“Love over law” (Dec. 11, The Catholic Commentator), “More than a law” (Feb. 5) and “Touch of Christ” (Feb. 19) acknowledge divorce and remarriage as adultery, a mortal sin (Mk 10:12-12; Catechism of the Catholic Church 1856, 1858, 2400; 6th Commandment). Advocacy of Communion as mercy, welcome and medicine for adultery is heartfelt, yet self-contradicting.

Communion is medicine strictly for venial sin (the Catechism 1394). Communion’s promise of life eternal (Jn 6:54) hinges entirely on obeying the commandments (Mk 10:17-19). Since Jesus won’t save an unrepentant adulterer from hell (Mt 5:27-29), Jesus won’t mitigate adultery through Communion, making adulterous Communion sacrilege. Poison, not potion (the Catechism 2120). Beware transgressing God’s will with subjective human opinions (Mt 15:3).

Mercy admonishes sacrilege’s gravity (the Catechism 2447, Lk 17:3, third Spiritual Work of Mercy). Jesus’ healing touch, and mercy which dwarfs human sentiment, are certainly nearby and sacramental: CONFESSION. Our God is too small when we fancy our notion of compassion though Communion betters God’s call of repentance through reconciliation.

Although sincere, some statements garble the Gospel. Addressing sin comes before healing, not healing first (Lk 5:17-26, Mt 13:5 [see NAB]). Unrepentant grave sin blocks Jesus (Mt 13:57-58, Jn 8:24). Jesus doesn’t have the prodigal father dash with the best robe and fatted calf to the foreign land, a metaphor for sin (Lk 15:11-32). The father always loves, but the son’s reinstatement follows repentance precisely because that’s the only way to truly know God’s love. The lost sinner gets rescued only by repenting of wandering off (Lk 15:4-7).

An over-romanticized “Jesus” dismissing divine law and repentance distorts the Gospel Jesus who gives love and mercy through the cross, not just compassion (Lk 14:26-27). Equating greater compassion with diminishing the cross is counterproductive. Painful consequences of sin are tragic, but not accidental. God’s priority for human misery is eliminate sin FIRST (Mt 4:17).

Claude Culross

Baton Rouge