In Pennsylvania's

Saturday, July 29, 2017

"Father Martin’s tweets do raise an important point with regard to other situations of grave sin and the reception of Holy Communion."

On 6/12/17, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois provided his clergy and others with a "Decree Regarding Same Sex 'Marriage' and Related Pastoral Issues."   The Jesuit priest, James Martin, took issue:
"If bishops ban members of same-sex marriages from receiving a Catholic funeral, they also have to be consistent. They must also ban divorced and remarried Catholics who have not received annulments; women who have, or men who father, a child out of wedlock; members of straight couples who are living together before marriage; and anyone using birth control. For those are all against church teaching as well. Moreover, they must ban anyone who does not care for the poor, or care for the environment, and anyone who supports torture, for those are church teachings too. More basically, they must ban people who are not loving, not forgiving and not merciful, for these represent the teachings of Jesus Christ, the most fundamental of all church teachings. To focus only on LGBT people, without a similar focus on the moral and sexual behavior of straight people is, in the words of the Catechism, a 'sign of unjust discrimination' (2358)."

Hmmmm

Does Father Martin have a point?  While certainly NOT Catholic teaching, is there a tendency in Catholic life to focus only on certain types of sexual sin, to give a "free pass" to other types, and to fail to proclaim "Mariage/Family/Sexuality and God's beautiful plan for human happiness"?

Bishop Paprocki Responds (7/9/17)


"....Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest who lives in New York, posted my decree on Twitter....Father Martin gets a lot wrong....

"Father Martin’s tweets do raise an important point with regard to other situations of grave sin and the reception of Holy Communion. He is right that the Church’s teaching does not apply only to people in same-sex marriages. According to canon 916, all those who are 'conscious of grave sin' are not to receive Holy Communion without previous sacramental confession. This is normally not a question of denying Holy Communion, but of people themselves refraining from Holy Communion if they are 'conscious of grave sin.' While no one can know one’s subjective sinfulness before God, the Church can and must teach about the objective realities of grave sin. Speaking objectively, then, one can say the following:

"Those who have sexual relations outside of a valid marriage, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, should not receive Holy Communion unless they repent, go to confession and amend their lives. This includes the divorced and remarried without an annulment. An exception would be where the couple agrees to live as brother and sister, as long as there is no public scandal. Similarly, if there is no public scandal, two men who live chastely with each other as friends or as brother and brother, or two women who live chastely with each other as friends or as sister and sister, may receive Holy Communion if there is no public scandal.

"Those who have had an abortion or have assisted in performing or procuring an abortion should not receive Holy Communion unless they repent, go to confession and amend their lives.

"Those politicians and judges who helped to make same-sex marriage legal and who aid and abet abortion, for example, by voting for taxpayer funding for abortion, should not receive Holy Communion unless they repent, go to confession and amend their lives.

"Those who use artificial contraception should not receive Holy Communion unless they repent, go to confession and amend their lives.

"Those who miss Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, unless it would be impossible due to a grave cause such as serious illness, should not receive Holy Communion unless they repent, go to confession and amend their lives.

"These are just a few examples, but in fact all those who are conscious of any grave sin should not receive Holy Communion unless they repent, go to confession and amend their lives. Those who do receive Holy Communion while conscious of grave sin compound the moral offense by committing the sin of sacrilege.

"My recent decree did not address all these various other situations because they have long been part of Church teaching. The decree was needed to add the novel concept of same-sex 'marriage' to those instances considered to be objectively grave sins.

"The truths of the faith revealed by our Lord in Scripture and Tradition are not always easy to accept, especially in a world that seeks to make all truth subjective. The fact is that some truths are objective and unalterable. Jesus said, 'Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God' (Matthew 5:8). There is no greater happiness than to see God. Saint Paul reminds us that we are all in need of daily conversion in that 'all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).' Let us pray for each other, that each of us may come to an ever deeper understanding of God’s call to discipleship in our lives, the same God who 'wills everyone to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth' (1 Tim. 2: 4).

"May God give us this grace. Amen."

"Father Martin’s tweets do raise an important point with regard to other situations of grave sin and the reception of Holy Communion."

Particularly over this past week, the USCCB called us to "Celebrate and reverence God's vision of human sexuality."  
As the “Pill”/ Sexual Revolution ushered in ready availability of contraceptives and abortifacients, along came astronomically more STDs and rapes/sexual assaults.  While secular society tries to impose an “expanded definition”of marriage (and we witness a growing positive attitude about polygamy), fewer are actually marrying and more are divorcing. While we are barely grasping the devastating impact divorce has on children, society is deliberately setting out to separate children from their biological parents!  And no one seems to be talking about health care costs related to pornography!   
With the past week including both the Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne [Grandparents of Jesus] and the 49th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, did we utilize the opportunity to gain a better appreciation of God's vision?  Our world desperately needs what the Church authentically proclaims about "Mariage/Family/Sexuality and God's beautiful plan for human happiness."

Tomorrow and next week await us!

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