THE SERVANT GENERAL
COMMUNION FOR DIVORCED AND REMARRIED - 14
November 15, 2015
Cardinal Savino gives the various reasons or arguments why
our Church should not allow communion for the divorced and
Father Embraced Prodigal Son Only When He Returned Home
by Cardinal Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino
THE PROPOSAL OF ACCESS TO THE EUCHARIST FOR DIVORCED AND REMARRIED
I refer to the no. 121,122 and 123 of the Instrumentum Laboris
in which is considered the proposal for the acceptance to
the table of the Eucharist - counting on certain conditions
been met, among them a penitential journey - for the divorced
and remarried, but keeping the conjugal life.
We are all driven by the desire to find a better solution
to this painful situation. We must do it with the spirit of
the Good Shepherd and the truth that sets us free. In evangelical
spirit of mercy, I think the penitential journey should conclude
in the conversion and the purpose of amendment and to live
in continence, as taught in other words by Saint John Paul
II in Familiaris Consortio 84.
I wonder: Can we forget the words of the Lord in the Gospel,
Matthew, 19, and the teaching of Saint Paul (Rm 7.2 to 3;
1 Cor 7.10; Eph 5:31) and of the Church over the centuries?
Can we dismiss the teachings of John Paul II in his Exhortation
Familiaris Consortio , 1981? This document, published
a year after the Synod on the Family, 1980, seriously considered
and consulted by the Pope over many months of study and reflection,
in communication with experts from various theological disciplines,
clearly rule out this possibility (FC 84) .
We also have the teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic
Church in 1992 with the traditional doctrine on the conditions
for access to holy communion and the Church's teachings on
sexual morality.* We also have the Charter of the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith of September 14, 1994, written
specifically on this issue? Can we forget the Doc. by the
V Conf. of Latin American and Caribbean Bishops in Aparecida,
which asks us: "Serve with care, prudence and compassionate
love, under the guidelines of the magisterium, couples living
in an irregular situation, bearing in mind that the divorced
and remarried, are not allowed to receive communion "(N.
437 j ).
Can we contradict those teachings? Can we forget the very
recent statement by Pope Benedict XVI in his Apostolic Exhortation
Sacramentum Caritatis in 2007 on the Eucharist, reiterating
the practice of the Church, rooted in Sacred Scripture (cf.
Mk 10: 2-12) of not admitting to the sacraments divorced and
remarried, since their state and their condition of life objectively
contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church
which is signified and made present in the Eucharist. (N.
United to Christ, who has overcome the world (cf. Jn 16:33),
the Church is called to maintain the splendor of truth even
in difficult situations. Mercy invites the sinner and it becomes
forgiveness when one repents and changes one’s life.
The prodigal son was greeted with an embrace from his father
only when he returned home …
This Synod, without a doubt in the light of the revealed truth
and with eyes of mercy, is called to reflect very clearly
the teaching of the Gospel and of the Church through the centuries
about the nature and dignity of Christian marriage, on the
greatness of the Eucharist and on the need of having the necessary
dispositions to be in union with God to be able to receive
Holy Communion; on the need for penance, repentance and the
firm purpose of amendment for the repentant sinner to be able
to receive Divine forgiveness; and the strength and continuity
of both dogmatic and moral truth of the ordinary and extraordinary
Magisterium of the Church. It provides as well lights inspired
by mercy to assist more effectively those in irregular situations
to alleviate their moral suffering and to better live their
Furthermore, the Synod must indicate lines of action that
strengthen marriage, making it more attractive to young people,
and keeping it alive in the hearts of the spouses over time.
In this matter it will provide Pope Francis with very important
elements to promote an intense evangelization of the family,
and a re-appreciation of the sacrament of marriage.
"If the divorced are remarried civilly, they put themselves
in a situation that objectively contradicts God's law . Therefore
they can not receive Holy Communion as long as this situation
persists and for that same reason they can not exercise certain
ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament
of penance can only be granted to those who have repented
for having violated the sign of the covenant and fidelity
to Christ and furthermore commit themselves to living in complete
continence” (CCC 1650) .
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