Sunday, 19 March 2017

Archdiocese of Vancouver holding the faith on Marriage and the Holy Eucharist

With a thanks to my friend at Momentum Veritatis in Vancouver for bringing to my attention, here is a homily given by Father Pablo Santa Marta in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Vancouver and posted on their web page. It follows below.

Can we finally hope that something good is coming out of our Canada? 

The Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories, and Archbishop Terence Prendergast, S.J., of Ottawa have all made it quite clear how Amoris Laetitia is to be understood, and it is this; those married civilly after being divorced from a valid Catholic marriage may not receive Holy Communion. If they choose, for the sake of new children, to live together, they must live in total continence, as "brother and sister." 

Now, we have this beautiful sermon preached in the Cathedral in Vancouver and hosted on its web page. 

There were solid Catholic bishops that led Vancouver and the traditional Mass exists there in diocesan and an FSSP parish. It is not a coincidence.

We will get through this confusion, the LORD will not abandon his people.

Communion, Marriage and Divorce

Who can receive Holy Communion at Mass? None of us are truly worthy of such a great gift but God’s grace makes us worthy and prepares us to receive this sublime gift through which we are united to Christ and find salvation. We are reminded of this reality at Mass when we prepare for Holy Communion and say “Lord I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”
When it comes to the issue of those who are divorced and remarried, some confusion arises. The following paragraphs are an attempt to give some clarity to this delicate matter and to encourage all of us to accompany those who are on the peripheries of the Church.
The Church has always upheld the dignity and vocation of Marriage as a central component of her life: “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament”. (1)
However, there are instances when a couple has to divorce. Reasons may vary but usually it is for the physical and mental wellbeing, of one of the parties. When there are situations of abuse, violence, neglect, etc. separation and even divorce are a necessary step. Those people who are divorced but are not living with another person either in marriage or in cohabitation, can and should receive Holy Communion if they are not is the state of mortal sin.
“I say to you, whoever divorces his wife – unless the
marriage is unlawful – and marries another commits adultery.”
 – Mt. 19, 31 – 32
In this passage, our Lord is debating with the Pharisees on the nature of Marriage. Here Christ reiterates what he mentioned in the fifth chapter of Saint Matthew’s gospel, that divorce and remarriage are a serious sin. When we know we have committed a serious sin, we should not receive Holy Communion.
St. John Paul II in the Apostolic Letter Familiaris Consortio further reminds the faithful of this truth. Those who are divorced and remarried cannot receive Holy Communion. This is because the previous union still exists. Even though civilly it’s no longer there, in the eyes of Church it still exists.
However, those who are divorced and civilly remarried are not outside the Church. The divorced and remarried should be welcomed as an essential: part of the Catholic community. These members of the Church should share in the life of the Church.They can attend Mass, pray, and take part in the activities of the parish. The children born in these situations are central to the life and mission of the Catholic Church and should be brought up in the Faith.In the recent Papal document Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis reiterates the teaching of Christ and of Pope John Paul II: “In no way must the Church desist from proposing the full ideal of marriage, God’s plan in all its grandeur.” (2)
However, what the Holy Father is also encouraging us to do is to have an examination of conscience and to see how we can help those who are on the peripheries, in this case, those who are divorced and civilly remarried. In some cases they feel ostracized and excluded from the life of the Church. The Holy Father is encouraging all of us, but especially priests to “accompany {the divorced and remarried} in helping them to understand their situation according to the teaching of the Church” (3)
In some cases the first marriage bond may have never existed. To this end a canonical investigation of the first marriage by a Church marriage tribunal may be appropriate, which may help to regularize the second civil union. In other cases, when the first marriage was indeed valid, the Church invites the couple in the second civil union to abstain from marital intimacy so that they may receive the sacraments.
In recent days, since the Synod on the Family and the publication of the Papal Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, there has been some added confusion to this matter. There are some who say that the Pope has somehow changed this teaching of Christ, which is not the case. The teachings of Christ cannot be changed or re-interpreted according to the fashions of the time. In a recent interview, Cardinal Muller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says that “For us marriage is the expression of participation in the unity between Christ, the bridegroom, and the Church, his bride. This is not, as some said during the Synod, a simple vague analogy. No! This is the substance of the sacrament, and no power in heaven or on earth, neither an angel, nor the pope, nor a council, nor a law of the bishops, has the faculty to change it.” (4)
In other words, neither the Pope nor a bishop can change the teachings of Christ. The Church has always maintained this practice and teaching reminding us of the sanctity of Marriage and the importance of the Holy Eucharist. St. Paul in the First Letter to the Corinthians reminds us all look into our hearts and to see if we are indeed ready to receive Holy Communion as it’s a grave sin to receive Holy Communion when we are in the state of mortal sin. (5)
The ultimate goal of the Church is to accompany those who are hurting and feel excluded and to bring them back into the fold. To encourage them and to lead them to a worthy reception of the sacraments by which they will come to share in the life of our Saviour.
Fr. Pablo Santa Maria
  1. Catechism of the Catholic Church N. 1601
  2. FRANCIS, Pope, Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, 2016.  N. 307.
  3. Ibid, N. 300
  5. I Cor. 11, 27


Kathleen1031 said...

God bless him. May he not end up in Guam.

Anonymous said...

How the hell can a malicious abandoner remain with their partner in adultery, for the good of their children? What of their abandoned spouse? Their children? Their family? Their friends?

The abandoner should work to heal their real marriage.

If God agrees with this trash, who needs Him. I will spit in His face at my particular Judgment, for I would become, then, greater than my creator, at that moment, and He should serve me, with great joy, unless He is arrogant.

I refuse to believe that God is such an idiot, but if He is, He does not deserve my wonderful soul. It would be far, far, far too God for Him.


Unknown said...

The archdiocese is led by a Basilian. It could be finally found a contemporary CSB who is not tearing down the Church! It's not a traditional Catholic cathedral, but it is close.

TLM said...

There is HOPE in our clergy. There is always HOPE. The only reason, I do believe, that the faithful ones are not all using megaphones is the fear of being decapitated. As the Blessed Mother said: "Those who should speak will fall silent".

Michael Dowd said...

Thanks Vox. It is good to have positive news about the Church nowadays. Let us hope it is an example others will follow.

Peter said...

Who is Fr. Pablo Santa Maria? I live in Seattle, I live in Canada, I'm looking for a priest like this