The White Robed Monks of St. Benedict
Question: If, as Roman Catholics - married or single - we marry outside the Roman Catholic Church, can we yet receive the Roman Catholic Sacraments, such as Holy Communion?
Peace be with you and yours.
Answer: The White Robed Monks of St. Benedict, but Catholic in the tradition of the Old (Dutch) Catholic Church, are not part of and are in no way associated with the Roman Catholic Church. Hence, we cannot speak with authority about that institutional church's or any other institutional church's practices, policies and procedures. Yet, the White Robed Monks of St. Benedict may offer its own witness to institutional practices, policies and procedures. In the Spirit of Compassion do we make the following observation:
The (Roman) Catholic Church has always held to the primacy of conscience and taught that individuals must follow their consciences even when they are wrong (in the eyes of the institutional church - ed). (Vatican II, On Religious Liberty (1965), §2)
Would Christ say NO to anyone? In the opinion of some, the institutional church has become more than Christ in its over-estimation of itself. For example, as the Roman Catholic jurisdiction's presiding Bishop, Pope Francis I commented just prior to his election, The evils that, over time, happen in ecclesial institutions have their root in self-referentiality and a kind of theological narcissism.* An institutional church, in effect, can say NO when Christ (probably) would say: What's the issue? If Christ is Love personified and should one want to receive Christ in one's own heart, what is the issue?
St. Augustine in his Seventh Homily on 1st John: Ama Deum et fac quod vis. "Love, and do what you will ..."
See what we are insisting upon; that the deeds of men are only discerned by the root of charity. For many things may be done that have a good appearance, and yet proceed not from the root of charity. For thorns also have flowers: some actions truly seem rough, seem savage; howbeit they are done for discipline at the bidding of charity. Once for all, then, a short precept is given thee: Love, and do what thou wilt: whether thou hold thy peace, through love hold thy peace; whether thou cry out, through love cry out; whether thou correct, through love correct; whether thou spare, through love do thou spare: let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good.
Please remember that the above Augustinian principle is the very one that came to the fore during the debate concerning artificial birth control that was front and center in the 1960's and 1970's. The institutional church instructed the faithful who practiced artificial birth control not to receive communion. Most of the faithful, in conjunction with progressive priests, following the above Augustian principle, came to the conclusion that they should receive communion. Many Catholics today follow this path when it comes to artificial birth control. The Augustinian principle is a sound guideline in deciphering moral rectitude from institutional mandate.
In conclusion, for those of the Roman Catholic jurisdiction, the White Robed Monks of St. Benedict, out of pastoral concern, cite the following acknowledgment from the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy (April 26, 1971) over the signature of its then prefect, John Cardinal Wright: Conscience is inviolable and no person is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his or her conscience, as the moral tradition of the Church attests (cf., p. 991). Lastly, The White Robed Monks of St. Benedict hold that the invitation to receive communion is an invitation to Christ's table, and that it is not the province of human beings or institutions to interfere between an individual and Christ. Let us remember that The letter of the law kills, but the Spirit of the Law gives life. (2 Corinthians, 3:6) and that Jesus called them unto him, and said, 'Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.' (Luke 18:16)
c.f. *Radio Vaticana.va/News
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