GOD’S LAW IS UNCHANGEABLE
ARCHBISHOP STANISŁAW GĄDECKI
In the beginning I would like to emphasize that this pronouncement is not my personal opinion, but the opinion of the whole Polish Episcopal Conference.
1. Undoubtedly, in our times the Church must - in the spirit of mercifulness – help divorced people living in other civil relations, caring with particular love that they would not feel separated from the Church, whereas, they can, or even, as the baptized, have a duty to participate in the life of the Church.
So, they should be encouraged to listen to God’s Word, to participate in the sacrifice of the Holy Mass, to maintain in a prayer, to support works of mercifulness and for common initiatives for the sake of justice, bringing up children in Christian faith and to develop the spirit and penitence works, so as to gain God’s grace every day. The Church should be a merciful mother and, in this way, strengthen them in faith and hope (see John Paul II, ‘Familiaris consortio’, 84).
2. However, the Church – in its teaching on giving the Holy Communion to the divorced in other relations – cannot have a lenient attitude towards the man’s will but only towards Christ’s will (see PaulnVI, A Pronouncement to the Roman Rota, 28 January 1978; John Paul II, Pronouncements to the Roman Rota on 23 January 1992, 29 January 1993, 22 January 1996). So, the Church cannot get subordinated to either to setiments of false sympathy towards people, or false – although popular in the world – methods of thinking.
Agree to receiving the Holy Communion by those who, without the sacramental relation, live ‘more uxorio’ (like married couples), would be contradictory with the Church Tradition. Documents already from the earliest synods in Elwira, Arles, Neocezarea, which were held in the years 304-319, confirm the doctrine of the Church, that the divorced living in new relations cannot receive the Eucharist Communion.
The basis of such an attitude is the fact that their state and lifestyle objectively contradict this relation of love between Christ and the Church which is expressed and made realistic by Eucharist’ (John Paul II, ‘Familiaris consortio’, 84; see Cor. 11, 27-29; Benedict XVI ‘Sacramentum caritatis’, 29; Francis, ‘Angelus’, 16 August 2015).
3. Eucharist is a sacrament of the baptized who are in the state of the sacramental grace. Consent that the Holy Communion would be given to people who are not in the state of the sacramental grace, could cause enormous harm not only in pastoral ministry of families, but also in the Church doctrine about the sanctifying grace. For, in fact, the decision about giving the Holy Communion to such people, would open the door to this sacrament to all of those who live in the mortal sin. Whereas, consequently, it would negate the penance sacrament and would distort the significance of life in the state of the sanctifying grace. It should also be emphasized that the Church cannot accept the so-called the gradualness of law (John Paul II, ‘Familiaris consortio’, 34).
As pope Francis reminded it to us, we, present here, do not want and we do not have any authority to change the Church doctrine.