I often like Deacon Greg Kandra blog The Deacon’s Bench with his general link coverage of a lot of what is going on. Though sometimes he can really annoy me. Sometimes I want the blog of The Deacon’s Bench to be benched, though really I just want a little more accuracy.
Case in point today with the headline “New call for divorced and remarried Catholics to be able to receive communion” and his post starting with:
It’s something the pope himself has said needs a closer look.
Immediately my theological spidey-sense when a-tingling. Sorry, but that is just totally mistaken as being connected with that headline. The idea that the Church will ever change the basic premise that those in objectively grave sin can received Communion is just plain ignorant. Before I did any research to check what the Pope has actually said on the subject I forecasted that the Pope was speaking in regards to pastoral considerations in how we deal with this situation, and not about receiving Holy Communion in this state.
Thankfully Canonist Ed Peters did the heavy lifting already on what the Pope has actually said or written and it was as I suspected.
If you are going to make claims such like what Deacon Greg Kandra wrote, he should have made some attempt to back it up. His later update was to an article in the Vatican Insider that had the same sloppiness with no recourse to what the Pope has actually written. As Ed Peters sums up:
But in the meantime, those who claim Benedict XVI as a proponent of formally admitting Catholics in irregular marriages to holy Communion need, I suggest, to parse more carefully what the pope actually said about this matter on various occasions, and to identify more carefully what he actually holds regarding this important question.
The Pope indeed has written on the subject and he wrote in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacrementum Caritatis under “The Eucharist and the indissolubility of marriage”:
29. If the Eucharist expresses the irrevocable nature of God’s love in Christ for his Church, we can then understand why it implies, with regard to the sacrament of Matrimony, that indissolubility to which all true love necessarily aspires. (91) There was good reason for the pastoral attention that the Synod gave to the painful situations experienced by some of the faithful who, having celebrated the sacrament of Matrimony, then divorced and remarried. This represents a complex and troubling pastoral problem, a real scourge for contemporary society, and one which increasingly affects the Catholic community as well. The Church’s pastors, out of love for the truth, are obliged to discern different situations carefully, in order to be able to offer appropriate spiritual guidance to the faithful involved.(92) The Synod of Bishops confirmed the Church’s practice, based on Sacred Scripture (cf. Mk 10:2- 12), of not admitting the divorced and remarried to the sacraments, since their state and their condition of life objectively contradict the loving union of Christ and the Church signified and made present in the Eucharist. Yet the divorced and remarried continue to belong to the Church, which accompanies them with special concern and encourages them to live as fully as possible the Christian life through regular participation at Mass, albeit without receiving communion, listening to the word of God, eucharistic adoration, prayer, participation in the life of the community, honest dialogue with a priest or spiritual director, dedication to the life of charity, works of penance, and commitment to the education of their children.
Sure I realize that blog posts are not intended for theological depths, but they shouldn’t lead you to believe something totally in error. Judging by the 84 comments so far I believe I am not the only one annoyed.
I waded through some comments – obedience isn’t very popular, is it?
Feeling similarly annoyed by an article which suggested Rick Santorum isn’t a good Catholic because he doesn’t support the Pope on climate change! Now, I don’t live in the US, it isn’t ‘my’ politics, but to knock out a decent prolife candidate on such faulty reasoning seemed just plain wrong.