[Note: The following is shamelessly borrowed from the excellent JPL Press Agency. If you have yet to bookmark their site and check regularly for updates, now is the time. -RC]
Saturday, 10th October, 2015
|His Eminence Archbishop Gądecki|
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 with a special love, that they do not feel that they are cut away 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. (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; 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 the false - though popular - models of thinking.
To agree that those living more uxorio [as if they were married] in non-sacramental unions, should be able to receive Holy Communion, would be against the Tradition of the Church. Already documents from the earliest Synods in Elvira, Arles, Neocesaria, 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 realised by the Eucharist” (St John Paul II, Familiaris consortio, 84; por. 1 Cor 11:27-29; Benedict XVI, Sacramentum caritatis, 29; Francis, Angelus, 16.08.2015).
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 Saving 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. (St John Paul II, Familiaris consortio, 34).
(Original: JLP Press Agency)