We are honoured to publish an English translation of the intervention made to the Ordinary Synod by Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, Metropolitan Archbishop of Poznan, President of the Polish Episcopal Conference.
To begin with, I would like to stress that the following presentation does not express only my personal opinion but the opinion of the entire Polish Episcopal Conference.
1. There is no doubt that the Church of our times—in the spirit of mercy—has to help those who are divorced and “remarried” civilly to see (with prompt charity) that they are not separated from the Church but can—and indeed should—participate in her life insofar as they are baptized.
They ought to be exhorted to listen to the Word of God, to frequent the sacrifice of the Mass; to persevere in prayer; to increase their works of charity and initiatives of the community that favor justice; to educate their children in the Christian faith; to cultivate the spirit and the works of penance to so implore, day after day, the grace of God. May the Church demonstrate herself to be a merciful Mother that may sustain them in the Faith and in Hope.
2. The Church, nevertheless, in the teaching regarding the admission of the divorced and civilly “remarried” to Holy Communion cannot bend to the will of man but to the will of Christ. Therefore, the Church cannot let herself be conditioned neither by sentiments of false compassion for people nor by false models of thought, even if they are diffused in the context in which she finds herself.
The admission to Holy Communion of those who continue to cohabit more uxorio without a sacramental bond would be in contrast with the Tradition of the Church. Already the documents of the very first synods of Elvira, Arles, Neocesarea (which took place between 304 and 319) reaffirm the doctrine of the Church not to admit to Eucharistic Communion the divorced and “remarried.”
3. The fundamental reason is that “their state and their condition of life objectively contradict that bond of love between Christ and the Church that is signified and actuated in the Eucharist.” (Familiaris consortio 84)
The Eucharist is the sacrament of the baptized that are in gratia sacramentalis. The admission to Holy Communion of persons who are divorced and civilly “remarried,” i.e. of persons that are not in sacramental grace, could cause much damage not only for that which pertains to the pastoral care of families but also for the doctrine of the Church regarding sanctifying grace.
In fact, such an admission would open the door to all the persons who are in mortal sin to receive Holy Communion; in consequence this would cancel the Sacrament of Penance and would debase the importance of living in sanctifying grace.
Finally, it needs to be reaffirmed that the Church cannot accept the so-called law of graduality or the gradual path. As Pope Francis reminded us, those of us gathered here do not want and do not have any power to change the doctrine of the Church.
Earlier today journalist Sandro Magister published a letter that he reported had been signed by thirteen cardinals. The letter raised serious concerns about the Instrumentum Laboris of the Ordinary Synod and about the procedures by which the synod is being conducted. Shortly after Magister’s article was published four of the cardinals named denied that they had signed the letter.
The existence of a letter was confirmed by one of the named signatories, Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier, but he said that the text that Magister had published was not the text of the letter that he had signed. Cardinal Napier told Crux that he shared the concern expressed in the letter about “the choice of the people that are writing up the final document” and said that he would challenge “Pope Francis’ right to choose that.”
George Cardinal Pell has issued a statement, also confirming that a letter exists, but stating that neither the text, nor the list of signatories published by Magister was accurate.
Cardinal Pell also asserts that the synod fathers are indeed concerned about the composition of the commission that will draw up the final report and about the synodal procedures.
We reproduce his statement in full:
Statement from Spokesperson for Cardinal George Pell
Monday 12 October 2015
A spokesperson for Cardinal Pell said that there is strong agreement in the Synod on most points but obviously there is some disagreement because minority elements want to change the Church’s teachings on the proper dispositions necessary for the reception of Communion.
Obviously there is no possibility of change on this doctrine.
A private letter should remain private but it seems that there are errors in both the content and the list of signatories.
The Cardinal is aware that concerns remain among many of the Synod Fathers about the composition of the drafting committee of the final relatio and about the process by which it will be presented to the Synod fathers and voted upon.
America is reporting that they have learned from “informed sources” that the thirteen cardinals who signed the letter are:
– Carlo Cardinal Caffarra, Archbishop of Bologna
– Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto
– Daniel Cardinal Di Nardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
– Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York
– Willem Cardinal Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht
– Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;
– Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier, Archbishop of Durban, President Delegate of the Synod
– John Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi
– George Cardinal Pell, Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy;
– Norberto Cardinal Rivera Carrera, Archbishop of Mexico City
– Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments;
– Elio Cardinal Sgreccia, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life
– Jorge Cardinal Urosa Savino, Archbishop of Caracas
Voice of the Family is honoured to make available to the public this English translation of the intervention made to the Ordinary Synod by Archbishop Fülöp Kocsis, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archeparchy of Hajdúdorog.
I am focusing my observation on paragraph 8 of chapter 1, but in truth I sense a general deficiency in the text as a whole, the lack of something that should penetrate our vision regarding these themes. For this reason, I could still indicate all of the paragraphs that, analyzing the contemporary situation, speak of a changed society and epoch, calling these difficulties which have appeared in recent times “challenges.”
It appears to me that the text misses a clarification which is more precise from its inception, from the root of these changes: from where do they come? The great part of these are not compatible with the plan of God; they do not come from Him. If it is thus, then it must be said: From where do these changes, these difficulties, derive?
We must say with clarity that in our very spoilt world the family and the man of good will with good intentions is under attack, under a ferocious and enormous attack. And this attack is of the Devil. We must call these diabolic forces which have a role to play with these phenomena by name because this way we can find some indications even for the research of possible solutions.
“Our battle in fact is not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the dominations of the dark world, against the spirits of evil that live in the celestial regions.” (Ephesians 6, 12)
Thus, we can clearly see that in reality a spiritual struggle is required in order to fight the attacks of Satan in these our times. I would very much see with favor a marked emphasis of this spiritual struggle, even in the final part of the document where the proposals and possible solutions must be formulated.
“Take therefore the armor of God, in order that you may resist in the evil day and remain firm after having overcome all of the obstacles.” (Ephesians 6, 12)