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Dear Father,

I am very uncomfortable after reading that it is mandatory to receive Communion at Easter: I am only civilly married to a divorced man, we have twin children and we try to raise them as a parental couple: the Church has always denied me the absolution; after the publication of AL some priests would grant it to me, others would not and among the deniers I quote the excellent Msgr. of the Duomo of …, the Rector of the Cathedral, not a priest who hasn’t understood anything …

Among those in favor, however, the monsignor who confesses in the confessional next to his, whose name I forgot:  of course, all it takes is to t change the door to change the fate!

I attend Mass, I pray and I volunteer at a canteen for the indigent, thus believing that I am going through a little of that “via caritatis” so much recommended to those who cannot receive Communion.

What do I have to do though?

When the priests don’t even agree on whether I can be absolved or not?

And then, with all due respect, but when did Jesus ever say that receiving Communion is “an obligation”?

The Magisterium says it, but it is not infallible, if it were so, the Popes would never apologize for the mistakes made, and today it is also divided in itself, as you too can easily verify.

In summary, I ask you: which sin is more grave : to receive communion after a confession made without the intention of interrupting sexual relations with my husband, by a “wide-sleeved” priest or to abstain from communion at Easter? I believe the first, but correct me, please, if I’m wrong.

Sure of your comfort, I thank you in advance,


Response from the priest


1. I come immediately to the main question you formulated like this: with due respect, but when did Jesus ever say that receiving Communion is “an obligation”? Well, Jesus said: “In truth, in truth I tell you: if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and do not drink his blood, you will not have life in you “(Jn 6:53). And after instituting the Eucharist at the Last Supper he said:” Do this in remembrance of me “. “Do this”, that is, do what I did. That is, you will say: “This is my body”… and then you will consume it.

2. Before even going into the intrinsic motivations of this command I wish to note the premise with which the Lord introduces the affirmation: “Truly , truly , I say to you.” It is a Hebrew way of expressing to say that it is a great affirmation, like that of an oath. When the expression is doubled, as in our case, it means that we are faced with a solemn oath.

3. It must also be said that it is not an arbitrary obligation, but intrinsic to the Christian life itself. It is obligatory in the same way that it is obligatory feeding ourselves to live and to grow.

4. To understand this necessity, we must keep in mind the objective of the Christian life, which is not simply the good life or being in good standing with certain norms, but the sanctification, that is, to become fully involved in the supernatural life of God. 

In the Baptism, such participation is given to us as a germ. In order to grow, this germ needs nourishment and a supernatural, divine nourishment, which is mainly constituted by the Eucharist. Jesus said: “I am the bread of life” (Jn 6:48)

Without this food one can only fail along the way (Mt 15: 32).

5. But eating Christ is not like eating any other food. Because whoever receives Jesus does not transform him into himself, as he does with other foods which transforms them into his own flesh, but is changed into Christ.

He heard it said in the form of the phrase St. Augustine when he understood these precise words: “I am the food of grown-ups: grow up and you will eat of me; however, it will not be you who will transform me into you, but I will be the one who will transform you into me ”(Confessions, I, 7, 16).

6. St Leo the Great, pope, expressed himself on the same line: “The participation of the body and blood of Christ does nothing but change us into what we take”. This affirmation is reported by the Second Vatican Council in Lumen gentium, 26). Likewise also St. Thomas: “The proper effect of the Eucharist is the transformation of man into God” (IV Sent., 12, 12, 1, ad 1), which also says that “by virtue of this sacrament a certain transformation of man into Christ takes place through charity: and this is the proper effect of the sacrament” (IV Sent., 12, 12, 2) .

7. In reality, this is exactly what happens in the Eucharist: Christ acts in the soul, sanctifies it, purifies it, transforms it into himself, makes it recover the energy lost in venial sins.

8. That many Communions do not carry out any transformation does not depend from Jesus Christ, but from the person that takes the communions. Unfortunately, in many, the  Communion takes place only materially, in the sense that they take the consecrated host, but do not carry out any communion with the Lord. But in fact, Communion has a very high power of transformation and sanctification.

9. Of St. Catherine of Siena we read that “she never approached the sacred altar, without being shown many things superior to the senses, and especially, later, when she received Holy Communion” (Raimondo da Capua, Vita di Santa Caterina, 181).

10. From here we see how important is not only the state of grace in order to be able to receive the communion, but also the preparation and pause with the Lord after having received Him within oneself. Evidently, He  cannot carry out any transformation if He is received only superficially.

11. Given this absolute necessity to feed on Christ in order to grow in him, the Church, seeing that some doesn’t take the Holy Eucharist, reminds them that no true Christian life is possible, much less progress if one does not feed on Jesus Christ, if Christ is not allowed to act on  our soul and in our body.

For this reason, to stimulate them to access this extraordinary grace, he tells them that not feeding on Jesus Christ even at Easter is like living the Christian life in contradiction.

12. St. Thomas comments on the Lord’s words on the need to feed on him in this way: “Therefore the usefulness of this meal is great, since it gives eternal life:” Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life eternal “. In fact, this spiritual food resembles bodily food: that without it the spiritual life cannot exist, just as bodily life cannot exist without bodily food” (Commentary on the Gospel of John, 6:53).

13. In the Summa Theologiae it says: “It is clear that all are bound to communicate at least spiritually; because this means incorporating oneself into Christ, but spiritual communion includes the desire to receive this sacrament. Therefore, without the desire to receive this sacrament for man there can be no salvation. But, a desire would be in vain if it were not satisfied when opportunity permits. Consequently, it is clear that man is bound to receive this sacrament not only for the law of the Church, but also for the precept of the Lord: “Do this in memory of me.” The law of the Church only determines the times in which the precept of Christ must be carried out “(Sum theological, III, 80, 11).

14. Given the necessity of the Eucharist for the Christian life, I suggest that you verify the possible nullity of the wedding celebrated by your husband. If this were the case, the possibility would be open for you to travel along with the via caritatis also that of the sacraments, which is particularly rich and precious.

I wish you this with all my heart and for this I assure you of my remembrance to the Lord and I bless you.

Father Angelo