December 08, 2010

Benedict the Pastor

Nowhere in the Pope's Q&A book is the term "mortal sin" used, which I think is interesting. The Church has lessened emphasis on that either/or, saved/not saved, state of grace/state of sin dichotomy. Where it's particularly interesting is how Benedict looks at the case of those remarried and divorced. They cannot receive Communion because, objectively, it would seem they are in a state of mortal sin. And yet Benedict refers to them as being in a "canonically irregular" situation (this is not your father's church) and is very kind, gentle and offers a lot of hope to them and therefore to all of us:
Pastoral care, for its part, has to seek ways of staying close to individuals and of helping them, even in, shall we say, their irregular situation, to believe in Christ as the Savior, to believe in his goodness, because he is always there for them, even though they cannot receive communion. And of helping them to remain in the Church, even though their situation is canonically irregular. Pastoral care has to help them accept that, yes, I do not live up to what I should be as a Christian, but I do not cease to be a Christian, to be loved by Christ, and the more I remain in the Church, the more I am sustained by him.


Fred said...

"it would seem" is the operative term here because the Church doesn't canonize sinners as she canonizes saints. As Para 1650 of the CCC states: "If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God's law."
Objectively, yes, but the marriage is later annulled (or found to have been null). So, the reason for not receiving communion is not mortal sin but being canonically irregular (eat a banana and call me in the morning).

TS said...

Thanks Fred for the explication!