Pope Francis and Others on No Communion for the Remarried

Because there’s a lot of confusion surrounding the Media’s reports about the Synod on the Family and its deliberations concerning Communion for the remarried, I thought a one-stop shopping place was in order where you could go to show that the Church is not going to change its stance against admitting remarried people to Communion.

First, we have the statements from Pope Francis. In his interview with La Stampa, published December 14, 2013, he defended the Church’s stance against admitting remarried people to Communion: The exclusion of divorced people who contract a second marriage from communion is not a [punishment]. It is important to remember this. source Somehow I don’t think he would defend the Church’s stance if it was about to change. Moreover, when he was asked what he meant in his encyclical Evangelium Gaudii by speaking of “prudent and bold pastoral choices regarding the sacraments,” he clarified his meaning, saying, Some immediately thought about the sacraments for remarried divorcees, but I did not refer to any specific cases; I simply wanted to point out a principle. We must try to facilitate people’s faith. source Also, according to this interview, Cardinal Meisner has specifically asked Pope Francis about Communion for the remarried, and the pope directed him to the statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and said, in the words of Cardinal Meisner, People who are divorced can receive communion, people who are remarried can’t. source I think it’s also important to point out that Pope Francis was specifically asked why he praised Cardinal Kasper’s speech where he mentioned admitting remarried divorcees to Communion, and Pope Francis downplayed the section of his speech where he talked about that, saying, Cardinal Kasper made a beautiful and profound presentation that will soon be published in German, and he confronted five points; the fifth was that of second marriages. source Next comes the members of the Synod itself. According to the Boston Globe, Cardinal Thomas Collins is “currently in Rome for two days of meetings of most of the world’s cardinals with Francis on issues related to marriage and the family.” As a member of the Synod, his statements about what its discussions are covering should be authoritative. In this interview, he said that a change in the Church’s stance is not on the table for the Synod, and that the media has been misinterpreting this: Collins seemed dubious that the bishops’ summit, called a “synod,” might recommend sweeping policy changes on divorce. … Asked if he believed allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the sacraments would be on the table, Collins said: “I don’t see how it could be…This is a very basic point about what we’re called to in marriage that comes from Our Lord himself.” source Finally comes Archbishop Muller. His words on the subject should be considered authoritative for several reasons; first, he was recently made a Cardinal by Pope Francis. Second, he was appointed to the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Pope Francis. Third, according to the interview with Cardinal Meisner, Pope Francis cited the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with Muller as its head, as the authorized body for responding to this issue. And Cardinal Muller has specifically and emphatically stated that the Church’s stance against admitting remarried people to Communion will not change: The dogma of the Church [on this matter] is not just any theory made by some theologians, but it is the doctrine of the Church, nothing less than the word of Jesus Christ, which is very clear. I can not change the doctrine of the Church. source So there you go. No worries! The Church is not about to change to admit remarried people to Holy Communion before their marriage is annulled. And don’t let the media scare you otherwise.

God bless!

I’ll add to this. The following Cardinals have also said, in way or another, that the teaching can’t, or won’t, change:

Card O’Malley
Card Brandmuller
Card Re
Card Quevedo
Card Nichols
Card Caffarra
Card Burke

And Sandro Magister reported that at the Synod, “numerous Cardinals of the first order” intervened against the proposals of Card Kasper.

The teaching that you can only be married once will not change.

The teaching that one needs annulment to get “remarried” will not change.

The pastoral approach to these things may change.

For example, a Protestant who divorced and remarried because his church said he could and blessed it has very low culpability if he then hears the truth as part of his conversion. Currently countless Protestants delay or decide not to convert for this reason?

Is this truly the best way to win souls if we put an obstacle in the way of conversion?

I do believe the discipline of the church regarding the handling of this sin may change. It is possible to be contrite and do penance and be forgiven without divorcing your wife (or refusing to have sex with her).

I think this is the most telling part of Pope Francis’ hand in this;

“The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness [n. 47].”

It should be noted that our Apostolic Orthodox brethren have something in place pastorally for the remarried.

Of course we should all just wait and see how the Holy Spirit works in the Synod of Bishops as he has for 2000 years and trust mother church.

This quote is the one that dmar198 cited above:

*Moreover, when he was asked what he meant in his encyclical Evangelium Gaudii by speaking of “prudent and bold pastoral choices regarding the sacraments,” he clarified his meaning, saying,

“Some immediately thought about the sacraments for remarried divorcees, but I did not refer to any specific cases; I simply wanted to point out a principle. We must try to facilitate people’s faith.”*

Francis clarified that he was not specifically referring to communion for remarried divorcees with this quote.

His clarification leaves every possibility. He says he did not mention specific cases, nor did he say that he was excluding specific cases.

This is called prudence and humility. Francis will allow God to work through the Bishops and synod and church.

He clearly speaks his case though, that the sacraments are not prizes for the holy but gifts of grace from God.

It is dogma that to take the Eucharist in unrepentant sin is sacrilege. That will not change.

How one shows contrition and seeks forgiveness undoubtedly will change.

I hope all can trust the church on where she goes with this.

The divorced have trusted mother church for a long time…

It’s true that he left open all possibilites, but it’s also true that he went out of his way to make this clarification, when he certainly didn’t have to. People were taking it as him referring specifically to communion for remarried divorcees, and he went out of his way to say that is not the case.

He didn’t “clearly speak his case”, in fact he specifically corrects those who thought he did, by saying that he was speaking only generally. You seem to be inferring from his words exactly what he said not to infer.

How is it you know what will “undoubtedly” change? I mean, you could be right, but I certainly hope not.

Can you give me an example…a real example of another way Pope Francis’ words in my quote could be used to pastor the faithful?

You say;

How is it you know what will “undoubtedly” change? I mean, you could be right, but ** I certainly hope not**.

I of course only “know” that the church is striving to save souls, and it seems change is necessary to effectively carry out that mission.

But I sometimes wonder if Catholics are just the same as the Protestants I was raised around. Only trusting the church because the church is in line with the way I THINK.

Once the church challenges MY. thinking, then the church must be wrong or the pope apostate, or the media got to him, or whatever.

Please take no personal offense to this, this is just something I wonder from my experience in this forum.

I was hoping you’d chime in on this one ! :slight_smile:

Isn’t that what ‘cafeteria’ (and divorced) Catholics have been practicing?

Maybe some…

Not me. I am divorced and fully in line with the church. In fact I am converting without annulment realizing I may be required to live chaste the rest of my life. I am 31 years old with 3 kids under six, so yeah that takes a lot of faith in the church.

So don’t label us divorced as cafeteria Catholics my goodness!

My point is simply…Do you really truly believe that this is the church founded by Christ, that the keys given to Peter have been passed down to Francis today, and that the Holy Spirit protects the church from error? Or are those just apologetics that you use but don’t believe?

One could take many quotes from Pope Francis to support what their agenda is much like protestants do with Bible verses. For me the most telling quote from the Holy Father is that he is a son of the Church and if one wanted to know what he thought of various issues (homosexuality, marriage, abortion, etc.) then all one need to do is read the Catechism of the Church.

I think this is a very valid concern. When we change our hearts to conform to Jesus and His Church, and not expect it to be the other way around, then you will have your answer. Until then, yes, some are going to be like protestants in that sense.

That said, some people have valid concerns about what some Cardinals and bishops may be saying individually about certain topics. It doesn’t mean we are “protestant” and ignoring the teachings of the Church. In many of these cases, it is quite the opposite.


I apologize I did not mean to point to all divorced I was just highlighting that group because it is the subject at hand. What I was trying to get at is your description here…

Once the church challenges MY. thinking, then the church must be wrong or the pope apostate, or the media got to him, or whatever.

That’s exactly the thought of those that want the Church to change their teaching under the guise of being more ‘pastoral’.

You of course understand it is not dogma to refuse communion to the remarried?

I outlined this earlier.

This is a discipline of the church that I believe can change.

For example my earlier example.

A remarried couple comes and says they want to be catholic. The priest tells them they have two choices:

  1. get annulment of previous marriages
  2. live as brother and sister.

They walk out. They don’t become catholic. How tragic.

Instead what if the priest walked with them and;

  1. helped them with annulments and recognition of their marriage.

If that failed

  1. he discerned with them their culpability and sin that brought them to this point. He gave them absolution and significant penance and penitential time ( like a year) and then he was able to administer sacraments to them.

Something like this , would be a way to save souls while maintaining the dogma of the church.

Respectfully, I think you are wrong. It is dogma that you cannot receive communion when you are conscious of unconfessed mortal sin. CCC 1384-85.

Living with another when you are sacramentally married is adultery. CCC 2384. I could imagine that it is possible that one doesn’t “know” and therefore is not guilty of mortal sin. But upon learning, he or she would be required not to receive communion.

As such, being remarried when the first marriage was valid = mortal sin (speaking generally ) = no communion.

I don’t see a way around that.


If marriage really is for life, I don’t see how the culpability level of the protestant that is remarried has anything to do with it. The facts are the facts–his new wife is not really his wife. I don’t see how the Church would have the power to change this.

Regarding Protestants delaying conversion, if they want to convert because they know the Catholic Church is the one true Church, they will convert regardless of their marital situation. If they delay for any reason, then there is either a lack of faith or a different motivation for wanting to convert.

Yes…still…here are my concerns on the matter…

Once you start playing with doctrine it can only lead to getting farther from the Truth. I look at what happened with the protestants when they started allowing for contraception in only certain conditions. That hasn’t worked out so well. I realize we are not talking about changing doctrine, at least I hope not, but even just adjusting it for pastoral reasons can be tricky. Jesus was clear about sin…

And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn you (compassion); go, and do not sin again (conversion).

Many only look at the first part and say see Jesus did not judge, He is merciful. But the second part is just as pastoral as the first. Compassion for this life, conversion for the next.

And also I think of all those who did faithfully go through the process to get an annulment and/or follow the Church’s teaching as it stands now.

Well I will be praying for the Holy Father and the Cardinals in any case.

Well, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to take his statement as a defense of the Church’s current practice.

I would only be speculating because he didn’t give examples, but the way I took it, he would basically be saying to active Catholics: “Those of us who take Communion should not become complacent and look down on those who can’t. We shouldn’t look at the Eucharist our “reward” for being so good, because we are all sinful too. We need to “accompany, not condemn” those who can’t take Communion, by welcoming them, including them, finding pastoral ways to involve them, etc.” (He’s had a number of homilies on this kind of theme.)

To remarried Catholics and non-Catholics he would be saying: “Hey remarried divorcees, and non-Catholics, please don’t take the Church’s teaching that you can’t take Communion as a condemnation of you, or as an exaltation of “good” Catholics. It’s not meant in that way, you are welcome, and we are not putting “good” Catholics above you”. He would be explaining and defending the Church’s practice so that they are not put off by it.

As to the bold, as Cardinal Muller said, it is not about my line of thinking, it is about the explicit teaching of the Church:

“Not allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics access to the Eucharist “is not about my opinion,” Cardinal Muller said; it reflects a long history of church teaching and doctrine.”


I am agreeing with the head of the CDF, and the other Cardinals listed above, so I don’t believe I am forcing the Chruch into my line of thinking.




I agree that an unrepentant mortal sin means you don’t take communion .

But there is no mortal sin if a Protestant was told it was ok to remarry. They were told it was not sinful.

This idea that you are in a constant state of adultery is not dogma it is just an inference.

I would argue that if you are confronted with the truth of remarriage, confess and do penance, then there is nothing barring communion. The church has never advocated the remarried couple divorce and divide a family.

It’s one thing for the Catholics who choose to do what they want. They make their choice.

But it is another thing for someone who was told IT IS NOT A SIN to remarry, to then be held responsible as if they knew full well that they were sinning when they remarried. It is on this latter area I believe their could be possible change.

Regardless though I am a son of the church and will trust the church regardless of whatever decision they make.

I see your point, I just don’t understand how the “Eucharist is a medicine for the sick” if it is only taken when you are not sick.

Just wondering.

I see your point as to people who convert. However, I get the impression that the largest number of people we are talking about here are, in fact, Catholics who (should) know the teachings of the Church.



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