The Tablet alleges Archbishop-designate Malcolm McMahon supports communion for divorced and re-married

Archbishop-designate Malcolm McMahon

In an interview with The Tablet Archbishop-designate Malcolm McMahon indicates support for admitting divorced and re-married to Holy Communion:

‘Work affecting future generations is also coming later this year with the Synod on Marriage and Family Life in Rome of which Bishop McMahon says he is “expecting great things”. This could include Communion for Catholics who are divorced and remarried, and the archbishop-elect is supportive of Cardinal Walter Kasper’s recent suggestion that those in this situation should be able to apply to be readmitted to the sacraments after a period of atonement. “It’s not a matter of relaxing the rules or making dispensations or special concessions … the project is to explore more deeply the meaning and the use of the Eucharist in the history of the Church, so that more people can be incorporated into it. The result of that may well be Communion for people who are divorced and separated.” (The Tablet 29th March 2014 p. 11).

Cardinal Kasper’s position on communion for divorced and re-married has been heavily criticised by senior cardinals.

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra

“If the Church admits [them] to the Eucharist, she must anyway grant a judgment of legitimacy to the second union. That is logical. But now – as I asked – what to make of the first matrimony? The second, it is said, cannot be a true second matrimony, considering that bigamy goes against the word of the Lord. What about the first one? Is it dissolved? But the Popes have always taught that the power of the Pope does not reach that point: the Pope has no power over a marriage that is ratum et consummatum. The proposed solution leads us to think that the first matrimony remains, but that there is also a second kind of cohabitation that the Church legitimizes. It is, therefore, an extramarital exercise of human sexuality that the Church legitimizes. But with this, the foundational pillar of the Church’s doctrine on sexuality is negated.  At this point, one could ask: so why are not free [extramarital or premarital] unions approved?  And why not relations between homosexuals?” [Excerpt provided by TMNews Italy.]”

http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/

Cardinal Walter Brandmuller

“Neither human nature nor the Commandments nor the Gospel have an expiry date[…] Courage is needed to enunciate the truth even against current customs. Whoever speaks on behalf of the Church must possess courage if he does not want his vocation to be a failure.[…] The desire to obtain approval and applause is a temptation which is always present in the transmission of religious teaching.”

I don’t know if I understood well, but at this moment, about 85% of the Cardinals have expressed opinions apparently contrary to the layout of the report.” He added that among those who did not say anything – therefore could not be classified – he took from their silence that: “I believe they are embarrassed”.

Cardinal Ruini

“When John XXIII gave his opening speech at the Second Vatican Council, he said a pastoral council could be held as fortunately doctrine was accepted peacefully by everyone and there were no controversies; so a pastoral approach could be presented without fear of misunderstandings because doctrine remained very clear. If John XXIII had been right then, God alone knew, but apparently it was true to a large extent. This could absolutely not be said anymore today, because doctrine is not only not shared, but it is contested. It would be a fatal mistake to follow the pastoral approach without referring to doctrine.”

http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/03/very-relevant-exclusive-for-la-stampa.html

Cardinal Müller

Many Catholics “think marriage is just a festive gathering celebrated in church, but the spouses are giving their word, promising to fully live in each other, in body and soul, in faith and in God’s grace. There is no solution, since church dogma isn’t just some theory created by some theologians; it represents the word of Jesus Christ, which is very clear. I cannot change church doctrine.”

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1400809.htm

46 comments to The Tablet alleges Archbishop-designate Malcolm McMahon supports communion for divorced and re-married

  • Lynda

    This bishop-designate simply cannot have the Faith.

  • John Vasc

    Jaw-dropping.

    As for “the meaning and the use of the Eucharist in the history of the Church” – Er…which year, century or period of history is the Bishop thinking of? In all previous ages the Eucharist was taken far, far more seriously and restrictively than in our own. And remarriage has been a sin of adultery pretty much since Christ actually said it was. Explicitly. In the Gospel.

  • JARay

    So, the Archdiocese of Liverpool is to receive a new Archbishop who thinks that people living in sin can somehow be admitted to the Table of the Lord. Is the Church in England about to be unrecognisable from the Church of England? What next? Wimmin priests?

  • Fr Leon Pereira

    Archbishop-designate Malcolm McMahon merely talks about Communion for the “divorced and separated”. The interpretation that this applies to the “divorced and remarried” comes from the Tablet article… not the bishop. Could you please correct your misleading and false headline?

    • Dear Fr Leon – thank you for your comment. I had originally missed out ‘The Tablet alleges’ in the title but corrected this very quickly as I reread my post. The Tablet allegation is as follows: “the archbishop-elect is supportive of Cardinal Walter Kasper’s recent suggestion that those in this situation should be able to apply to be readmitted to the sacraments after a period of atonement.”
      I understand that you are in the same order as Archbishop-designate Malcolm McMahon. If you speak to him and tell me this allegation is false I will very happily correct the post and apologise most sincerely for being misled by the Tablet.

  • “”The result of that may well be Communion for people who are divorced and separated.””

    But NOT “remarried”.

    Surely that, however, is the existing situation?

  • Chrysostom

    Come, come now! We are not going to fall for this old April Fool’s Day joke. Good for a laugh, though – a bishop of the Catholic Church making up his own laws rather than following the clear teaching of the Church for over nearly 2000 years. A bishop of the Catholic Church speaking as if the Church’s laws were not those of God but ones mankind can make. A bishop of the Catholic Church indicating that people can “choose” for themselves,(bishops knowing that the word “heresy” is derived from the Greek word for “choosing”). A bishop of the Catholic Church speculating about what the Holy Father might say, when all bishops (with their empty churches and shortage of priests) are aware of the damage done by speculation about HUMANAE VITAE.

    By the way, have you heard about the Catholic bishop who has said that the Fifth Commandment of the Church has been abolished? No, I can’t expect anyone to believe in that April Fool’s joke.

  • Lionel Andrades

    [moderated comment - please see separate thread on dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus]

  • Nicolas Bellord

    I do not have access to The Tablet but I wonder whether they just drew the conclusion from Bishop McMahon saying he expected “great things” from the Synod that therefore he supported Cardinal Kasper or did he say more?

  • BJC

    Another Bishop who doesn’t know or even seem to understand the simplest points of Catholic doctrine. A teenager doing GCSE Catholic Studies wouldn’t get this wrong and here we have a successor to the Apostles going in print and all but rejecting Catholic teaching. When are our Bishops going to start apologising to the faithful for the hurt and distress they cause to the flock by their banal statements?

  • peter

    But supported, as I understand by many other Cardinals including the chair of the C7 Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga and one of the presidents of the synod Luis Tagle.
    Who knows what will come of the synod but I’m guessing a simpler annulment process.
    peter

  • Dear Mrs. Donnelly

    The forthcoming Synod needs much prayer and penance from orthodox Catholics.

    Cardinal Walter Brandmuller also told Il Foglio magazine last week that the chaos (his choice of word) in the Church over this issue was caused by ignorance of Catholic doctrine amongst bishops and theologians.

    If Archbishop-elect McMahon truly thinks this way, then this is very dire news indeed.

    To be authentic, Conversi ad Dominum has to be more than merely physical – it has to be an external expression of an internal movement of the heart. Whereas, all this undermining of Our Lord’s very words, passed on through the constant teaching of the Magisterium, represents a real and practical ‘turning away from the Lord’.

    If the Tablet have reported the Archbishop-elect’s words accurately then it looks like ‘business as usual’ in the Archdiocese of Liverpool.

    In Christ
    Alan and Angeline

  • Bill

    Is it any wonder that his Lordship has asked Deacon Nick to take a period of reflection? Are we seriously expected to believe that Deacon Nick has no influence on the contributions of his good lady wife? More critically – does the Catholic Church really believe that Holy Communion is a ‘reward’ for ‘good behaviour’?

    • I am not asking you to believe that Deacon Nick has no ‘influence’ on me – he has a huge influence in many aspects of my life and in ways I may not even percieve. Many other things influence me too. People can influence me to love better, to serve God more faithfully and to be a better person. Sadly sometimes people can also influence me to sin. I pray that I may continue to do God’s will, God’s way.

    • Lynda

      Your last sentence bears no relationship to the issues.

    • katherine

      So Bill – we want women to be more prominent in the Church. But when these women are not telling us what we want to hear, it must be because their husbands are doing the thinking…….

  • Bill

    Might also add that Malcolm McMahon is one of the most able and talented of the English hierarchy – a hierarchy that has, for too long, suffered from second rate ‘intellects’.

    • Lynda

      Bishops are only “able” with respect to their duties insofar as they conform themselves fully to the deposit of Faith and morals in the carrying out of their functions.

    • Augustine

      But the most able and talented member is Bishop Philip Egan – the only current member of the hierarchy who has a Doctorate in Theology (which is recommended for all Bishops according to the Code of Canon Law).

      He also clearly has great moral courage – and is faithful to the Deposit of Faith.

      As has been mentioned many times before on this site, the indissolubility of Christian marriage forms part of the Deposit of Faith – based on Our Lord’s teaching in the gospels and reaffirmed by the infallible declaration of the Council of Trent (Session 24, November 11, 1563)

      • “… Bishop Philip Egan – the only current member of the hierarchy who has a Doctorate in Theology (which is recommended for all Bishops according to the Code of Canon Law).” This is simply not true. Can.378§1. “In regard to the suitability of a candidate for the episcopacy, it is required that he is: … 5/ in possession of a doctorate or at least a licentiate in sacred scripture, theology, or canon law from an institute of higher studies approved by the Apostolic See, or at least truly expert in the same disciplines.”

  • SteveD

    From Christian Order February 2003:
    “The June 2001 issue of the diocesan newspaper The Catholic News contained an interview with Bishop McMahon, conducted by members of a youth group from his diocese, one of whom asked: “What do you think of women as priests?” Bishop McMahon replied:

    “Ah, you’ll get me into trouble over this one! I think in other Churches, in other denominations, women have made very good priests and ministers. There is no doubt about that! In the Catholic Church we would want to be sure that this is the will of the Holy Spirit before we ordained women as priests. You see, vocation is a two-way thing. It’s not just the person saying I want to do it, but it is also the Church saying we want you to do it as well. We believe the Holy Spirit speaks through the Church and I agree with that, so I look forward to the day when we will have women priests. But it will not be our decision, we will realise God wants us to have women priests. At the moment we don’t see it like that at all.”

    The bishop effectively thumbs his nose at Pope John Paul II’s definitive and binding declaration (regarded by many leading scholars as having all the hallmarks of infallibility) that women cannot be ordained as priests and that this teaching is final.”

    So, no nothing (unexpected) to see here folks, just the usual ‘progressive’ stuff from one of the usual suspects.

    • Paul Commins

      Going by this answer,we need more second rate intellects,unaffected by Modernism.

    • “(regarded by many leading scholars as having all the hallmarks of infallibility)”. Ah, “believed”! By “leading scholars” no less. So it might very well not be. So how can it be “definitive and binding”? I personally don’t think that it will, indeed can, be changed. Equally, I am quite happy to argue with those who aren’t so sure. And if Archbishop-elect McMahon is one of those, I’ll ca’ canny because he is far better educated in these matters than am I. And you.

      • Augustine

        This is not correct. All loopholes were closed in 1995. There is no wriggle room left.

        Pope John Paul II and the-then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger issued a clarification on October 28, 1995 in response to those who were looking for a loop hole.

        “The Response of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved by John Paul II, clarified the obligatory character of the apostolic letter “Ordinatio sacerdotalis” which presented the decision against the priestly ordination of women. [AAS 87 (1995): 1114].

        QUESTION:
        Is the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the apostolic letter “Ordinatio sacerdotalis” to be held definitively, to be understood as belonging to the deposit of the faith?

        RESPONSE:
        Yes.
        This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.
        Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren [ c.f. Luke 22:32], has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.

        The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved this Reply, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published.

        Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the Feast of the Apostles SS. Simon and Jude, October 28, 1995.

        Joseph Card. Ratzinger
        Prefect

        Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B.
        Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli
        Secretary”

        http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19951028_dubium-ordinatio-sac_en.html

        The fact that it was issued on the Feast of St Jude (the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes) may be a coincidence – or may indicate that someone in the Vatican has a dry sense of humour.

        For some strange reason (probably ecumenical wishful thinking) this clarification was not made well known in England and Wales. But if members of the Catholic hierarchy in England & Wales thought that the Church of England Synod really intended their decision of 11.11.1992 to ordain women to be a provisional “experiment”, they were living in a dream world.

        • I have to admit that I was totally unaware of this Response from the CDF although I was aware of Inter Insigniores, but only because it once came up in conversation with a priest friend who worked in the CDF under Cardinal Seper.(It was issued on October 16, 1976. And, no, I didn’t remember the date off the top of my head I had to look it up and only did so to be helpful if you want to check it. You will find it nowadays on the CDF website.) But the fact remains that SteveD’s comment is wholly unjustified in his own terms. Bishop McMahon was asked something which he perhaps hadn’t anticipated but possibly should have. He answered it frankly and didn’t try to speak down to the young people involved but perhaps didn’t give enough thought to his answer. This was not a forum in which we should seek for opportunities to rebuke and denounce.

  • pattif

    The Church already admits to the sacraments those who are divorced and separated. It is only when people attempt a second marriage in the lifetime of theif existing spouse that a problem arises. So the Archbishop-designate is essentially saying, “No change.”

    • I think the difficultly is in the allegation by the Tablet “the archbishop-elect is supportive of Cardinal Walter Kasper’s recent suggestion that those in this situation should be able to apply to be readmitted to the sacraments after a period of atonement.” Very happy to be corrected though and to be able to say Archbishop-designate Malcolm McMahon does not support communion for divorced and re-married!

    • Lynda

      Divorcing ones spouse would generally involve mortal sin. Marriage is indissoluble. Also, desertion of ones spouse is a mortal sin. If all mortal sins were repented of and none is continuing, then, yes, one is free to receive.

      • Divorcing does not “generally” or any other way involve mortal sin. Else, why so long ago as 1970 did the then Fr but later Cardinal Winning, as he established the Scottish National (Marriage) Tribunal in his interviews with the press, Catholic and secular, as he carefully explained the difference between annulment and divorce explain the sort of situations in which he would advise Catholics to seek a divorce even if an annulment should prove unobtainable? And don’t try to tell me he was wrong. He wasn’t. Indeed, not divorcing might be a sin. For example if ones duty to ones children indicated that divorce was necessary to protect their physical or emotional well-being not to act in their best interests could be sinful.

        • Lynda

          Don’t try changing the unchangeable deposit of Faith regarding marriage and the duty to uphold and sustain it. Marriage is indissoluble, and not just marriage which is also a sacrament, but natural marriage itself, which is the exclusive, permanent union of a a man and woman. Divorce is an attack on marriage and divorce laws are iniquitous. Divorce publicly denies the continuing existence of a marriage. Until the disorientation of recent decades, the episcopate were generally vociferous in leading opposition to the introduction of divorce laws. An acceptance of divorce reveals a secularised, erroneous view of marriage, a contamination by the modernist culture. Marriage is marriage – there is a natural, indissoluble union that has always existed under the natural law. The state has no power to dissolve a valid marriage (as a matter of natural law). Just because states have unmoored the law from the overarching natural law does not change the truth. A state has no powers in this area. In the common law jurisdictions, states who had always recognised marriages solemnised by the Church, introduced statutes stating that marriages solemnised in specific churches were recognised as marriages, provided certain procedural conditions were met. It was only in the latter half of the 20th century that many state laws began to introduce laws that purported to terminate valid marriages as a result of the false rejection of natural law, the contamination of positive law by false ideologies that presumed a state could determine what constituted marriage. As a matter of reason, and as was the jurisprudence of the common law up to recent decades, there is no such thing as a state determining what marriage is, but only recognising it, as it exists under the natural law – the exclusive life-long union between a man and woman. (Physical separation is a different matter which may be justified in certain circumstances.) But divorce is a direct attack on marriage. See 2384, 2385, 2400 of the Catechism.

          • “The state has no power to dissolve a valid marriage (as a matter of natural law).” Alas for you, we live in the real world. And conscious of that fact, Holy Mother Church accepts that even the most devout of Her children may have to seek the civil legal protections which civil consistory laws afford. As I have seen it put, both the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the judges and practitioners at her consistorial courts “tolerate” divorce in such circumstances and, and more importantly, the Church does not deny the Eucharist to either the partner abandoned by the petitioner for divorce or the petitioner acting to secure the civil protections which divorce avails in face of physical, emotional, financial or other abuse of her/him-self and/or the children, or to secure some other valid end.

            “In the common law jurisdictions, states who (were I still a dominie the red pen would have been out here: “which” not “who”) had always recognised marriages solemnised by the Church, introduced statutes stating that marriages solemnised in specific churches were recognised as marriages, provided certain procedural conditions were met.” Can you give me chapter and verse on this? As far as I understand it, and freely do I confess that I am no expert, in many Catholic or formerly Catholic countries, such as France, couples must go through both a civil and a religious service. And by law in France the civil must precede the religious. There is an argument arising from this in light of the recent vote on so-called “same-sex marriage” that would encourage the Scottish Catholic hierarchy to withdraw from any cooperation with the State in relation to marriage and insist that religious marriage services only would be conducted in churches and the priests/permanent deacons would not act as officers of the Registrar for Births, Deaths and Marriages.

            “It was only in the latter half of the 20th century that many state laws began to introduce laws that purported to terminate valid marriages as a result of the false rejection of natural law, the contamination of positive law by false ideologies that presumed a state could determine what constituted marriage.” This is factually inaccurate. Had you stated that this was the case in many, most perhaps even all (I don’t have the time to make a detailed check) then it would be true. But as it stands it isn’t. I would merely cite the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857 which in England and Wales which removed actions for divorce from the Anglican ecclesiastical Court of Arches.

          • Apologies, in the above at the last paragraph it should read: “Had you stated that this was the case in many, most perhaps even all Catholic or formerly Catholic countries…”

          • Lynda

            The Church will “tolerate” what is an objective evil (divorce) in certain circumstances to protect innocents. But divorce is an objective evil. One doesn’t ever tolerate the good. Divorce was extremely restrictive and rare up to the latter half of the 20th century and generally permitted only one party to divorce for adultery on the part of the other.

        • Nicolas Bellord

          But equally there can be occasions when divorcing is sinful. Lynda did say “generally” which surely implies that she accept that there are cases where divorcing is not sinful.

        • Nicolas Bellord

          Hugh: Toleration is not the same as recognising that a civil divorce actually dissolves a marriage.

          France is not a common law country.

          My understanding is that the Ecclesiastical Courts never dealt with divorce but only with such matters as nullity and separation and they acted very much on the same lines as RC Canon Law having inherited it from pre-reformation days. Divorce prior to the MCA 1857 was only possible by Act of Parliament and the MCA 1857 provided divorce in the civil courts for the first time.

          There is the probably apocryphal story of the Town Clerk who inserted the words “The Town Clerk’s marriage is hereby dissolved” in some particular long and obscure local government Act in the hope that nobody would notice!

          • The important point is that by the CDF, the effective authors of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, admitting so publically that civil divorce may in certain circumstances be “tolerated” those who have for serious reasons recourse to it are reassured that they are not separated from the Eucharist.

  • I would be very careful of anything that the Tablet reports. They misrepresented Bishop Drainey very badly on this issue and are obviously not above twisting prelates’ words to fit their agenda. They may well have misquoted Bishop McMahon as the phrase “The result of that may well be Communion for people who are divorced and separated” just does not make sense. People who are divorced or separated can receive Holy Communion already – the current controversy only pertains to those who are divorced and remarried. I can’t imagine he would be referring to people who are separated and living in relationships which are bigamous according to the criminal law as well as Canon Law.

  • John Vasc

    I’m firmly with Mrs Donnelly on this.

    Archbishop-elect McMahon is reported as saying that the ‘result’ of the Synod ‘may well be Communion for the divorced and separated’
    That makes no sense at all. The Bishop knows – as a bishop he must know – that the divorced and separated may already receive Holy Communion under existing Church Law without impediment. The matter is not under discussion. The result of such a statement can only be to cause needless alarm to the divorced and separated.
    The controversy – as the whole world knows – is about those who are divorced and *remarried*. And this is where the Tablet interview causes understandable concern.

    The Tablet’s interviewer claims that the archbishop-elect said that “he is supportive of Cardinal Walter Kasper’s recent suggestion that those in this situation [ie remarried] should be able to apply to be readmitted to the sacraments after a period of atonement”.

    If he expressed support for that opinion of Cardinal Kaspar, that is alarming. As we know, in the recent Consistory meeting the Cardinal received virtually no support from the other Cardinals.

    OTOH, if Archbishop-elect McMahon did *not* express support for Cardinal Kaspar, and was misreported, he should request a very public rectification and apology from The Tablet.

    As a footnote: Most interviews are taped these days.

    • Lynda

      If all mortal sins have been repented of, and are not continuing. For instance, a woman who has left her husband for no permissible reason continues to be in a state of mortal sin until she returns to her husband – whether they were declared divorce by the state or not.

  • Jan

    It seems to me the discussion is not at all about the Eucharist. I hope the Synod will focus, using the words of the bishop, on “the project is to explore more deeply the meaning and the use of the Sacrament of Matrimony in the history of the Church, so that more people can be incorporated into it instead of the Eucharist. That would save many people lots of pain and darkness. Especially the ’99′ of the divorced an cohabitating/remarried that already slipped away from Church life.

  • Nicholas Dyson

    I wondering whether Bishop Mc Mahon’s celebration of the usus antiquior whilst Bishop of Nottingham was just subterfuge after all.

  • John M

    Bill,

    Do you believe that a person needs to be in a state of grace in order to receive Communion?

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