I have a theory about some at least of the Prayers for the Departed in some early Sacramentaries: I think some of the collects were designed to pray for people who were Public Penitents and had died before they could complete their Penance and receive formal Public Absolution from the Bishop (on some such liturgical occasion as Maundy Thursday). An example at the end of this post*.
So what? Wozzat got to do with The Only question That Matters Now Both To 'Liberals' And To 'Traddies'? Id est: Holy Communion Or Not for folks that are shacked up with a new 'Partner' or ''Spouse''.
Some of those prelates or theologians who either come themselves from the Land of the Knockwurst or else are aligning themselves with the Knackwurst Tendenz (presumably in the hope of Preferment) carry on as though Adultery as a Problem in the Life of the Church is a modern phenomenon which has suddenly ambushed us and about which the Church has never had to take a position in the past. This seems to me a priori improbable ... unless you can show me persuasive peer-reviewed papers in respectable academic periodicals demonstrating that the imperatives of the human genitals and of their attendant hormonal systems have radically changed within the last couple of generations.
In the early centuries of the Church's life, not only were people who fell into Adultery required, obviously, to give it up; having given it up, they were required also to do a substantial period of Public Penance ... Prayer ... Fasting ... Exorcisms ... Exclusion from Holy Communion ... before receiving Absolution and returning to the Church's sacramental life.
Yes ... don't we have it easy now in comparison ... the Church has already brought in every conceivable expression of Mercy except for the one last thing which she cannot offer: agreement that Sin is not sinful; agreement that the Adultery does not need to be given up. Perhaps that is what lies at the root of the current crisis: the Evil One has worked so skilfully over the centuries and millennia that the Church now has finally no room left for manoeuvre ... her back is right up against the wall; she now has but two options only: to stand and fight; or to say "Oh all right then ... I suppose it doesn't really matter ...".
Think about it.
Here's that ancient Collect:
*Omnipotens et misericors Dominus, in cuius omnis humana condicio potestate consistit: animam famuli tui N, quaesumus, ab omnibus absolve peccatis; ut paenitentiae fructum quem voluntas eius optavit, praeventus mortalitate non perdat.
[Almighty and merciful Lord, in whose power the whole human condicion stands: absolve, we beseech thee, the soul of thy servant N from all his sins: that he may not lose the fruit of Penance which his will hoped for ... even though Death got to him first ...] Verona Sacramentary.