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Dear Father Angelo,
I take advantage of your availability once again for a question that I think may also be useful to other faithfuls: a dear friend of mine is divorced but not by her choice and has two daughters who live with her.
She is a fervent Christian and convinced believer; she met a person with whom she has a loving relationship, she goes to Mass but told me that she cannot receive the Eucharist because no priest can absolve her as she is considered to be a concubine by the Church and therefore, according to the dictates of Catholic doctrine, she is in a non-remediable sin. Is this true? It seems absurd to me because Jesus Christ, on whom our faith is based, is Love and He came, as the Gospel of Matthew today says,(9.9 – 13) (Sept.21st is St. Matthew’s feast btw), “In fact, I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners».
Thanking you for your attention and waiting for your prompt reply, I wish you a good day
Praised be Jesus Christ
Answer from the priest
1. it is true: “God is love” (1 Jn 4:16).
And since Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15) we can very well say that Jesus is Love.
2. As you rightly recall from the Gospel of the feast of St. Matthew, Jesus did not “come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mt 9:13).
In Luke’s Gospel we find the same affirmation but with a precious addition: “I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners” (Lk 5:32).
3. St. John Chrysostom comments: “Now, the Lord overturns their discourse, showing that there is no sin in reaching out to sinners, but rather that it is something compatible with mercy; therefore he continues: Jesus answered by saying: It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick, where the Lord reminds them of the common disease and shows that they are sick too, while he secretly presents himself as a doctor by adding: I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (In Mt, Homily 31).
And St. Gregory of Nyssa: “As if he were saying: I do not hate sinners, because I came only for love of them, not because they remain sinners, but because they convert and become good”.
4. Likewise St. Augustine: “Therefore he adds: for the purpose of conversion, which serves well to explain this subject so that someone does not think that Christ loves sinners for the very fact that they are sinners; since as it happens for the sick it clearly suggests what God wants by calling sinners, which is what the doctor does with the sick: so that they may be saved from sin as from an illness ”(De Cons. Evan., 2,27).
5. We often forget what it means to celebrate the sacrament of marriage. It is thought of as a protection and blessing from Heaven. And this is certainly a very good thing.
But with Christian marriage one also receives a grace and an assignment to be able to show through one’s own behavior how the love of God for man and of Jesus Christ for the Church is.
Just as Saint Paul says: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor (…)
This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church”. (Eph 5, 25-27.32).
6. If God’s love for man remains intact even if he is unfaithful as much as Christ’s love for the Church remains always the same, the spouses are called to do the same even in the painful cases of a suffered divorce .
7. Jesus goes to meet this dear friend of yours not because she breaks the pact sanctioned with her husband (even if her husband has broken what he had agreed upon) but because even in this painful situation she receives strength to be “a sign of tireless fidelity with which God and Jesus Christ love all men and every man “(John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio 20).
8. We often forget that the goal of the present life is sanctification and that the present life has meaning because it prepares us for the transcendent life.
If you forget the goal of sanctification, everything becomes incomprehensible and hard. Inevitably, we tell ourselves: why can’t I rebuild my life?
9. Finally, you wrote that the sin of this friend of yours cannot be cured.
There is no incurable sin unless man has the determination to remain in that state.
The Lord incessantly comes to call everyone so that we may convert.
I wish you a happy feast of the Visitation of Mary, I will remind you in front of the Lord and I bless you.