Rorate Caeli

Communion for "Remarried Divorcees": "Eucharist Not a Superstitious Rite – Outside State of Grace, Not Only Useless, But Sacrilegious."

Jules-Alexis Muenier
Catechism Lesson (1890)
Musée d'Orsay
"From the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife. And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." And in the house again his disciples asked him concerning the same thing.

And he saith to them: "Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if the wife shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery."

The Gospel according to Saint Mark, x
One of the most startling arguments used in defense of the establishment of a rule allowing for the distribution of the Blessed Sacrament to those who are not in state of grace is that, "the Eucharist is not a prize for good behavior." True. But this does not mean it should be a prize for bad behavior either.

Those validly married who are living with a man or woman who is not their valid spouse are in an adulterous relationship. The determination is from the Lord Himself, and the words of Scripture, presented as well by the Council of Trent, could not be clearer:

Session XXIV, Canon VII - If any one saith, that the Church has erred, in that she hath taught, and doth teach, in accordance with the evangelical and apostolical doctrine, that the bond of matrimony cannot be dissolved on account of the adultery of one of the married parties; and that both, or even the innocent one who gave not occasion to the adultery, cannot contract another marriage, during the life-time of the other; and, that he is guilty of adultery, who, having put away the adulteress, shall take another wife, as also she, who, having put away the adulterer, shall take another husband; let him be anathema.

When directing priests to be careful with not inadvertently "marrying" those who are already married due to failures in parish records, the Fathers of Trent use a most fortunate phrase: "perpetual adultery." We try to avoid the true names of things so as not to hurt people we love, and then we arrive at the current situation. So perhaps it is most useful to remember what "remarried divorcees" are: a couple in perpetual adultery (perpetual in the sense of continuous, not sempiternal; it can be stopped, as any continuous sin).

While the adulterous relationship, which is public, persists and there is the intent to persist in it, penance is impossible, and therefore a priest cannot knowingly grant absolution (which would be invalid anyway) or, since there is a public knowledge of absence of the state of grace, distribute the Blessed Sacrament (which would be perfectly valid, but utterly sacrilegious). This is not pharisaical, as the Modernists imply, but the opposite would be: just handing the Blessed Sacrament as a token of esteem or belonging. What is in Kasper's mind is not concern for the True God and True Man really present in the Sacrament (otherwise he would never venture speak of the possibility of establishing a general rule for sacrilege), but preserving the rich coffers of the German Church by way of the Kirchensteuer, which depend on people identifying themselves every year as "members" of the Church -- something that must bring frustration to those in perpetual adultery. Another not unrelated intent is to bring about the collapse of the entire edifice of Sacramental Dogmatic Theology.

It is the opposite (that is, establishing the rule of Communion to public adulterers) that is the true pharisaical attitude, because then both penance and Eucharistic communion become empty and superstitious practices that do not bring a conversion of the heart and behavior. The words of the Lord, the constant and permanent doctrine and practice of the Church are to be changed because German High Priests wish to have their Pharisees dutifully paying the Fiscus Iudaicus with a "clear conscience" to enrich the German Pagan Temple! The game played by the German Church is a dirty and repulsive one, involving both simony and perpetual adultery, with the Blessed Sacrament as the currency of exchange.  To establish a rule (we are not speaking here of specific cases known to the confessor alone, which do not demand any alteration of the permanent practice of the Church) allowing, against Scripture, Tradition, Fathers, and Councils, the distribution of the Blessed Sacrament to those publicly outside the state of grace is exactly what would transform the Church (or what would remain identifiable as a church) into the refuge of hypocrisy and "Synagogue of Satan"-- which, of course, could never really happen.

No, the function of the Church is not to allow people to sin continuously "with a clear conscience." "Go, and sin each time more!" This superstition is pre-Christian (Pagan) and anti-Christian.

It is said that one of the greatest of all Italian writers, Alessandro Manzoni, is one of Pope Francis' favorite authors, and his I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed), precisely dedicated to the difference between hypocritical and good prelates, and the nature of true Christian Marriage, one of his favorite books. Let us hope the rock-solid words of Manzoni, speaking with the strength of the entire Tradition of the Church on the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist, are heard at the Synod and touch hearts:

An institution [the Sacrament of Penance], then, which obliges men to judge themselves with severity, to measure their dispositions and their actions by the rule of perfection, which gives them the strongest motives to exclude from this judgment all hypocrisy, by teaching them that it is noticed and examined by God himself, is an institution in the highest degree conducive to morality.

How is it that such an institution should have been unknown to so many writers? How is it, that so often there has been attributed to it a spirit so perfectly opposed to its own? It is impossible not to feel a painful sensation, when we read a work that professes a love of truth and perfection, and where the most studied reflections are directed to the eliciting of moral sentiment and through it of religious feeling, to find the following proposition; that Catholicism accords absolution to the mere confession of sins.")

We speak not here of deductions, or of farfetched and complicated influences, but we speak of a fact: any one may learn from any Catholic whether the confession (aveu) of sin alone is sufficient to obtain absolution; every Catholic will answer, no; every Catholic will repeat with the Council of Trent, " If any one denies, that for the entire and perfect remission of sins, three acts are required of the penitent as the matter of the sacrament of penance, namely, contrition, confession, and satisfaction, let him be anathema.* [ Conc Trid. sess. xiv.,can. iv.] Moreover, to receive this sacrament without these dispositions, is a sacrilege and an additional heinous sin. So true it is, that absolution is not necessarily accorded to mere confession, that it is sometimes denied after confession, whilst it is sometimes given without it, as in the case of the dying who are not in a state to make it, but give evidence that they are so disposed.

Let us consider, but for a moment, the spirit of the Church as evinced in her doctrine concerning the sacraments, and we shall see how the whole economy of them is directed to the sanctification of the soul, and how much the Church abhors the substitution of empty practices for the conversion of the heart. The Catholic faith makes a distinction in the sacraments, not less proper than important, calling some sacraments for "the living," that is, for those who are in the state of grace, and others for "the dead," that is, for those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Both are instituted by Jesus Christ, and in order to sanctification; but it is not lawful to approach the former, if we are not in a state of grace, and why? because, according to the Church, the first and indispensable step to every degree of sanctification is to return to God, to love justice, and to hate sin.

There is in man a superstitious tendency, which induces him to confide in mere external forms, and to recur to religious ceremonies in order to stifle remorse, without atoning for the sins he has committed or renouncing his passions: Paganism, I think, exactly accommodated itself to this tendency. But what religion was it that essentially, perpetually, and evidently opposed this disposition? None but the Catholic religion, undoubtedly. As all the sacraments are efficacious means of sanctification, why would it not be lawful to have recourse to them indiscriminately, if the mere performance of acts of worship were allowed to compensate for crimes? What means of sanctification could be easier than that of the Eucharist, which communicates, in reality, the Divine Victim, and unites man to holiness itself? Yet the Church declares it to be, not only useless, but sacrilegious for anyone to receive this sacrament, who is not in a state of grace; He who is the atonement itself, becomes a condemnation in the heart of an evil man. The Church obliges sinners who wish to come to this fountain of grace to pass through those sacraments which reconcile them to God: penance, to which it is not lawful to approach without sorrow for sin, and a resolution to begin a new life, and Baptism, which in those who are come to the use of reason, requires the same dispositions. Could the Church show more plainly that she not only counts as nothing, but that she even refuses to receive external performances, when they are not evidences of a sincere love of virtue?

Whence could an opinion so contrary to the spirit of the Church have originated? I think it has arisen from an equivocal expression. Confession being the most apparent part of the sacrament of penance, it has become a custom to call, improperly, the whole sacrament, confession. But let it be observed, that this inaccuracy in speaking has not corrupted the idea, because the necessity of contrition, confession, and satisfaction, is so universally taught, that it may positively be affirmed, that there is no catechism which does not inculcate it, nor any child admitted to confession who is ignorant of it.
Alessandro Manzoni
Osservazioni sulla Morale Cattolica [A Vindication of Catholic Morality]