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A Bishop’s Failure to Enforce Canon Law Does Not Excuse His Faithful From Following It

It needs no long blog post from a canon lawyer to explain how wrong would be a failure by a bishop to protect his faithful against scandal (CCC 22842287) and/or to defend the Eucharist against potential sacrilege (CCC 2120) but, make no mistake, in reiterating that “it is not [his] policy” to withhold holy Communion from persons in ‘same-sex marriages’, that is what Cdl. Cupich’s refusal to act as ‘the guardian of the entire liturgical life in the church entrusted to him’ (c. 835 § 1) and “to exercise vigilance so that abuses do not creep into ecclesiastical discipline, especially regarding … the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, [and] the worship of God” (c. 392 § 2) in this matter, does.

Cupich’s failure ‘to bishop’ in this regard, of course, effectively abandons his pastors and other ministers of holy Communion to face alone the anger of some Catholics in ‘same-sex marriages’ who (like persons in merely civil marriages following divorce) must nevertheless be refused holy Communion by pastors correctly recognizing that, no matter what their archbishop doesn’t say, they are still required by canon law not to admit to holy Communion those who ‘obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin’ (c. 915).

Canon 915, as has been explained many, many times, rests on ancient, indeed Biblical, foundations, nothing in modern canon law or recent magisterial literature annuls it, and it unquestionably applies in regard to Catholics who have attempted a ‘same-sex marriage’. But it might still be useful to explicitate briefly the application of Canon 915 in some same-sex pastoral situations.

Read more at In Light of the Law