Holy Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics

Holy Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics

Mar 03, 2017

Dear Editor,

I read the article in HERALD: “Broadest interpretation of Amoris Laetitia by German Bishops” (February 16 issue). I fully agree with the German Bishops who believe it is permissible and compassionate to give Holy Communion to divorced Catholics who may be civilly remarried.

I am a Roman Catholic myself. I am single, but I have cousins who were divorced and remarried in civil ceremonies. They are good people. They certainly didn’t remarry just to live some weird celibate life as “brother and sister” with their new spouse. They wanted full conjugal relations, including the marital bed of sexual intercourse. Some have even produced fine children by their new marriages.

The Church, sadly, is trying to turn the world back 500 years to a stern, archaic time. The Church calls withholding Communion, and even excommunication, “medicinal.” It is not. It is hurtful. It is estrangement.

I have seen families where one member may be estranged from the bulk of the family as ostracized, which is the virtual equivalent with the rest of the family being in full communion or full unity. Very seldom does one party “give in” and reconcile with the other group. They simply stay estranged, sometimes, to the grave.

I admire Pope Francis for his compassion. I see his analogy where a man and woman may remarry and one partner may have children by an earlier marriage, and abandoned by the natural birth mother or birth father.

I see his point that this issue should be weighed by Bishops on a case-by-case basis. If the couple lives in good conscience in their new family atmosphere, I say: Let them receive Holy communion. Let us welcome them into our Churches.

We are all sinners in one form or another. Priests and bishops should be thankful that remarried Catholics even want to come back. Seize-the-moment. Greet them with open arms. It may help restore functionality to a previously broken life.

There is no need to ostracize or be punitive. Holy Communion should be given if the person receiving it voluntarily and reverently asks for it. I say: Permit them.

James A. Marples
Longview, Texas, USA

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