Lets just call the proposed ‘pastoral exception’ what it is: vicious cruelty
March 17, 2014 § 42 Comments
61. However, they should take care lest the calamitous state of their external affairs should be the occasion for a much more calamitous error. No difficulty can arise that justifies the putting aside of the law of God which forbids all acts intrinsically evil. There is no possible circumstance in which husband and wife cannot, strengthened by the grace of God, fulfill faithfully their duties and preserve in wedlock their chastity unspotted. This truth of Christian Faith is expressed by the teaching of the Council of Trent. “Let no one be so rash as to assert that which the Fathers of the Council have placed under anathema, namely, that there are precepts of God impossible for the just to observe. God does not ask the impossible, but by His commands, instructs you to do what you are able, to pray for what you are not able that He may help you.” — Pope Pius XI, Castii Connubii
There is lots of hubbub these days about making a possible “pastoral exception” that endorses divorced and “remarried” Catholic couples persisting in their adulterous relationships but still receiving communion. (Other Catholics who persist in adultery will presumably be left out of the pastoral exception).
I don’t want to pre-judge the outcome of the Extraordinary Synod itself or the Pope’s actions afterwards. The Pontifical Commission on Birth Control recommended material heresy, but the end result was the affirmation of orthodoxy in the form of Humanae Vitae. That kind of thing could happen again; or something else entirely unexpected.
But there isn’t anything inherently impossible about the Church doing something phenomenally unloving and harmful in its pastoral practice and discipline. Further undermining our public understanding of marriage would be incredibly cruel and vicious, especially toward people in very difficult situations who struggle daily to do the right thing. Giving people an “easy way out” toward sacrilege and self-destruction is not merciful. It is the opposite of mercy: it is a way of patting ourselves on the back about how wonderful we are as we march God’s children into the pits of Hell.
 Receiving communion, for those who do not know, is on the “honor system”. Nobody is going to check paperwork and make sure that everyone in the line is receiving properly. So this is about what the Church officially approves and endorses as practice, not about relaxing the current tight security of the Communion line.