Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A question for Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller

Q: This brings up the relationship between the sacrament of the Eucharist and the sacrament of marriage. How can the relationship between the two sacraments be understood?

A: Eucharistic communion is an expression of a personal and communal relationship with Jesus Christ. Unlike our Protestant brothers and in line with the tradition of the Church, for Catholics this expresses the perfect union between Christology and ecclesiology. So I cannot have a personal relationship with Christ and with his true Body present in the sacrament of the altar and at the same time contradict the same Christ and his mystical Body present in the Church and in the ecclesial communion. Therefore, we can affirm without error that if anyone finds himself in a situation of mortal sin, he cannot and must not receive communion.

This applies not only to the case of the divorced and remarried, but rather to all cases in which there is an objective rupture with what God wants for us. It is by definition the bond that is established among the various sacraments. Because of this we must be on our guard against an immanentist conception of the sacrament of the Eucharist, an understanding founded on an extreme individualism that would make the reception of the sacraments or participation in ecclesial communion dependent upon the individual's needs or tastes.

For some the key to the problem is the desire to communicate sacramentally, as if the mere desire were a right. For many others, communion is simply a way of expressing membership in a community. Of course, the sacrament of the Eucharist cannot be conceived of in a reductive manner as the expression of a right or a communal identity: the Eucharist cannot be a "social feeling"!

It is often suggested that the decision to receive Eucharistic communion should be left to the personal conscience of the divorced and remarried. This argument also expresses a problematic concept of “conscience,” already rejected by the congregation for the doctrine of the Faith in 1994. Before approaching to receive communion, the faithful know they must examine their conscience, something that also obliges them to form it continually and therefore to be impassioned seekers of the truth.

In this unique dynamic, obedience to the magisterium of the Church is not a burden, but rather an aid in discovering the greatly desired truth about the good for oneself and for others.

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