As we have seen, there are two subjective factors—lack of full knowledge and lack of deliberate consent—that can reduce or remove subjective responsibility. However, in the case of divorced and remarried persons who want communion, and who want it in a legitimate way, there can be no lack of knowledge. Amoris Laetitia clearly emphasizes the need for a pastoral dialogue with divorced and remarried persons who want communion, and the document also emphasizes the need for persons in this situation to examine their consciences (AL §300, 303). If a remarried person is involved in a pastoral dialogue, he or she will be enlightened about the objective moral facts, unless the pastor deliberately withholds this knowledge in order to leave the person in “good faith.” But the idea that the Church should deliberately withhold the truth from some remarried divorcees, while at the same time urging them to examine their consciences with respect to their marriage situation, is absurd. The absurdity would be even more pronounced if it were suggested that a remarried person who expresses informed disagreement with Catholic teaching about marriage could be admitted to communion, on the ground that she has not grasped the “inherent value” of this teaching. This view entails that as long as a person tells the pastor that she disagrees with the doctrine of marriage, she can receive communion, but the day she lets the pastor know that the truth about marriage has begun to sink in, the pastor must refuse her communion. This is not a defensible pastoral policy.
Commentators who have tried to justify the setting aside of St. John Paul II's very clear teaching on this matter have, in my experience, resorted to two strategies. The first is simply to repeat words like "mercy", "development", and "compassion" and to call rigourists Pharisees. The second is to imagine all kinds of weird and improbable situations whereby the argument might be made that someone has no choice but to sleep with someone who is not their spouse in the eyes of God.
"Oh, please" is surely the only appropriate response to both strategies.