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Posts Tagged ‘divorced persons’

Following the publication of Amoris Laetitia, the Roman Catholic Church is still it seems divided over the matter of divorced persons receiving Communion, something that was being discussed by Anglican theologians fifty years ago.  So it’s heartening to see a different, positive take on it in, of all places, the letters page of the Catholic Herald (31 March 2017) and from a nun at that.  A Sister Mairead Murphy writes: “Holy Communion is not a reward for the good and faithful, it is food for our journey.  Food and nourishment for all God’s people. So if Pope Francis wants to do some more ‘loosing'[in the spirit of Matt 18:18], to demonstrate God’s love, tenderness and mercy for his people, I say ‘bring it on.'”  Amen to that, Sister.

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Bearing in mind the present row within the Roman Catholic church – for that is what it is – about admitting divorced persons to the sacraments, it is a jolt to come across, in passing, the following quotation from half a century ago:

“It is impossible to escape the impression that, to certain sorts of clergy, the effective exclusion from sacramental communion of divorced persons who have remarried is the highest form of the Church’s moral witness. The cynic might well be tempted to say that the heartless zeal frequently displayed in the bearing of this particular testimony, is a way in which ecclesiastics compensate for their unwillingness to engage with other besetting moral issues of our age, for instance the moral permissibility of nuclear weapons.” D M Mackinnon  Moral objections; in Vidler, Alec  Objections to Christian belief  London: Constable, 1963 p14

I attended Professor Mackinnon’s lectures when I was reading theology at Cambridge in the late 1960s and found them exhilarating.  Seeing a group of straight-backed Jesuits walk out of one of his lectures, on the great I Am statements in the Gospel, is a particular memory.

 

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