Communion for the Divorced … how would my Lord answer?

I was really shocked to read that Archbishop Gadecki, President of the Polish Episcopal Conference,had stated that they do not support the notion of admitting divorced and remarried Catholics to the Eucharist.”

Yes I know .. this has been one of the most controversial topics at the Synod,  and I know the traditionalists are all out to uphold the existing church teaching, but I just could not believe that they can make statements like the following :

“People can participate in different forms and bear witness to the hardships of family life.” Gadecki added that remarried divorcees had the “right to participate” in the life of the Church without receiving the Eucharist.”

I have a lot of questions on this …if anyone cares to respond :

  • Aren’t we failing to practice the precept to ‘forgive seventy times seven’ the mistakes that people make.
  • Aren’t we at odds with our mission to “set the captives free” – set free those who have been bound by human weakness
  • Does ‘if your eye offends you pluck it out’ have any application to marriages that are a source of un-grace that these the divorced and re-married may have moved away from (in at least some instances)?
  • All these doctrines written on Phylactories appear to be alien to the precept that ‘salvation of souls is the supreme law’. 
  • In trying to uphold the sacrament of marriage, aren’t we guilty of withholding from persons the primordial sacrament, of Jesus in the Eucharist?

I was reminded of a personal reflection some time ago on withholding the Sacrament from children …

How would my Lord Answer?

We say that we are receiving the Body of our Lord.
That we receive his Real Presence at the table of the Eucharist.  
Can someone tell me why then do we exclude little children from the banquet?

I know what the Church teaches …
That we are receiving the Body of Christ;
That children should understand what they are doing …
That they should have respect for “the host”
That they may not understand,
That they may desecrate “it”.
Spit it out.

When Adults with full knowledge
deliberately and maliciously spat on him, He spoke …
“Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”
Would not these words extend to innocence of childhood?
And yet we hold their lack of knowledge against them.

I ask myself are adults any better than children?
Can we really, give due respect to the Body of Christ –
… respect that is worthy of our Lord? 
Are children not more innocent than we are?
Can I ever receive the Blessed Sacrament in a worthy manner?

If I cannot, how can I withhold the Sacrament from the innocent?

I reflect that we feed our children, sometimes force feed them,
food for physical nourishment when they are young.
Even though they may not know what it is they drink or eat
We still ensure that they get their daily diet. 

Why then do we not give them spiritual nourishment
in the same manner …
but wait until we have “prepared” them
to receive the Lord?
Why do we not “share” our Lord with them at the banquet?
Do you know why?

I know many of the answers that I will be given
Church teaching, catechetical instruction,
But I am not convinced and I still ask for explanation.

If my Lord were here in human form right now I know
I would rush with all my nieces and nephews
To place them in His arms
Without waiting till they are prepared to “receive Him”
For IT IS HE WHO RECEIVES THEM !!!  welcomes them, embraces them.

But at the Eucharistic table I “shoo” them away,
For they are not yet “ready”;  they have to be prepared
To receive the Lord “worthily”
When it is really He and only He
Who can make us worthy of Him.

So I ask myself … If my Lord was standing beside me
At the Eucharistic table and I asked him
“Shall I give Thee to these little children?”
What would His answer be?

Today, if my Lord were standing in front of me, I would point to the latest Report on the Synod and ask him again … “My Lord … can we give thee to Divorced and re-married people.”

I think I know how my Lord would react. I think I would see him bend down and write in the sand.

John 8:6

Credit picture : http://www.catholic-artists.org/

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8 thoughts on “Communion for the Divorced … how would my Lord answer?

  1. As Cardinal Reinhard Marx, President of the German Bishops Conference has said Eucharist is “not a prize for the perfect”. People forget that it is Our Lord who consumes us and transforms us – not the other way around! So why not let this happen! We cannot ignore the innocent parties in a marriage who have no option but to accept the civil divorce and move on in their lives. There are many pastorally-minded priests who already give communion to divorced and remarried without questioning – and good on them. Who are we to judge and cast stones?
    Phillip Yance
    y in his book Amazing Grace quotes a prostitute as saying that church is the last place she will seek solace. WE NEED TO CHANGE THAT. In Jesus’ words .”… it is not the healthy who need a doctor.”

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    • Thanks for the ‘not a prize for the perfect’ quote that summarises it all.
      I’ve read Amazing Grace and I think almost all of Yancey’s books. He is an ‘amazing’ evangelical .. we (Catholics) can learn much from 🙂
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  2. Brilliant! As a non Catholic who uses the Bible as my basis,not anyone else’s rules and feelings, I so agree. If Jesus came to a lot of churches today, they’d kick him out….not much has changed!

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    • You are so right. Ironically, it is only followers of Christ who can give Him a bad name !
      I hope renewal comes to the Catholic Church sooner rather than later. Pope Francis is showing us the way forward by teaching through a welcoming presence, a listening heart and a discerning spirit.
      … and there are still the stubborn who oppose this.
      Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a blessed Sunday

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  3. We are all sinners in need of the grace of God. That should be the beginning and end of all tests of whether or not to receive the Eucharist. If you are a sinner and acknowledge it and repent of your sins, if you seek the righteousness that is granted freely through Jesus Christ (Romans 3:23), then you should not only not be barred from the Lord’s Table but be welcomed joyfully!

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  4. Ah Miss Rose, you have indeed come up against 4th Century thinking when rules were codified to justify 4th century thinking. Society’s rules have always used the Bible or synod rules to bolster claims and to justify. People evolve and change; institutions move at a glacial pace.
    You pose good questions.
    Jesus also said love one another; love God. Which is to say when we love God we love the God in each of us and at every age and stage of life.
    J.

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    • I like the way you put it. Indeed the institutional church moves so slowly that visionaries like John XXIII and Francis have a hard time trying to change mindsets.
      The law was changed (in 1983 following the Council).It remains now for peoples’ hearts to be changed. I guess glaciers may thaw faster.than cold hearts 🙂
      Appreciate your comments Janet. TC

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