DENVER, October 21, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Synod proposal to let civilly divorced and "remarried" Catholics receive Communion undermines the sacrifices of Ss. John Fisher and Thomas More.
That's the point of Denver archbishop Samuel Aquila's latest column, published Monday on his archdiocese's website, titled "Did Thomas More and John Fisher die for nothing?"
Both saints were martyred in 1535 for refusing to recognize King Henry VIII's illegitimate, adulterous "remarriage." Archbishop Aquila notes the striking parallels between the current push for the "Kasper proposal" (Communion for divorced adulterers) and 16th-century English bishops' enabling of King Henry's false annulment.
As with those who advocate for communion for the civilly remarried, the English bishops were uncomfortable with embracing divorce and remarriage outright. Instead, they chose to bend the law to the individual circumstances of the case with which they were confronted, and King Henry VIII was granted an "annulment" — on a fraudulent basis and without the sanction of Rome.
Given the situation in Rome, in which prominent German prelates are clashing with the majority of bishops over whether to give "remarried" Catholics official permission to receive the Eucharist without ever having had their marriage declared null, Abp. Aquila has a reasonable question: "Do the German bishops believe that Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher sacrificed their lives in vain?"
The archbishop accuses the German prelates largely behind the heterodox proposal as advocating "cheap grace" over and above "costly grace." He declares that they "seem to ignore the words of Jesus that 'Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me' (Mk. 8: 34, Lk. 14: 25–27, Jn. 12: 24–26)."
As an example of Christ's relevant message to sinners, Abp. Aquila points to the case of the woman caught in adultery whom the Pharisees took to Jesus. Jesus, the archbishop points out, told the woman to "sin no more" after telling her to go.
The archbishop proceeds to issue a very clear affirmation of the Church's traditional teaching on marriage, divorce and proper reception of the Blessed Sacrament.
Following the words of Christ Himself, the Catholic Church has always taught that divorce and remarriage is simply adultery by another name. And since Communion is reserved to Catholics in the state of grace, those living in an irregular situation are not able participate in that aspect of the life of the Church, though they should always be welcomed within the parish and at the Mass itself.
"On remarriage, and many other issues," Abp. Aquila then notes, "no one would say that the Church's teaching, which is Christ's, is easy. But Christ himself did not compromise on core teachings to keep his disciples from leaving Him."