Jeg var i går på en møte i Oslo for å lære mer om Tribunalets arbeid. Tribunalet er den kirkelige domstolen som vurderer om oppløste ekteskap virkelig har vært sakramentale. Hvis et ekteskap viser seg å ikke ha vært et sakrament, kan det kirkelig sett sees som ugyldig, og de aktuelle personene kan inngå et nytt kirkelig ekteskap. Jeg skal ikke skrive direkte om dette interessante møtet, men ta opp noe som er nær forbundet med det: Selv om et ekteskap ikke er blitt erklært sakramentalt ugyldig, har det vært en praksis blant noen prester å likevel gi disse personene (som lever i et nytt sivilt ekteskap, ja til og med samboende) del i kirkens sakramenter.
Jeg har lenge sett på denne praksisen som svært problematisk, og jeg har merket meg at den er på retur i mange katolske land. Jeg hadde håpet at praksisen var blitt helt borte blant yngre katolske prester i Norge, men jeg har i løpet av de siste ukene forstått det dessverre ikke er tilfelle.
En artikkel på det katolske nettstedet www.chiesa tok i fjor opp nettopp dette temaet, og beskriver ganske tydelig utviklimnga fra 1970 til i dag.
The current rules are of relatively recent formulation, but are based upon a very severe ancient practice. In 1973, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith still admitted the “probata praxis in foro interno,” or admission to the sacraments by a decision of conscience approved by one’s confessor. Reception of communion by divorced and remarried Catholics was fairly widespread in the United States and in some European countries.
Then, in 1981, came the apostolic exhortation “Familiaris Consortio,” which fixed the more rigorous current discipline. But in 1993, the German bishops of the Rhine region – including two prestigious theologians, Karl Lehmann and Walter Kasper, today cardinals – expanded once again the possibility for divorced and remarried persons to receive communion: a sign that they did not see the rules established by Rome as fully convincing and binding. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was then directed by Ratzinger, in 1994 called them back to obedience.
Det aktuelle dokumentet fra Troskongregasjonen fra 1994 sier faktisk ganske tydelig at de vil stoppe denne “milde” pastorale løsningen:
3. … … In recent years, in various regions, different pastoral solutions in this area have been suggested according to which, to be sure, a general admission of divorced and remarried to Eucharistic communion would not be possible, but the divorced and remarried members of the faithfus could approach Holy Communion in specific cases when they consider themselves authorised according to a judgement of conscience to do so. This would be the case, for example, when they had been abandoned completely unjustly, although they sincerely tried to save the previous marriage, or when they are convinced of the nullity of their previous marriage, although unable to demonstrate it in the external forum or when they have gone through a long period of reflexion and penance, or also when for morally valid reasons they cannot satisfy the obligation to separate.
In some places, it has also been proposed that in order objectively to examine their actual situation, the divorced and remarried would have to consult a prudent and expert priest. This priest, however, would have to respect their eventual decision to approach Holy Communion, without this implying an official authorisation.
In these and similar cases it would be a matter of a tolerant and benevolent pastoral solution in order to do justice to the different situations of the divorced and remarried.
4. Even if analogous pastoral solutions have been proposed by a few Fathers of the Church and in some measure were practiced, nevertheless these never attained the consensus of the Fathers and in no way came to constitute the common doctrine of the Church nor to determine her discipline. It falls to the universal Magisterium, in fidelity to Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to teach and to interpret authentically the depositum fidei.
With respect to the aforementioned new pastoral proposals, this Congregation deems itself obliged therefore to recall the doctrine and discipline of the Church in this matter. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ, the Church affirms that a new union cannot be recognised as valid if the preceding marriage was valid. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Holy Communion as long as this situation persists.
Likevel fortsetter en del prester å gjøre akkurat det Troskongragasjonen sier man ikke skal gjøre – og det underer meg en hel del.