Rome – The Vatican, in response to growing expectations of many Roman Catholics, is likely to consider lifting the Church’s ban on communion for divorcees, a senior cardinal was quoted Saturday as saying.
"It is a delicate issue which the Church will have to discuss, question and confront itself with," Spain’s Cardinal Julian Herranz told Italy’s La Repubblica daily.
The Church will take "into account the expectations, the many social, theological and human nuances linked to such an important issue," the cardinal said.
The paper reported that prior to his election Pope Benedict XVI himself had prepared a draft document on lifting the ban on divorcees receiving communion imposed by the Church, which does not recognize divorce.
As head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger argued that Catholics who were abandoned by their spouses and thus "forced" into divorce were "guiltless" and should not be excluded from the holy sacraments, the newspaper said. [Source]
What complete and utter nonsense that comes under the rubric of reporting. There is no Communion ban on those who are separated from a spouse and are not living as husband or wife with somebody else. The ban now and forever will be for those who have divorced and remarried without first having a declaration of nullity which is a determination that a sacramental marriage had truly never been entered to in the first place.
This is what then Cardinal Ratzinger actually wrote as head of the CDF in response to questions posed.
…Members of the faithful who live together as husband and wife with persons other than their legitimate spouses may not receive Holy Communion. Should they judge it possible to do so, pastors and confessors, given the gravity of the matter and the spiritual good of these persons(10) as well as the common good of the Church, have the serious duty to admonish them that such a judgment of conscience openly contradicts the Church’s teaching(11). Pastors in their teaching must also remind the faithful entrusted to their care of this doctrine.
This does not mean that the Church does not take to heart the situation of these faithful, who moreover are not excluded from ecclesial communion. She is concerned to accompany them pastorally and invite them to share in the life of the Church in the measure that is compatible with the dispositions of divine law, from which the Church has no power to dispense(12). On the other hand, it is necessary to instruct these faithful so that they do not think their participation in the life of the Church is reduced exclusively to the question of the reception of the Eucharist. The faithful are to be helped to deepen their understanding of the value of sharing in the sacrifice of Christ in the Mass, of spiritual communion(13), of prayer, of meditation on the Word of God, and of works of charity and justice(14).
7. The mistaken conviction of a divorced and remarried person that he may receive Holy Communion normally presupposes that personal conscience is considered in the final analysis to be able, on the basis of one’s own convictions(15), to come to a decision about the existence or absence of a previous marriage and the value of the new union. However, such a position is inadmissable(16). Marriage, in fact, because it is both the image of the spousal relationship between Christ and his Church as well as the fundamental core and an important factor in the life of civil society, is essentially a public reality.
8. It is certainly true that a judgment about one’s own dispositions for the reception of Holy Communion must be made by a properly formed moral conscience. But it is equally true that the consent that is the foundation of marriage is not simply a private decision since it creates a specifically ecclesial and social situation for the spouses, both individually and as a couple. Thus the judgment of conscience of one’s own marital situation does not regard only the immediate relationship between man and God, as if one could prescind from the Church’s mediation, that also includes canonical laws binding in conscience. Not to recognise this essential aspect would mean in fact to deny that marriage is a reality of the Church, that is to say, a sacrament.
There is so very little understanding about marriage within the Catholic Church; critics think the Church is making it hard to get married, and they would be right – but not for the reasons they might think. It doesn’t take a theologian to understand it though – it just takes openness of heart, which I will admit may not come easy for those who have experienced divorce. I was married and divorced very quickly when I was younger, a tragic error in judgment. I got counseling and spent time on my own before entering another relationship. I was not Catholic – baptized Lutheran and chronic church hopper. My husband Curt was baptized Catholic but not raised in the faith and considered himself a non-religious libertarian for most of his life. We married in a civil ceremony nearly four years ago. A year later, we found ourselves discussing faith and beginning to investigate the other’s faith heritage. We both found Protestantism seriously wanting but were drawn to Catholicism. Two Easters ago, we started our journey to Rome, and of course very soon realized that my prior marriage would be an impediment. It was a very hard process for me – digging up old bones of the past – but also incredibly healing. We are nearly done with the formalities and have such respect for the Church’s protection of marriage. My husband and I will have our civil marriage convalidated in the church soon, and then we will be able to receive full communion into the church. Those who have been divorced only do themselves a favor by trusting the wisdom of our Catholic faith in this matter – the healing and the new understanding of the sacrament of marriage is what will set the foundation for ’til death do us part’. Not once has anything we have been instructed to do as part of our formation been anything less than beneficial to us, even if we didn’t see it immediately.
It’s just bizarre. While the vast majority of the media paint the pope as Hitler in a zuchetto (or at least Mussolini in a zuchetto), there is this small undercurrent that expects him to allow divorce (at least in a de facto sense) or allow condoms for combatting AIDS. In other words, they think he’ll turn out to be a liberal. The media is whacked.
I only did two sensible things when I was young. The first was that I determined never to date a divorced man, or to do anything that would hinder my coming back into the Church. The second was to marry Cacciaguida and actually come back.
Does this happen to you? Occasionally, when I have a lot on my mind, I’ll have a dream in which I SUDDENLY REMEMBER that I had been married and divorced before I got married to Cacciaguida. Now that’s nerve-wracking.