Considering all the brouhaha over the question of pro-abort politicians being admitted to Communion and all subsequent hand-wringing by various bishops on what to do, the answer is simple. Enforce Canon Law #915 which clearly states that obstinate public sinners are to be denied Communion, not out of any meanness but in true charity for these souls which have put themselves in such grave danger. There is really no need for a study group or special commissions or joint statements. Each prelate in his own diocese holds both the power and the responsibility for preventing blatant sacrilege, while also seeing to it that the faithful at large are not unduly scandalized. No, it doesn’t take some special document to fulfill one’s apostolic duties.
One of the issues that seems to be muddying these particular waters, however, is confusion on the part of the laity about the nature of grave sin. Many so called “cafeteria Catholics” have convinced themselves and others that no one should have the right to determine what is objectively sinful. Moral relativism is the flavor of the day among too many Catholic politicians who seem to believe that persons ought to decide for themselves what is sinful and what is not. In this attitude they are confusing two very different things, objective sin and subjective culpability. I am no trained moral theologian, so I need simple illustrations to help me understand the distinction between objective sin and subjective culpability. I therefore imagined some kind of meter with a red line running down the middle marked 100%. Think of that red line as the objective sin boundary. Everything to the left, going from 0 to 99%, is less than grave matter and therefore not sinful (mortally). Everything to the right of the red line, 100% and above, is grave matter which, objectively speaking, represents mortal sin.Continue reading