Fr Ray Blake raises an interesting question on his blog. He says that he would like to break communion with Cardinal Drew and Archbishop Cupich, but that he cannot since they are in communion with the Pope and so is he. The implication is that he would therefore be going into schism if he refused to give Holy Communion to either of these two prelates, were they to come and spend some time in Brighton.

But is this so? Schism is defined in canon law as “the withdrawal of submission from the supreme pontiff or from communion with members of the Church subject to him” (canon 751; incidentally, I like the fact that this canon uses the term ‘members’ – it is there in the Latin too – as this term has to a large degree vanished from modern ecclesiastical vocabulary, implying as it does that baptised non-Catholics are severed members.) So the question is, is Archbishop Cupich or Cardinal Drew a member of the Church subject to the Roman pontiff? Pius XII made it clear in Mystici Corporis that to be a member of the Church, one must among other things, profess the true faith. Therefore if the archbishop and the cardinal are no longer professing the true faith – and Archbishop Cupich’s latest remarks are totally unCatholic – then they are no longer members of the Church. In that case Fr Blake could, and indeed should refuse to give either man communion. It may be that the Roman pontiff himself continued to give them communion; but that would not cause them to be members of the Church.

I recently had occasion to read through the anathemas of the ecumenical councils. It struck me even more forcibly than it had before, that the forthcoming Roman Synod on the family could perform no more pastoral act than to anathematize in due form the principal errors on that topic. And since their Lordships are all busy men, I have made so bold as to compose some anathemas myself; and if anyone of Synodal Fathers should ever happen to see this posting, they would be very welcome to make any use of them that they might see fit.

1. On the indissolubility of marriage

Si quis dixerit, vinculum matrimonii rati et consummati inter baptizatos ob haeresim, adulterium, conhabitationem molestam, absentiam affectatam, sterilitatem aut quamcumque aliam causam, coniugibus ambobus viventibus, dirumpi posse, anathema sit.

{If anyone should say that the bond of a ratified and consummated marriage between baptized persons can be broken on account of heresy, adultery, irksome cohabitation, deliberate absence, sterility or of any other cause whatever while both spouses are still living, let him be anathema.}

2. Same sex ‘marriage’

Si quis eo versaniae pervenerit ut non erubescat affirmare legibus divinis aut humanis sanciri posse ut vir virum in matrimonium ducat vel mulier mulieri nubat, anathema sit.

{If anyone should reach such a degree of madness, that he is not ashamed to affirm that it can be sanctioned by divine or human laws that a man should marry a man, or a woman marry a woman, let him be anathema.}

3. Civil partnerships

Si quis dixerit, licere civitatibus illas coniunctiones seu pacta  viri ad virum aut mulieris ad mulierem legibus sancire, quae matrimonii formam et speciem prae se ferant, immo quae totam matrimonii rationem praeter solum nomen habere simulent, anathema sit.

{If anyone should say that States may establish by laws those partnerships or contracts of a man to a man or of a woman to a woman which have the form and appearance of matrimony, or rather which pretend to have the whole nature of matrimony apart from the name alone, let him be anathema.}

4. ‘Gender theory’

Si quis effutire praesumpserit, aliud esse sexum, aliud sexualitatis genus, sexum quidem singulis hominibus a Deo vel natura plerumque praestitum, sexualitatis vero genus ab ipsis hominibus libere delectum atque amplexum, ita ut civitatibus statuere liceat ut viri se femineos nominantes iurium et officiorum mulieris, mulieres vero se masculinas dicentes iurium et officiorum viri potiantur, anathema sit.

{If anyone should presume to babble about how sex is one thing and gender another, and about how each human being is generally endowed with their sex from God or from nature, whereas gender is freely chosen and embraced by human beings themselves, in such a way that a State may establish by law that a man who identifies himself as feminine may possess the rights and duties of a woman, and that a woman who calls herself masculine may possess the rights and duties of a man, let him be anathema}

I think that should wrap things up for now.