Abp. S. Gądecki, Chairman of the Polish Episcopal Conference laid down the gauntlet on Saturday. Obviously Saint John Paul II has not been able to persuade Pope Francis yet, otherwise we would not be having this discussion, nor would enemies of Christ and his Church be promoted to such high offices and given prominence at this Synod. Nevertheless, it looks like St. John Paul II is going with Plan B – the Polish Episcopate to have his voice heard. The resistance to the innovations is holding fast and even building. Unless the Pope wants to risk schism, there will be no change in the Church’s teaching or pastoral practice. The Holy Spirit protects the Church and the Pope from error. Sometimes He does it by means which we are not used to and which we do not expect, but the job gets done in the end. Let this be a teaching moment for all of the papalotrists out there: the Faith comes before the Pope. The Holy Spirit will guard his office from teaching error — even through humiliation if required. And the Pope will be OK with that too…because he’s humble and he accepts the judgement of the Church.
Saturday, October 10, 2015
I wish to stress at the start that this speech is not only my personal opinion, but the opinion of the whole Polish Episcopal Conference.
1. It is obvious, that the Church of our time must — in the spirit of mercy — support the divorced living in repeated civil unions, caring for them with a special love, in order that they do not feel that they are cut off from the Church, when in fact, as baptized persons, they have a duty to take part in the life of the Church.
Let them, therefore, be encouraged to listen to the Word of God, to take part in the Sacrifice of Holy Mass, to persevere in prayer, to support works of charity and common initiatives for justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith as well as nurturing a spirit of and acts of penance, so that in this way, on a day-to-day basis, they can work for God’s grace. Let the Church show itself to be a merciful Mother and in this way strengthen them in faith and hope. (Pope St. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 84)
2. Nevertheless the Church, in teaching about giving Holy Communion to the divorced living in new civil unions, cannot bend to the will of the person, but to the Will of Christ (see Paul VI, “Speech to the Roman Rota,” 28.01.1978; Pope St. John Paul II, “Speech to the Roman Rota,” 23.01.1992, 29.01.1996). The Church cannot allow itself to be sub-ordinate to either feelings of false sentiment towards people or to false, though popular, models of thinking.
To agree that those living more uxorio [“as if they were married”] in nonsacramental unions should be able to receive Holy Communion would be against the Tradition of the Church. Already documents from the earliest synods in Elwira, Arles, Neocezaria, which took place in the years 304–319, confirm the doctrine of the Church, that the divorced living in new unions cannot receive Holy Communion.
The basis of this position is the fact that their state and way of life is objectively a denial against the bonds of love between Christ and the Church, “which is expressed and realized by the Eucharist” (Pope St. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 84; por. 1 Kor 11, 27–29; Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, 29; Francis, Angelus, Aug. 16, 2015).
3. The Eucharist is the sacrament for the baptized, who are in a state of sacramental grace. Permission for people who are not in a state of grace to receive Holy Communion could do immense harm not only in the pastoral ministry for families, but also for the doctrine of the Church about sanctifying grace.
In reality the decision to give them Holy Communion would open the door to this sacrament for everyone living in mortal sin. In consequence this would write off the meaning of the sacrament of penance and distort the meaning of life lived in a state of grace. It is also necessary to stress that the Church cannot accept so-called gradualism of the law. (Pope St. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 34).