(Continuing from where we left off….) The final Relatio of 2014, in art. 52, states:
52. Some synod fathers maintained that divorced and remarried persons or those living together can have fruitful recourse to a spiritual communion.
This really sounds great. Who could be against it? But we must examine the matter more closely. A true spiritual communion involves uniting our hearts to the Lord in the Eucharist. When we rightly receive him sacramentally or bodily, he increases his presence in our hearts by granting us a greater share in sanctifying graces, forgives our venial sins and takes away some of our debt for sins past. Some of these benefits can accrue to us through a spiritual communion, namely, a greater share in sanctifying graces and the indwelling of Christ in our hearts.
But are there any conditions for God dwelling in our hearts? It might sound neat and cool to say, “No! Because God loves us unconditionally.” But the answer would be heresy. It seems that a post refuting Protestantizing heresies is way overdue. Our age of “mercy without law” or “mercy opposed to the law” or “mercy in dialectical tension with law” is precisely a Protestant Heresy. (A future post on that.) Thus, together with a godless, paganizing de-mystificaiton of our religion there is a Protestantization going on. A synthesis of heresies! But a synthesis of dialectically opposed errors does not a truth make! Summarily, God’s presence in me is not a change in God – lest he fail to be God! Rather, it is his opening my heart and mind to him – may he be Blessed and Praised for opening once hardened, and ever-weak, hearts! That “opening” is the faith by which we believe, the hope by which we trust and lean, and the charity by which we cleave with our whole soul to God above All. Hence, if I have not charity, though I have all faith and all the cardinal virtues, I am a noisy gong and a clanging symbol.
Wisdom Flees an Evil Soul! (Wis 1). Where the soul has not charity, God dwells not! He is preparing to dwell in the pilgrim who does not have charity; he is calling such a pilgrim home; but the pilgrim has not yet allowed God to soften his heart of stone. Hence, God as yet dwells not in this heart of stone. So, there most certainly is a condition for the indwelling. That means there is a condition for true spiritual communion. Spiritual communion can take place only when true charity exists in the soul.
But true charity cannot exist in any soul that is committed to mortal sins. Now, those who are living together but not married, or are married but are living with someone not their spouse, are by their very lifestyle committed to commit gravely evil acts. They are so committed with deliberation. Hence, they will these acts to which they commit their lives; thus, these acts are imputable to them (CCC 1736). It is not likely that they are ignorant of God’s law in this matter. Did they forget the “I do” of their youth? Are they riddled with Down’s Syndrome? Are they drugged up constantly? Were they brainwashed? Hardly likely. They may be faint of mind and hazy about the law. This is something to consider and may well constitute the kind of fog of today, a fog that seems to mitigate culpability.
However, another thing to consider, precisely with respect to such a fog, is the First Precept of Natural Law: DO GOOD, SHUN EVIL. That precept is pretty generic. Anyone who wishes to follow through on it will ask himself, “What good must I do? What evil must I shun?” The ignorance one feels within oneself immediately calls for a formation of conscience. One must seek out the True Religion. There are seekers out there who have not yet found. Thus, there are inculpable people out there regarding some of these issues. However, they are probably not many. It seems more likely that many people are not seeking God at all. They are contented with the pleasures and plans of the day. They even shun thoughtfulness. How few were the philosophers in Socrates’s day. How few are those who examine life these days! But the unexamined life is refuse. It is not “inculpable”. Hardly. It is culpable in the very first framework of its liver’s choice: Me!
Hence, most people are quite aware of the law and of what they are doing. Which is why they don’t enjoy the company of John the Baptist.
The result: Those who are living in sin cannot make a spiritual communion. They can assist at Holy Mass in their state of confusion and inner disturbance. Such assistance can assist them if they allow themselves to be disturbed out of their slumber. But what if such assistance were allowed to create a false “equanimity” of self-acceptance of their sin? What if pastors were to tell the person living in an objective state of sin that this state could be a permanent solution, a permanent resting place in his pilgrimage? The person would then be left to remain in his sins! This would not be to shepherd him to happiness, but to leave him in death.
But, “Let the dead bury their dead,” says the Lord, and “He who turns his back is not worthy of me!”
In short, to encourage their assistance at the Holy Sacrifice is not to carve out a long term solution for these people. If it were, it would surely be the spiritual death of them and of those who would attempt to carve out this place of transition as though it were a lasting home. What is required is great pastoral balance with a clear direction. But I fail to see the compass rightly aligned in a consistent manner in this document.