The Divorced/Remarried, the Real Presence and Holy Communion. A Reflection by Jacobi


“In June 2012, Pope Benedict urged the divorced but remarried, to continue to attend Mass even though they cannot receive absolution and Holy Communion. That is sound Catholicism. The problem, given the now near universal reception of Holy Communion at every Mass, is that anyone not receiving, for whatever reason, “stands out”.

St Pius X called for more frequent reception of Holy Communion at a time when good and practising Catholics, received infrequently. Increased reception was to be achieved through personal holiness, not just routinely adopted, as has happened
Attendance at Communion in the pre-Vatican II days had risen from the time of St Pius X to, circa, 30% (e.g., personal recollection, large city centre parish, main Sunday Mass, 1955). Given the greater emphasis today, that figure should be perhaps circa 45%, but not the typical 98% now seen.

That latter figure is, I think, a measure of disbelief in the Real Presence, not belief.

St Pius would be horrified today to see the near 100% procession to Communion, past rarely used Confessionals, of infrequent Mass attenders, contraceptors, the stubbornly heterodox, some practicing homosexuals, others guilty of any of the seven deadly sins, those who do not believe in the Real Presence – and of course not a few divorced and re-married.
To receive Holy Communion, we are required to be in a State of Grace.

Few priests dare to say that today, because of a profound misunderstanding of the “pastoral” concept which has prevailed since Vatican II, and because most are just simply afraid to speak the Truth.

Now this is critical when we come to the present campaign to allow the divorced and remarried to receive Holy Communion while continuing in a state of Mortal Sin.

If our clergy set out preach clearly and specifically the doctrine of the Real Presence, the need to be properly prepared for Holy Communion, and the reality off Mortal Sin, reception at Mass might fall back to say, 50% – at which point divorced and remarried Catholics, would not particularly stand out.

They could then, along with other sinners, be accepted and supported within the Catholic parish community, while they sorted things out – as was so in the past.”

M Donnelly: Thank you for your reflection Jacobi

17 comments to The Divorced/Remarried, the Real Presence and Holy Communion. A Reflection by Jacobi

  • ParryP

    I note from my own parish that many present themselves for a blessing rather than receive Holy Communion. There is no sign of embarrassment as it is the norm.

    • An Irishman abroad

      Parry P – Your observation accords precisely with my own experience in two very different parishes in the past 13 years.
      Everyone comes up to the altar and there is never any embarrassment for, or curiosity about, the many who ask for a blessing.
      I have occasionally heard the practice being denigrated, most unhelpfully in my view, by liturgical purists.

    • And in many of these cases they and their children are being “blessed” by lay “ministers” who openly say they do not agree with (take your pick: of any number) of Catholic rules, and what do the priests do? Nothing! Even in dioceses with good bishops!

  • Benedict Carter

    St. Thomas Aquinas’ Prayer before Holy Communion

    “I thank You, Lord, Almighty Father, Everlasting God, for having been pleased, through no merit of mine, but of Your great mercy alone, to feed me, a sinner, and Your unworthy servant, with the precious Body and Blood of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that this Holy Communion MAY NOT BE FOR MY JUDGEMENT AND CONDEMNATION, but for my pardon and salvation. Let this Holy Communion be to me an armor of faith and a shield of good will, a cleansing of all vices, and a rooting out of all evil desires. May it increase love and patience, humility and obedience, and all virtues. May it be a firm defense against the evil designs of all my visible and invisible enemies, a perfect quieting of all the desires of soul and body. May this Holy Communion bring about a perfect union with You, the one true God, and at last enable me to reach eternal bliss when You will call me. I pray that You bring me, a sinner, to the indescribable Feast where You, with Your Son and the Holy Spirit, are to Your saints true light, full blessedness, everlasting joy, and perfect happiness. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.”

    • Andrzej

      Now that is the language our soul yearn for!

      • Andrzej

        (actually, what you posted is a prayer for AFTER Holy Communion). Here is the prayer for BEFORE:

        Almighty and Eternal God, behold I come to the sacrament of Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. As one sick I come to the Physician of life; unclean, to the Fountain of mercy; blind, to the Light of eternal splendor; poor and needy to the Lord of heaven and earth. Therefore, I beg of You, through Your infinite mercy and generosity, heal my weakness, wash my uncleanness, give light to my blindness, enrich my poverty, and clothe my nakedness. May I thus receive the Bread of Angels, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, with such reverence and humility, contrition and devotion, purity and faith, purpose and intention, as shall aid my soul’s salvation.

        Grant, I beg of You, that I may receive not only the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Lord, but also its full grace and power. Give me the grace, most merciful God, to receive the Body of your only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, in such a manner that I may deserve to be intimately united with His mystical Body and to be numbered among His members. Most loving Father, grant that I may behold for all eternity face to face Your beloved Son, whom now, on my pilgrimage, I am about to receive under the sacramental veil, who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

    • Lynda

      Thank you for these prayers! Is it possible to get them in a printed booklet that one could bring to Mass?

  • Denis Jackson

    There is no need , surely Benedict C to capitalise ‘Judgement and Condemnation’. The modern , present day Church emphasises healing of the sick, compassion and welcoming sinners.

  • Shaun the Sheep

    The false pastoralism of so many bishops and priests is very cruel.

  • Lynda

    I usually don’t receive if I’m aware of a need to go to confession, even if I haven’t committed a mortal sin since the previous. I try to go to confession often but sometimes It may not be possible for various reasons. One may make a spiritual communion. Also not receiving Our Lord at a number of Masses makes me more determined to get confession sooner and not put it off again and again. We are required to receive a minimum of once a year.

  • Margaret Allain

    I”IF our clergy set out to preach clearly and specifically…………….” – sadly,I know several priests who although doing so with gentleness and example, are often out in the cold, with no real support from their bishops, in fact just the opposite, words like being “pastoral, not excluding anyone”, rather than positively supporting and emphasising the same teaching themselves.

  • Joanne

    Even Protestants and Jews will receive Holy Communion at a funeral Mass when they see everyone else going up. It is infuriating! How do we turn back the tide in the “Who am I to judge” Church?

  • J.R.G.Edwards

    Is it not at least possible that the vastly increased reception of Holy Communion has been facilitated by the relaxation of the very stringent fasting regulations which obtained fifty or sixty years ago?

  • Bernadette

    During my childhood years I had it instilled in me that we cannot receive Holy Communion unless we are in a state of grace. I learned this in school by the teachers and nuns, and at Mass by the priest. The priest did not hesitate to get up in the pulpit and spell it out in words whether we liked it or not. Today, we don’t seem to get guidance on the rights and wrongs, we get homilies, pleasant homilies that cannot offend. Thank you God for the priests and nuns of my childhood.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>