Bishop Michael Sheehan: No Communion For Cohabitating Couples!

Pastoral Care For Couples Who Are Cohabitating

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Cohabitating Relationships Are Not In Accord With The Gospel

Bishop Michael Sheehan-We are all painfully aware that there are many Catholics today who are living in cohabitation. The Church must make it clear to the faithful that these unions are not in accord with the Gospel, and to help Catholics who find themselves in these situations to do whatever they must do to make their lives pleasing to God.

First of all, we ourselves must be firmly rooted in the Gospel teaching that, when it comes to sexual union, there are only two lifestyles acceptable to Jesus Christ for His disciples: a single life of chastity, or the union of man and woman in the Sacrament of Matrimony. There is no “third way” possible for a Christian. The Bible and the Church teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman and opposes same sex unions.

Cohabitating Couples Are Either Ignorant Or Indifferent As To Their Sin

We have three groups of people who are living contrary to the Gospel teaching on marriage: those who cohabit; those who have a merely civil union with no previous marriage; and those who have a civil union who were married before. These people are objectively living in a state of mortal sin and may not receive Holy Communion. They are in great spiritual danger. At the best – and this is, sadly, often the case – they are ignorant of God’s plan for man and woman. At the worst, they are contemptuous of God’s commandments and His sacraments.

Of these three groups, the first two have no real excuse. They should marry in the Church or separate. Often their plea is that they “cannot afford a church wedding” i.e. the external trappings, or that “what difference does a piece of paper make?” – as if a sacramental covenant is nothing more than a piece of paper! Such statements show religious ignorance, or a lack of faith and awareness of the evil of sin.

The third group, those who were married before and married again outside the Church, can seek a marriage annulment and have their marriage blest in the Church. Please remember that divorce still is no reason to refrain from Holy Communion as long as they have not entered into another marriage or sinful relationship. Many Catholics are confused on this point.

Christ our Lord loves all these people and wishes to save them – not by ignoring their sin, or calling evil good, but by repentance and helping them to change their lives in accordance with His teaching. We, as His Church, must do the same. In accord with this, I would remind you of the following:

Pastoral Care Of Those Living In Mortal Sin

1. People in the above three situations cannot receive the Sacraments, with the important exception of those who agree to live chastely (“as brother and sister”) until their situation is regularized. Of course, those in danger of death are presumed to be repentant.

2. These people may not be commissioned as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, not only because of scandal, but even more because one commits the sin of sacrilege by administering a Sacrament in the state of mortal sin.

3. Nor are such people to be admitted to the role of sponsor for Baptism or Confirmation, as is clearly stated on the Archdiocesan Affidavit for a Sponsor. It is critical for the sponsor to be a practicing Catholic – and can anyone be seriously called a practicing Catholic who is not able to receive the sacraments because they are living in sin?

4. When it comes to other parish ministries and organizations, I feel it best to leave these situations to the judgment of the pastor. Prudence is needed, avoiding all occasions of scandal. We must see their involvement in the parish as an opportunity to work urgently to bring such people to repentance and the regularization of their lifestyle.

5. Many of these sins are committed out of ignorance. I ask that our pastors preach on the gravity of sin and its evil consequences, the 6th and 9th Commandments of God, and the sacramental nature and meaning of Christian marriage. Our catechetical programs in our parishes – children, youth, and adult – must clearly and repeatedly teach these truths.  A Church wedding does not require some lavish spectacle and entertainment costing vast sums of money (Indeed, how often we have seen the most costly weddings end in divorce in but a few months or years!). While beauty and joy should surround a Christian wedding, we must remind everyone that it is a sacrament, not a show.

6. Those who are married outside the Church because of a previous union are urged to seek an annulment through our Marriage Tribunal. If it can be found that the first marriage lacked some essential quality for a valid marriage, the Tribunal can grant an annulment. Your pastor can help someone start a marriage case for this purpose. It is important for such couples to continue to pray and get to Mass even though they may not receive Communion, until their marriage can be blest in the Church.

Our popular American culture is often in conflict with the teachings of Jesus and His Church. I urge especially young people to not cohabitate which is sinful, but to marry in the Church and prepare well for it.
I congratulate and thank those thousands of Catholic married couples who role model the Sacrament of Marriage according to the teachings of Jesus and his Church.

Let us pray for this courageous Bishop and for all Bishops and priests to have the courage to address this and other grave evils.

P.S. – Would you do Courageous Priest a favor and share this info with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Email right now? We truly appreciate it. Or leave a comment, we would love to hear what you think.

24 comments to Bishop Michael Sheehan: No Communion For Cohabitating Couples!

  • Lynne Newington

    My earlier comment needs to be upgrade.
    We now have an Australian clergyman, married for twelve months, has broken his silence.
    Not only about being ‘secretly married’, but is prepared to lift the lid and name other members of the clergy leading double lives.
    It’s inconceivable that it wasn’t already known by members of the hierarchy. [Canon Law does allow secret marriages until it becomes known and becomes a potential scandal].
    This is disgraceful, when so many faithful are trying to maintain the laws of the church from the level of the lowest rung of the ladder.
    It is also disgraceful, that clergy who have fathered children, requesting rescripts of their vows refused, to preserve the priesthood.
    There are serious issues facing he church, not just on sex-abuse, but to have these children disconnected and in most instances, the fathers name left blank or entered as ‘unknown’.
    Catholics need to rise up about these inconsistancies, if not as parents themselves, understanding the vulnerability of these children, then as members of the wider community, where we claim the importance of families, and in particular on behalf of all children who need and have a right to their fathers, in accordance to the Convention on the Rights of the child, whether clergyman or not.
    Ref. Paul Smith ofm Australia

  • Lynne Newington

    “There is no ‘third way”; well as a convert I would never have there was either.
    The spurious brother/sister arrangement acceptable at Canon Law is never attainable if the Confessional is the fouth person in the relationship.
    I know for a fact it was offered as a solution to preserve the priesthood sometime ago, the alternative to a Rescript of Vows, unless the Franciscan Order have their own Book of Law of course.

  • Bill

    The long time companion was a man and no husband was listed.

  • Bill

    I just read an obit in an eastern newspaper where a younger woman with two or three children passed away. One of the survivors was listed as a “long time companion”. She was being given a church funeral. Lordie Lordie what is the world coming to. I’m sure Jesus wouldn’t want it this way.

    __________

    Hi Bill,

    Thank you for stopping by again. Can you tell me what you are really getting at here?

    Thanks and God bless you!
    John Quinn

  • Deborah

    Terri,

    You answered your own question.

    In order to receive absolution of our sins worthily, we must first be contrite–really sorry for what we did. Secondly–and this is the age–old teaching from the Church–we must make a “firm purpose of amendment” not to commit that sin again.

    Someone who steals or lies can go to confession and likely receive absolution. But if the intention of that person is to continue to lie and steal afterwards, that kind of invalidates the absolution. God is not fooled. There are people that think they can commit certain sins because they will be going to confession anyway. This is wrong and shows a lack of contrition.

    So, and this is a big question to many of us who have been divorced against our wills–how can priests absolve one of willful divorce unless that person decides to make amends with the spouse he left and with his vows to God? If he doesn’t, there he has no firm purpose of amendment which would make his confession a lie and possibly invalid.

    All sins–except despair of course–with true repentance can be forgiven. It is hard to see repentance for these spouses who just want a free ride, an easy time of it, to appear to be in the good graces of the Church. Then of course, they believe they are single again which is also not true. Divorce does not make one single again so they have no right to date another. If that sounds too hard, it is what the Church teaches.

    I do hopethe Church acknowledges and fixes this problem of absolving divorce.

    Deborah

  • In response to Terrig, Unfortunately we live in a society right now where many of our spouses can/ have gone to clergy and been told that it is not a mortal sin to make that choice to Divorce their spouse. Even when there is no abuse, no adultery, no reason except that maybe they want a “newer younger spouse”, “the existing marriage is too much work”. We need Our Bishops more than ever to lead married couples away from making this huge mistake which has lasting consequences even if they later repent later- by then the children / the community around have “learned by example” that it is OK to abandon/throw away ones long time middle age spouse for no good reason. what is the difference between the “faithful” and the regular aetheists ?
    and to “choose” to commit a mortal sin with the idea that “all sins can be forgiven..?
    well since most of the time these spouses are planning on finding a new sexual partner so either way they end up in mortal sin.

  • I thought all repented sins can be forgiven as long as you don’t do it again. If you divorce (even if it’s your fault) but repent later, confess it, and don’t have a sexual relationship with anyone, you should be able to receive Holy Communion. That’s always be my understanding. I’m not trying to defend divorce but some of you make it seem like it’s an unforgiveable sin.

  • In response to Bishop SHeehans comments that Divorce itself is not a mortal sin_ a reason to not be able to recieve communion:
    Yes it is.
    From the website
    http://www.saintaquinas.com/mortal_sin.html ( on what is mortal sin)
    it states that Divorce between two baptized Christians Is a mortal sin.

    The Sixth Commandment, “You shall not commit adultery”

    Adultery—Adultery is marital infidelity. A married person who has sexual relations with anyone but their lawful spouse, even transient sexual relations, commits adultery (CCC 2380).
    Divorce—The grave sin of divorce condemns those who divorce and remarry (Matthew 5:32) and those who divorce in the civil sense (except by grave dispensation). Hence divorce between two baptized Christians is a mortal sin (CCC 2384).
    Both Natural law, and Cannon Law, and the Bible are very clear on this.
    Please make this clear to the “flock” as many Catholics think they can Divorce their spouses and still be a “good Faithful Catholic” and able to participate in the Sacraments

    _________________

    Hello Christine,

    Thanks for the response.

    I understand his wording is not as clear as we would like it, but when reading the entire article we must not assume that he would disagree with your statements. Re-read his first two paragraphs, he states his foundation there.

    It would have really helped if he would have said willful divorce, but he didn’t.

    Does this help?

    Peace to you,
    John Quinn

  • Deborah

    In response to Clem’s comment, I want to say that he expressed an opinion which has no place when it comes to the tenets of our faith. As I tell others who do the same, God did not invite us to sit at His roundtable where he passed around His ideas and asked for our input, our opinions. He made the rules and that includes the rules for marriage. As with any Church Doctrine, we have the option to accept it or reject it. We cannot change it. To criticize it is to criticize God Himself. A faithful Catholic willingly loves and accepts all Church teaching because they love God fully. The Church does not make these rules on its own.

    As for tough marriages, I believe most can be repaired because “all is possible with God.” What is usually the case is that one or both parties lack the patience, the virtue or the grace through their own fault to be able to resolve problems.Selfishness is one of the key reasons for divorce today. A tough marriage can be to one’s benefit and sanctity. There were many saints who lived through bad marriages and accepted their cross. That may have been the very way they became saints.

    If a marriage truly becomes impossible or dangerous to live out, then the only option is separation. God never promised us happiness in this world and if it ends up that with all efforts, nothing will change, that is also God’s Will. The graces are given to live through it.

    As to the last part of your comment, I hear a hatred for what the Church teaches on marriage which is really a hatred for what God teaches. If God says, marriage is an unbreakable bond until death, that is what we are to accept. When vows are exchanged and marriage is consummated, God binds that couple body and soul. You may separate from one another and even feel hatred for the spouse you willingly married and once loved, but your souls are still bound. The two become one. Something to think about.
    _________

    Well-done, Deborah. Your suffering is bearing much fruit.

    God bless you!
    John

  • Ken Canning

    Minor clarification:
    “Those who are married outside the Church because of a previous union are urged to seek an annulment through our Marriage Tribunal. If it can be found that the first marriage lacked some essential quality for a valid marriage, the Tribunal can grant an annulment. Your pastor can help someone start a marriage case for this purpose. It is important for such couples to continue to pray and get to Mass even though they may not receive Communion, until their marriage can be blest in the Church.”
    My understanding is that the Church teaches the marriage is not “blest” but actually performed. That is, since there can be no valid marriage in the eyes of the Church until an annullment is first granted, and then the actual and valid wedding ceremony is performed.

  • Deborah

    Hi John,

    One has to ask why if Bishop Sheehan clearly describes the other two situations of sin, he does not make himself as clear on the third situation—those who have divorced and re-married.

    It is not so much that I have put words in his mouth, but that he proclaims divorce is not a sin without using the actual words. He leaves it wide open by not clarifying it. That is enough to make any abandoner feel justified and that is tragic. Is this just an oversight when he was very clear about the sin of cohabitation or of those with only a civil union? I have to say no because the experience of many spouses who have been divorced against their will has been to receive nothing but contempt when they ask the Church for help, guidance or clarification. Our Bishops, priests and tribunals show favor to the abandoners, the adulterers, the unfaithful Catholics. They tell us who want to live our faith and carry our crosses to “get over it” or “to move on.” There is a constant insult to our injury. We ask for clarification on Church teaching of divorce—which we already know—and get no response.

    It is generous of you to give him the benefit of the doubt. I can hear in his first two statements that he is strong and maybe my reaction was too strong for his third example, but if what he offered was not heretical, it was certainly dissenting unless he clarifies it.

    The Church cannot rebuild the sacrament of marriage or the family, which they claim is their big effort now, without a constant strong teaching on marital indissolubility. They must be strong in admonishing wayward spouses and encouraging them to stay the course.

    I thank you, John, for your charitable correction and for your prayers. If I am hurting, it is for all of us and it is for our Church, which is becoming unrecognizable.

    God bless you.
    Deborah.

  • Clem

    First of all, I hope Bill is putting us on. He expects ALL couples to verify their marital status at their parish? Can you imagine a mega parish trying to handle that task?

    As to the issue of divorce/annulment, some marriages can not be repaired and to expect people to live in that situation for the rest of their lives is absurd.

    It should be no harder for a person to terminate a marriage( After aggressive attempts to repair said marriage.) than it is for a member of the religious to terminate their vows.

  • What the Bishop should be clear on is that If one is the innocent victim of a spouse abandoning them through separation/ and or Divorce then as long as they have repented from any sin that may have contributed to this- THEY can recieve communion. But the spouse who persists in the immoral actions against Marriage- by choosing to separate for no cannonically approved reason/ for example grave danger to body or soul, IS in a state of Mortal grave sin and as such should not be recieving the sacraments for to do so is to commit sacralidge.

  • Alan

    Here is the full quote from the Bishop: “Please remember that divorce still is no reason to refrain from Holy Communion as long as they have not entered into another marriage or sinful relationship. Many Catholics are confused on this point.” I’m sorry, but anyone hearing this statement would infer that divorce is not a grave sin. Understand, I am not saying the bishop does not think divorce is a grave sin, but this statement certainly would lead any reasonable person to conclude otherwise. In reply to my earlier statement that “divorce is a grave offense and therefore anyone who is guilty of that offense should not be taking communion,” you reply that this “is what the Bishop clearly points out and we all agree to.” But, to the contrary, the bishop does not in any way point this out. If I am wrong and in fact he does, would you please reference his statement to that effect? What he does say is: “We have three groups of people who are living contrary to the Gospel teaching on marriage: those who cohabit; those who have a merely civil union with no previous marriage; and those who have a civil union who were married before.” As you see, he does not even mention those who were married in the Church but have divorced, other than to say that divorce is no reason not to take communion. But being responsible for divorce is in fact a reason not to take communion, as is being responsible for any grave sin.

  • Judy, actually according to the Church teachings, even if BOTH spouses “decide” that they want to Divorce each other- regardless of whether they are out chasing a new partner or not, by the denying, turning away from the sacred commitment they made before God to each other- They are in Grave mortal sin.
    Of course going out to chase a new spouse is only adding to this sin.

  • Judy

    Greg, what that means is, if you get a divorce, when either spouse “wants” one, you are not living in mortal sin unless you enter into another relationship, either through marriage or out of marriage. Pretty simple. I have a friend whose husband left her and wanted an annulment, but she would not agree to that, as it was a true marriage. She has lived a chaste live for many, many years.

  • Alan

    In your “About Courageous Priest” page you say:”don’t forget to leave a comment on the posted articles and let the community know how YOU FEEL on this topic.” However, what matters most is not how we feel, but rather what the Church teaches. Amen! Are you saying my comments reject that? How? In regards to divorce the Church clearly teaches that “divorce is a grave offense against the natural law,” as Deborah points out above. Alan? I agreed with her. That has to be the starting point in any discussion of the status of divorced Catholics. Of course there are qualifications, and there are divorced Catholics who are not responsible for their divorce. But the first teaching is that divorce is a grave offense and therefore anyone who is guilty of that offense should not be taking communion. Which is what the Bishop clearly points out and we all agree to. If, as Bishop Sheehan says, many Catholics are confused about the status of divorced Catholics, it is primarily because Bishops and priests are reluctant to express the full truth of Catholic teaching on divorce. Just because he doesn’t give a reason why Catholics are confused doesn’t give us the right to assume he disagrees with this statement. Perhaps they Are you including the Bishop here? are concerned about how that truth will make some of their people feel. But again, what matters most is not how we feel, but the truth. Based on the article and my comments it is proven that we agree with you.

    Greg, I am sorry for any confusion. If you read my comments, they clearly state I reject the assumptions and generalizations made concerning the Bishop.

    Peace to you Alan. Thank you for being a strong supporter of the Church and Marriage.

  • Susan

    I agree with Greg and Deborah. Bishop Sheehan’s statement is hugely confusing, rather than helpful, and certainly not courageous. Yes, divorce is not a sin for those spouses who have had it foisted upon them, but it is for those who did the foisting!

    Until annulment has been declared, the original spouses are to presume their marriage is valid and be open to reconciliation, regardless of civil divorce. “Brother and sister” living between adulterers is about as realistic as “brother and sister” roommate arrangements now being approved on some college campuses. In other words, NOT realistically occasions of innocence, but near occasions of sin.

  • Greg

    “Thank you” John for your prayers for our family! We will need them at our youngest’s graduation soon!
    A friend [whose name I withhold] can demonstrate “fire vs. sparks” better than I.
    [Here is his reply to Bishop Sheehan’s remarks:]
    “Our Catechism lists the following items under ‘Offenses Against the Dignity of Marriage.’
    1) Adultery; 2) Divorce; 3) Other: Polygamy, Incest, Sexual Abuse of Adults on children, Free Unions (Man and Woman refuse to Give juridical and public form to a liason involving sexual intimacy), Trial Marriages (Intention to get married later.)
    It is strange to me that every one of these ‘offenses against the dignity of marriage’ is a MORTAL SIN, except, according to His Excellency in Santa Fe: ‘Divorce.’ I would like him to explain why?
    Divorce, as defined in the glossary of our Catechism… ‘The claim that the indissoluble marriage bond validly entered into between a man and a woman is broken.’… is ALWAYS a ‘grave offense’ (ccc2384)”

  • Greg

    My three adult children and my A.W.O.L. wife believe that “getting the moderator’s ‘vote’ ” is what love is all about. Failing to get peer acceptance or stepping outside the bounds of what is societally-correct is hell-on-earth.

    Jesus was concerned that His followers learn what hell-for-eternity meant. Knowing their weaknesses, He offered them choices that lifted them above what they were able to choose on their own. Sometimes His mere Presence allowed believers to rise to the heights of their better natures. Such is the task of every disciple who tries to follow in the steps of The Master. Bishop Sheehan tries his best to raise our expectations with his admonishments. He uses unpopular terms like “mortal sin” and denies access to the Sacrament of Holy Communion to certain persons. His words are necessary first steps toward conversion. They are incomplete; they are not final words on the topics he addresses.

    “I came to cast fire upon the earth…” [Lk 12:49]
    How sad that twenty centuries later we still feel the need to affirm someone who aspires to walk in The Masters footsteps MERELY because he creates a FEW SPARKS!”

    ____________

    Hello Greg,

    Thank you so much for posting a comment. We definitely will pray for your family.

    I was wondering if you would clarify what you meant with the last paragraph.

    God Bless,
    John Quinn

  • Hello Deborah,

    Thank you so much for your comments and bringing light to some serious issues that the Bishop did not address. For the sake of time, I hope you don’t mind if I address your points inside this comment.

    The Bishop’s third example is seriously flawed. If all divorced people followed this, many would condemn themselves to hell.
    Bishop Sheehan says:

    “The third group, those who were married before and married again outside the Church, can seek a marriage annulment and have their marriage blest in the Church. ”

    First, let me state that I agree with many, that this statement is by far the weakest statement Bishop Sheehan makes. Maybe it would be better to call this statement his most pastoral. Now, let’s remember to take it in context.

    “we ourselves must be firmly rooted in the Gospel teaching that, when it comes to sexual union, there are only two lifestyles acceptable to Jesus Christ for His disciples: a single life of chastity, or the union of man and woman in the Sacrament of Matrimony. There is no “third way” possible for a Christian.”

    “We are all painfully aware that there are many Catholics today who are living in cohabitation. The Church must make it clear to the faithful that these unions are not in accord with the Gospel,”

    These people are objectively living in a state of mortal sin and may not receive Holy Communion. They are in great spiritual danger. At the best – and this is, sadly, often the case – they are ignorant of God’s plan for man and woman. At the worst, they are contemptuous of God’s commandments and His sacraments.

    These are very clear, courageous and correct statements and lays the foundation of rest of the article.

    With what ease the advice to seek an annulment is given. I agree. I would have loved to have him re-write this statement, especially since he used the word marriage without quotations marks. Like you said, encouraging them to go back to their spouse (within prudent judgement) would have been an appropriate time. Worse, it is already believed the annulment would be granted by advising these adulterous couples to get “their marriage” blessed in the Church. Deborah do you know that this is a judgement. It is not based on his words. It is assumed. Please note his actual words. He said they “can seek.” Is this against the teachings of the Church? One may think his wording is weak, but one cannot put words in his mouth.

    Wanting something more or worded better does not give one the right to dismiss his previous statements.

    Where does he say that an adulterous couple can get “their marriage” blessed in the Church? This is a huge assumption that goes against his own words. “When it comes to sexual union, there are only two lifestyles acceptable to Jesus Christ for His disciples: a single life of chastity, or the union of man and woman in the Sacrament of Matrimony.”

    He says there are “only two lifestyles acceptable.”

    What “marriage” is he referring to, but to the adulterous one, the re-marriage, the sinful, illegal marriage, and the one that has already condemned couples should they die in this state, the marriage that has likely hurt many people including the children of the first and true marriage. Based on his own wording, he agrees with you. Can we say he doesn’t just because he did not put the word marriage in quotation marks? Why is there never advice given to return to the first and true spouse? I agree. I wish he did, but he didn’t. Can we make the assumption that he does not give this advise? Why is there never Never? Isn’t this what the post is about? consideration given for the salvation of souls — To say the Bishop is not doing this is to reject his own words. “These people are objectively living in a state of mortal sin and may not receive Holy Communion.” even it that consideration is in the form of a warning to go back to your first marriage and make it work, to carry your cross? It would have been nice, but he didn’t. Remember, even the Church affirms that this is not always the case. See CCC 2383
    Even our hierarchy has lost the faith in the indissolubility of marriage. Sadly, some have. Can you show me where the Bishop teaches this? Then they poison the faithful with false teachings. What this Bishop says is a false teaching, a different gospel (Galatians 1:6-12). Is the Bishops actual words against the teachings or the assumptions we make and the words we put in his mouth?

    Deborah, why are you grouping this Bishop with other Bishops?

    Do you realize that you are calling this Bishop a heretic? Even if your assumptions are correct, do you understand which serious sins this fall under?

    Cardinal Edward Egan, a former judge of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, a canon lawyer, a teacher of canon law, and one who helped revise the Code of Canon Law in 1983, who is by far one of the top experts on understanding what constitutes validity says this in one of his writings:

    “The vast majority of marriages are valid, the vast majority of people know it, and they know we know it too.”

    –The Nullity of Marriage for Reason of Insanity or Lack of due Discretion of Judgement, Edward Cardinal Egan.

    From the thousands upon thousands of annulments granted in the U.S. in more than 40 years, you would think there was a fire sale still running. Yet, it seems a mere few tribunals understand or even believe the statement above to be true. Or worse, they just totally ignore this truth. Those tribunals and canon lawyers were the ones being addressed in this statement. Why do you think the Bishop would be against these statements?

    Bishop Sheehan continues with this false teaching by stating the following:

    Please remember that divorce still is no reason to refrain from Holy Communion as long as they have not entered into another marriage or sinful relationship. Many Catholics are confused on this point.

    This is not against Church teaching. He said “as long as.” These words must not be ignored. The CCC says, “the separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate.” Yes, he could have been stronger, but he did say “as long as.” Again, take this paragraph with his previous comments.

    He makes no distinction between the innocent victims of divorce, This wasn’t what the article was about. Just because he doesn’t mention it, does that mean we can assume he is against it. of which there are many today because no-fault divorce laws allows one to divorce a spouse (and children) for any reason, and those who maliciously abandon their spouses and children which is clearly a mortal sin. Pope John Paul II makes that very clear in the CCC. How can this bishop make a blanket statement that the “divorced” can receive communion? Is he in allegiance to Rome, to the Pope, to the Magesterium?

    Divorce is a grave (hear mortal) sin. True! And the Church allows acceptions. As long as would be the acceptions he is talking about.” By this, he encourages sacrilegious communions Remember his words,” there are only two acceptable options.” for many by telling them they can receive Holy Communion. They certainly cannot without committing mortal sin upon mortal sin. He says, “Many Catholics are confused on this point.” By this false teaching, he is also confusing those whose souls he has a responsibility for.

    The CCC teaches:

    Article 6 THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT, IV. Offenses Against the Dignity of Marriage

    2382 The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble.173 He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law. 174 Between the baptized, “a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death.” 175

    2383 The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. 176 If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.

    2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery:

    If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery, and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another’s husband to herself.177

    2385 Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.

    2386 It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law.

    There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.178

    It has become common for priests to encourage divorce and annulment. One priest admitted to me that they “are now encouraging those who are divorced and in new relationships to get married civilly which would guarantee them getting an annulment.” Does Bishop Sheehan make these statements?

    This is our Church in almost full apostasy.

    They need to read Pope Leo VIII’s Encyclical Arcanum, Bishop Fulton Sheen’s, Three to Get Married, and The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Yes, we all do.

    God help any marital abandoner who believes the heresy in these statements which is truly a different gospel. I think God still hates divorce, Amen! but you just don’t get that idea anymore from the way things are going.

    St. Paul, pray for us!
    Deborah

    Deborah my heart truly goes out to you. Divorce is a true evil that has obvisiously touched your soul in the most dramatic way. Your zeal is honestly inspiring to me. May Our Lady of Sorrows come to you in special way to heal those hideous wounds. Know that you are in our prayers. Please pray that I may some day have your same zeal for souls.

    I ask you in all charity, not to let the pains of your past produce rash judgments on the Priest striving to follow the narrow road. We can pray for stronger statements and more courageous Priest, but declaring Bishop Sheehan a heretic is gravefuly wrong.

    May God, Who is Rich in Mercy, bless you.
    John Quinn

  • Cudo’s to you Father ! I want to THANK YOU FOR ANSWERING THE CALL TO THE PRIESTHOOD !!! I REALLY DO MEAN THAT !
    I WISH “MORE” Priests and lay people stood up for the RIGHT THINGS! I try to! PAX <3 I X O Y E :))))

  • Most Honorable Bishop Sheehan,

    May the Blessed Trinity guide the words I have been inspired to share with you. Please know that I thank you for your courage, kindness and deep love for our Church. You and all Bishops and Priests that take the time to share their thoughts humble me. My heart beats with joy for you and your fellow Bishops and Priests who bring Light and Hope for all those in Need! May Our Lord Jesus and Our Heavenly Mother Mary take a small part of each one of your hearts and exchange it with a part of their Hearts.

    Let me humbly suggest … might it have been a better and more distinct title: “Cohabitating Sexually Intimate Relationships Are Not In Accord With The Gospel” as opposed to “Cohabitating Relationships Are Not In Accord With The Gospel” since there are those that live together for emotional and or spiritual fortitude?

    I know of a number of people who live together and practice celibacy in order to be closer to God. Some are married … some are not. I was surprised when I leaned about this since it never had occurred to me to think this.

    Yes, there are those that should be encouraged and strengthened and will be by your words and especially by the preaching of the Holy Gospel. May the Holy Spirit descend upon all those who live together and should be married to become married and participate in their Faith according to Church teachings.

    Doesn’t it seem that many of the “Children of God” have fallen into a Great Darkness that has caused their minds, their bodies and their hearts to seek impurity instead of the Grace of Purity? Come Holy Spirit …

    I often ask myself where am I … at this very moment … in helping to carry the cross that our Church has been given. Am I willing to labor in the Sacred Vineyard of Our Beloved Church without seeking any compensation?

    When I enter into a Catholic Church I often pray:

    In Honor of God the Father:
    “Most Holy Trinity, I Adore You! My God, My God, I Love You In The Most Blessed Sacrament*.”
    In Honor of God the Son:
    “Most Holy Trinity, I Adore You! My God, My God, I Love You In The Most Blessed Sacrament*.”
    In Honor of God the Holy Spirit:
    “Most Holy Trinity, I Adore You! My God, My God, I Love You In The Most Blessed Sacrament*.”

    May all the “Children of God” die unto Jesus for the Kingdom of God. May we embrace each cross as precious gifts with the Divine Light of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    I thank you for taking time to awake ALL who dwell in Darkness. Once again the ravenous wolves who have come disguised as sheep devour many of the “Children of God” who have fallen asleep! Thank you for awakening the Flock. May your words lead many souls back to the true Faith so that each soul may be as pleasing before Heaven as it once was during Baptism or after receiving Christ in the Blessed Eucharist in a state of Grace by Confession and Penance.

    Robert Spellman
    http://www.fatimaprayers.com/
    Please pray that our Ministry (of the laity) brings joy to Heaven as we labor to Honor Our Lady of Fatima / Our Lady of the Rosary. Thank you.

  • Bill

    This is a huge moral issue. What needs to happen is that all couples should be required to bring documentation of the their Catholic marriage to their local pastor so he can verify that they are validly married as far as Holy Mother Church is concerned. To make things go more smoothly, perhaps the local pastor could issue special “tags” that could be worn around one’s neck at communion time. Of course, these tags should have photos of the potential communicants.

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