Head of the UGCC explained why divorced and re-married cannot receive communion
We are absolutely unanimous in saying that the one who lives in a state of grave sin, whether we are talking about the situation of divorced and re-married, or about any other sin on God's commandments, the teaching of the Church is unchanged - in a state of grave sin no one can receive the Holy Communion.
Head of the UGCC, Patriarch Sviatoslav said it in an interview with Vatican Radio, as he summed up the first results of XIV Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican in which he participated.
The Primate explained that “if the Church says that someone is in a state of grave sin and may not be admitted to the Holy Communion, it neither discriminates nor diminishes anyone, on the contrary, this teaching of the Church is a good shelter and parent aid for these people." “For we know, according to St. Paul teaching that we can accept Holy Communion both in the salvation of our souls and in our judgment or condemnation. Therefore, according to the Apostles’ doctrine and the traditional teaching of the Church, when someone comes to the Holy Communion in a state of grave sin, he will worsen his condition, committing a new grave sin of sacrilege,” the Patriarch says.
He said that at the Synod the hierarchs unanimously voted on the matter. When we are talking about the Holy Communion, including the possibility of administering the Holy Communion to those who are in a state of grave sin, this issue is not a matter of a pastoral method, it is the matter of the doctrine of the Church, the matter of the Catholic faith, the matter of understanding, on the one hand, the sanctity of the sacrament of marriage, on the other hand, understanding the holiness and the basic sense of the Eucharist, the summit of Christian life.
Instead, the patriarch said that at the Synod, the hierarchs were considering how to help those people who live in such a state of grave sin and how to overcome it. What is the penitential way by which the Church today can lead people to conversion, repentance, and therefore to the possibility to recover. These are the terms under which a person may recover from a state of grave sin.
In this regard, according to the head of the UGCC, there is an interesting contribution of the Eastern Churches, as in the Latin rite the concept of sin is more legal in nature, “in other words, the concept of sin as a particular transgression of law, which deserves a certain penalty. So many ordinary people have this impression: once I broke the law, so I am punished. I am not admitted to the Communion - this is a punishment for me...
Well, let's start asking the Church so this sentence could be eased down or reversed in one way or another. In the Eastern spirituality, the sin is understood not as the transgression of law but as a terrible disease, a disease that needs treatment. The penitential practice in the context of Eastern theology is a medical treatment. Thus we help to understand many of our brothers in the episcopate that the traditional teaching of the Church on the penitential practice, the possibility or impossibility of administering the Holy Communion to those who live in a state of grave sin is not some kind of severe punishment for anyone, but it is the way of treatment and healing of the human soul,” said the patriarch. It was reported by the Information Department of the UGCC.