Father Michel-Marie Zanotti-SorkineIt is rather worrying when Bishops, Cardinals and others are throwing around the term mortal sin in regards to giving the divorced and remarried communion or in regards to pornography etc. It would seem that there is a mania to create straw men and not really listen to what the others are saying. And what is most shocking is they are even challenging and questioning the Pope and his discernment like some neo-Protestants.
Of course all orthodox Catholics believe that one should not receive communion if one is in a state of mortal sin. However for one to be in a state of mortal sin one needs to have done something that is considered gravely or serious wrong or evil and to know that it is gravely serious and to have full freedom in the choice to do it. To say someone is in mortal sin because they were involved in pornography or divorced and remarried is highly presumptuous. The most one can say is that one may be in mortal sin if they are involved in pornography or prostitution or divorced and remarried or many other serious or grave issues.
Each case has to be looked at individually and often general and simplex answers and regulations are destructive to souls and lacking in love, compassion and mercy as well as justice. It is said that Pope Francis once said that he believed over half of Catholic marriages today were probably invalid according to the standards of a valid sacramental marriage. This is probably a conservative estimate. No one is suggesting that these people are committing a mortal sin as they have no knowledge that their marriages are probably sacramentally invalid.
Most of those people who divorce and remarry get caught up in events and do not have full freedom or knowledge or even understanding that what they did was wrong. I do not believe many of these people are in mortal sin either and nor do I believe they should be refused communion. It should be left up to their conscience and/or discernment with a pastor who knows all about their situation. Then, if possible, help them to regularise their situation according to canon law. The same goes with those who are in the pornography industry or prostitution. Father Michel Marie Zanotti-Sorkine states that he never refused communion to the prostitutes that attended his masses in Marseilles as he would not like to confront Jesus with that on his conscience. Let us listen to what the Spirit is saying today to the churches through such holy men as Pope Francis and Father Michel Marie.
Pope Francis has said that the Eucharist should not be seen as a reward for the good and pious but as healing for the wounded sinners. It is those who like the extreme Pharisees and Scribes shut up heaven for the wounded, broken and hurting that may be in danger of being in mortal sin. Many of the Pharisees were sincere in their rigidness just as many orthodox Catholics today are in their rigid adherence to certain pastoral applications that they consider a necessary fence around the infallible doctrines of the Church. Pope Francis, just like Jesus 2000 years ago, sees it differently and believes that love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness is the true pastoral approach that protects the infallible teachings and releases their full power and glory to save souls and lead them into a deeper sanctification.
Unfortunately many orthodox Catholics are too proud or puffed up in their own convictions or politics to even question whether they are wrong and listen to the Pope and others who sees things differently to them. I understand those who are in this position because in the past I also thought the same way. I pray for my fellow orthodox Catholics hoping that their rigidity will not lead the Church into a schism similar to that with the Donatists of the early Church who also opposed a merciful Vicar of Christ and Bishop of Rome.