obligation to confess yearly.
    I have never written about a ‘right’ to Holy Communion’ as you claim. It is a privilege.
    It is ginnyfree who introduced the idea of excommunication into this debate,not I.

    Indeed, a penitent’s informed conscience should come from God, as you say, but I say not from the interventions of others who are not in a position to judge.

  32. ginnyfree says:

    Dear John…………….you simply have the wrong name……………….ahem….back to my senses……………You’re changing your tune abit. First time round, you clearly stated that “The Church does not give you personally, or give me, the role of pronouncing on those who should, or should not, receive the Eucharist. That is a matter between the communicant and God alone.” which is not true. I don’t know if you are a cradle catholic. If you were, then you might recall the chatter among the children in the playground while they drew closer to the first holy communion. BEFORE they could receive, they were instructed in how to make a good confession, which sins needed confession and which sins didn’t but if confessed, bore merit to the child so confessing. If you were among those so blessed, then you probably haggled over a few sins with others and ran to class to raise you hand and ask Father if it were mortal to…………………..and fill in the blank with whatever you heard on the playground pervious. Then once home, if you were so blessed to have brothers, sisters, mom and dad plus an aunt or even a grandparent or two under the same roof, not that far fetched a scenario not that long ago, then you had the opportunity for further discussion about the two Sacraments you were preparing for. So, do you really want to pretend no Catholics were ever told there are sins that impede you from worthy reception of Communion or as you got older, in the higher grades in religion class, that you were told the particulars of excommunication? Along with this education you are also entrusted with the task of protecting the Blessed Sacrament in your particular parish from profanation. This may have played itself out when you saw your older brother come home way after curfew, half in the bag Saturday night and knowing Sunday’s Mass was a few hours away, you asked him if he’d go see Father in the morning BEFORE you had to serve the 10 o’clock Mass. And then you added, “I’m sure he’ll hear your Confession,” in anticipation of your brother’s need. No one back then said, “Aw shucks, I’m sure you didn’t meet all three criteria last night in the back seat of the Chevy with Sally, ya know full consent, full knowledge, etc. Why you couldn’t have had full anything ’cause you was trashed! That means you were judgment impaired and don’t’ need to Confess a darn thing!” Yeah. Is that how it went in your house John? How many Catholics have you talked out of Confession lately?

    John, ordinary Catholic education used to include instruction on worthy reception of the Eucharist. Now a days, there is much forgotten that shouldn’t be. Instruction for all those extraordinary ministers of holy communion is supposed to include the instruction on how to handle those who present themselves for communion who are in manifest grave sin as Burke outlines in his paper. Do you suppose Canon 915 is a figment of our imaginations or that it is somehow not really part of our Catholic lives? No, there are valid directives for those who distribute Communion and when they are aware that a person who isn’t worthy presents themselves for the Eucharist, they are to refuse. Please take a minute to think about all the little children that like to accompany their mommies and their daddies up to see Father at the front of the church. These are regularly refused the Eucharist. You certainly aren’t claiming that their individual consciences are making that decision for them and not the mommies and their daddies or the EMHC? So, what is this if it isn’t some of us making a judgment call on the worthiness of individuals to receive the Eucharist. I’m awaiting your answer. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  33. ginnyfree says:

    P.S. Just so ya know, my best friend’s mom sat herself in one of the reserved pews in the back of that parish for years. She was divorced and remarried and so couldn’t receive and she didn’t make a big stink over it, nor did anyone encourage her to just go on up anyway and damn anyone who tried to stop her. In fact, my best friend and her brothers and sisters as they got older sat elsewhere in the church or went to Vigil, etc. at times other than mom as they got older. There were other mom and dads of friends of mine from time to time in the back pews and yeah, they were there so others didn’t have to climb over them to get out of the pews to go up. It wasn’t until some lousy dissidents stuck their noses in places they didn’t belong that this “social injustice” got remedied. Yeah. Just so ya know.

  34. ginnyfree says:

    And another thing…………..why on God’s green earth is there so much energy put into talking people out of Confession these days? Think about it. Please. There was a time when there was a ton of energy put into getting people into the little box for the Sacrament. Now all the energy goes into making sure they don’t confess to a priest. Hello? My personal theory is this: since Protestants don’t believe in the Sacrament, well then………………………………………………………………………………………

  35. johnhenrycn says:

    Giovanni (20:36) says: I do not go to Holy Communion at every Mass I attend and do not care, or feel uncomfortable about, what others may make of that.”

    I do respect that position. Perhaps as a cradle Catholic you’re more comfortable than I at appearing, to some eyes, holier than thou by not joining the herd in their “stampede” to the sanctuary. I do some things which are not in accord with local custom (but nonetheless acceptable) but standing up to let inner pew occupiers pass by and then sitting down again makes me uncomfortable as being the focus of too much attention. Possibly due to my half-Finnish bloodlines. The full Irish are less demure I find. I think, through this exciting exchange with you, I may have found a solution to my anxiety. I shall report back if it turns out to be a satisfactory one.

  36. ginnyfree says:

    Yeah Jabba! You’re onto something here bud. “ALL Confession requires the interpretation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament, and is not merely a dialogue between two mortal creatures.” Used to be that a penitent would bring his or her sins to Father in the confessional and Father would ask a few questions to determine the gravity of the sins committed, whether or not to absolve them with a view to also determining the proper amount of penance to assign and also to see if sufficient contrition was in the penitent. Sometimes those who were unsure about their particular sins would go just to find out if it was mortal or not, God bless em’ for not knowing. They’d leave relieved sometimes. Other times not so lucky. So, what could poor ole John say about that kind of discernment? What about all those priests who could read souls like St. Pio of Petrilcina, or the Cure of Ars, Philip Neri and Don Bosco? There really is a charism that aids priests and religious superiors in identifying sins on souls they are responsible for before God and it isn’t wrong to direct persons in such regard. But according to John’s strict conscience rules, none of this should be happening. Okie dokie. Let’s dig into the stories of the saints for more examples of “judgment” calls made by others regarding worthy reception of the Eucharist. Oh and John, you still haven’t given any rebuttal to St. Paul’s instruction regarding worthy reception in 1 Corinthians. Was that instruction ONLY for the individuals or for the whole community? There is a little wiggle room in it. Go for it. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  37. ginnyfree says:

    This may help you John, “Can. 988 §2. It is recommended to the Christian faithful that they also confess venial sins.” If the Church’s Code of Canon Law is making such a recommendation, why would you discourage it or speak against it in any way? God bless. Ginnyfree.

  38. JabbaPapa says:

    Your argument seems to be that all Catholics have, year by year, mortal sins to confess and hence have an obligation to confess yearly

    a) the Catechism clearly states the obligation to Confess every year, without any qualifiers whatsoever

    b) you wrongfully suggest that all grave sin is mortal sin — mortal sins must be confessed as soon as possible ; grave sin must be confessed in one’s regular Confessions, and at the very least once a year

    c) you are extremely deluded if you think that anyone could live a whole year without committing grave sin after reaching the age of reason, unless they were in a coma or something

  39. John says:

    Ginnyfree @21:31. The childish nonsense you describe in your first paragraph scarcely merits adult comment. I am as well informed as you are about the conditions for mortal sin. Where we differ is that you see a role for outsiders to get personally involved with another’s conscience whereas I do not.
    I am fully aware, and will have had as good an education as you have had, on matters such as the worthy reception of Holy Communion. You must think I only arrived yesterday.
    Those who are in manifest grave sin do not exactly wear badges if they present themselves for Holy Communion and unless there is an ongoing scrutiny of their moral lives, and spies are active in the parish to monitor them, I do not know how credibly they can be identified and refused at the altar rails. People at any one time may or may not be in mortal sin. They may have confessed and been absolved. Would that be your business or mine ?

    It is precisely the refusal of Holy Communion which you say takes place in your Church which would trouble me. Frankly, I have never seen that happen in our church. Are you telling me that people present themselves and are verbally told by the priest or minster of the Eucharist ‘You are not entitled to Communion’ ? I was not aware that that went on. Or is it that such persons simply do not present or ask for Communion ?
    If people present and are (verbally) refused then a moral judgment is being made on them and, candidly, that would shock me.

  40. ginnyfree says:

    So Toad, ya really wanna know. All yer gonna get is this much: Levittown, PA and environs. As for individual names, for-get-it. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  41. John says:

    JabbaPapa.@22:05. At last we have got to the nub of this.You think, but I don’t, that Catholics year on year commit grave sins, not simply venial sins, requiring yearly confession by canon law. That is a very dismal view of the lives of practising Catholics

  42. ginnyfree says:

    John dear, I never once said I could excommunicate anyone. Why would you libel me in such wise? ” am simply repeating that neither she nor I can excommunicate anybody” To twist my words is one thing, but to imply that I’d presented myself as some sort of Bishop with authority to lay sentence on a person is well, libelous. Can you explain that falsehood? It is a major calumny ya know. Since you went there, please show me where I actually said I have the power to excommunicate a person. Truth is you can’t because 1. I didn’t say it; 2. you lied about that; 3 you hoped I’d not see that; 4. that the rest of the folks here would not notice it either; 5. that they wouldn’t care enough about my reputation to speak up about your defamation of me or 6. that it would prove true. I could go on. You stretched it too far in polite company. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  43. John says:

    ginnyfree@22:25.

    Dear ginnyfree .I am afraid you were the first to raise the issue of excommunication @17:00 and to quote Canon 915 wherein it is identified as an impediment to receiving Communion. I have said that neither you nor I could excommunicate anybody, drawing attention to the fact that, like the issue of intervening in the conscience of others, excommunication is not our call.

  44. ginnyfree says:

    Let’s see John, Here’s a good hypothetical: You’re an EM at your parish and Joe Biden presented himself in your Communion line on a Sunday in August after all of this: Posting a photo of the ceremony on Twitter, Biden wrote, “Proud to marry Brian and Joe at my house. Couldn’t be happier, two longtime White House staffers, two great guys.” https://twitter.com/VP/status/760250205191012352/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw and again at http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/vice-president-joe-biden-officiated-wedding-sex-couple/story?id=41058123 Now, you know he is not worthy and has very publically done things that you know remove him from communion with the rest of us, but there he is in your line. Under Canon 915 you are obligated to refuse him. In fact, your own Pastor has told you so when he actually bothered to instruct you before allowing you to distribute communion in his parish. What will you do? Be honest. God bless. Ginnyfree.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/vice-president-joe-biden-officiated-wedding-sex-couple/story?id=41058123

    P.S. He cannot hold this position and remain worthy to receive the Eucharist and those EMs in his parish and elsewhere should refuse him. What would you do?

  45. ginnyfree says:

    Truth is John, to refuse to confess one’s sins is in itself a repudiation of Catholic teaching and practice and is a grave sin. Saying “I won’t go until I’ve committed a sin I think is mortal” is tantamount to refusing the Church’s teaching regarding this Sacrament. That is a mortal sin against faith in both morals and practice. Trying to convince others to do the same is a heretical act, also mortally sinful. There is much more I could say in that regard. It is not smart to work against the Blood of the Lamb that is found in that Sacrament of Mercy. God himself instituted that Sacrament so men could come to Him there and receive his merciful love. Why do you work against that with so many words? Why others don’t see this, I have no idea. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  46. John says:

    ginnyfree@22:45. Sorry to disappoint you ginnyfree but I do go to confession, as is required by Church law, and in fact more often. We have been discussing the obligation to go to confession, a different matter on which you and I, as well as others on this blog, disagree.

  47. John says:

    ginnyfree@22:40
    First do you know that Joe Biden does present for Communion ? Maybe he doesn’t.
    I asked you earlier, because it surprised me, whether in fact people in your church who physically presented for Holy Communion were verbally refused by priest or Minister of the Eucharist with ‘You are not worthy to receive Communion’ or some such words.

  48. johnhenrycn says:

    “I asked you earlier, because it surprised me, whether in fact people in your church who physically presented for Holy Communion were verbally refused [as unworthy]…

    The beloved priest who first invited me to join the Church cautioned me not to take communion until confirmed, and he would have been distressed had I sought to do so. I’m grateful that he impressed upon me the crucial lesson of not partaking unless objectively (not subjectively) worthy.

  49. JabbaPapa says:

    At last we have got to the nub of this.You think, but I don’t, that Catholics year on year commit grave sins, not simply venial sins, requiring yearly confession by canon law. That is a very dismal view of the lives of practising Catholics

    In fact the “nub” of the matter lies in your willful refusal to accept the doctrine explained in CCC 2042 requiring Confession at the very least once a year.

    Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin. (CCC)

    As for “grave sin” it is not a category separate from venial and mortal sin, but it is a comparative term, whereby some sins in their nature or circumstances are more sinful than others. To perform an abortion for the sole purpose of ending the pregnancy is more grievous as a sin than to save a woman’s life in conditions where the ending of her pregnancy is unavoidable in order to do so.

    The requirement to confess your “grave sins” at least once a year is a requirement to confess the worst of your venial sins, according to the principles of graduality intrinsic to the comparative “grave”.

    Mortal sins should of course be confessed as soon as possible.

  50. JabbaPapa says:

    I have said that neither you nor I could excommunicate anybody, drawing attention to the fact that, like the issue of intervening in the conscience of others, excommunication is not our call

    But you have instead completely ignored the fact that the simple objective lack of sufficient Grace to receive Holy Communion is NOT an “excommunication”.

  51. JabbaPapa says:

    Truth is John, to refuse to confess one’s sins is in itself a repudiation of Catholic teaching and practice and is a grave sin. Saying “I won’t go until I’ve committed a sin I think is mortal” is tantamount to refusing the Church’s teaching regarding this Sacrament. That is a mortal sin against faith in both morals and practice. Trying to convince others to do the same is a heretical act, also mortally sinful.

    Quite.

  52. Toad says:

    “So Toad, ya really wanna know. All yer gonna get is this much: Levittown, PA and environs. As for individual names, for-get-it. God bless. Ginnyfree.”

    Thanks, Gin. I’m not surprised. I got to know the Rust Belt quite well.
    A great many sad, mad, God-and-gun-crazed, people there. Trump territory.
    I lived in Toledo, Oh. for 12 years, then moved to Greensburg, Pa. “The Deer Hunter,” country. I imagine the bullying oafs you so lovingly cite were Poles, or Lithuanians, or some sort of Eastern European, originally . I should have thought of that. No matter.

  53. John says:

    JabbaPapa @00:44. I thought we were discussing the circumstances arising when one is obligated to go to confession, not the devotional practice of the many who, although not so obligated, choose to frequently confess their venial sins. I do not advise against frequent confession for those so inclined, daily if that is what they want. None of my business.
    Sorry to take the sting out of your post, but I do in fact go to confession.

  54. ginnyfree says:

    Nope Toad. Most of my neighbors, nearly all in fact, were military. VA benefits to buy first houses. Bought in while it was being built. I was a baby then so I missed the sea of mud that surrounded all the houses till the grass took and the roads were finally paved. Every national origin was represented, Italian, German, Pole, English, etc. but mostly 2nd or third generation. Those fresh off the boat were relatives and not residents. And no neighborhood was from any one place, but most were military, even the women, including my mom. WAC she was. Mostly nurses from the Army though married to their soldiers. All of it was nearly 90% Catholic and well, rather martial in their demeanors and habits. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  55. GC says:

    Quite an insult to eastern Europeans, Toad (though Poles would probably suggest they are not eastern Europeans). Still, why am I not surprised with you?

  56. Toad says:

    Depends on how you view the behaviour in question, GC.
    Gin clearly regards the “Usher’s” attitude as exemplary, and truly Catholic. Maybe you do, too.
    Still, takes all sorts – dunnit?

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