Two more cardinals back Communion for divorced and remarried

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Two more cardinals back Communion for divorced and remarried

Within the last 24 hours, two Italian cardinals have stepped into the fray over whether divorced and remarried Catholics ought to be able to receive Communion, with both coming down on the permissive side of the argument.

Whether that will be enough to overcome strong opposition to any change among some bishops, however, remains to be seen.

Under current Church rules, a Catholic who is divorced and remarried without an annulment — meaning a declaration that they were never married because their first union didn’t meet one of the tests in Church law for validity — cannot receive Communion.

**In a Vatican briefing today, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio said that in cases of “urgency and necessity,” such Catholics ought to be readmitted.

Coccopalmerio offered a specific example of a woman who married a man who had been abandoned by his first wife, through no fault of his own, and left to care for three children. The woman who married him, and who is now helping to care for his children, is considered to be in an “irregular” situation.

“She cannot abandon that union or those children,” he said. “In these cases, we have to do something.”**

Coccopalmerio, considered one of the top Church lawyers in Catholicism, is president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, more or less the Vatican’s equivalent of an attorney general’s office.

Individual cases of divorced and remarried Catholics, he said, could be examined “by a bishop or a group of bishops” in order to find a “positive solution.”

He invoked a story told by Jesus in the New Testament about someone falling into a well on the Sabbath, a day when work is forbidden, to explain his position.

“You can respond two ways,” Coccopalmerio said. “You could do nothing in order to respect the law, or you could act because it’s a case of necessity and urgency.”

“Does acting risk breaking the law of the Sabbath? Absolutely not, that law remains, but there are cases that force me to act.”

**Also today, Italian Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi took roughly the same position in an interview in Corriere della Sera. Now 80 and retired, Tettamanzi is not taking part in the synod, but his comments will have an echo there…

In his interview today, Tettamanzi said he’d be open to Communion for the divorced and remarried under three conditions:

The sacraments are seen as “signs of the mercy of God”
Confusion is avoided about the indissolubility of marriage
The people are involved in Christian formation for adults
Such an approach, he said, would guarantee that allowing communion for divorced and remarried Catholics is “in the necessary context of the proclamation and witness of the Gospel".**

According to John Allen:

It may be too early to know whether the majority stands in the Oct. 5-19 Synod of Bishops on the family.

Archbishop Paul-André Durocher of Gatineau in Quebec, Canada, said today that so far only those bishops in the synod who feel strongly about the issue of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, either for or against the present rules, have spoken on it.

For most bishops this isn’t their top concern, Durocher said, which means there’s no way yet to know where the majority in the synod really stands.

We thus do not truly know which way the majority of bishops are leaning on this issue. Only time will. There are some staunchly opposed, some strongly in favor and a mass of others yet to state their opinion on the matter.

While there may be some Cardinals backing Communion for divorced and remarried people:

#Synod14 strongly reaffirms that those who remarry without annulment cannot receive Communion; strongly sees need to assist those people

Interesting article…

I’m glad things are loosening up some, and I hope this is the start of a new trend in Catholicism.

it is either adultery or it is not.

One either needs to be in a state of grace to receive Communion or one does not.

Why are these Cardinals coming out like this.

I mean Burke and Kasper as well.

It’s like the Cardinals are campaigning or something. They should be keeping their discussions under wraps and demonstrate a sense of common thought and subjection to the Pope.

What the Cardinals are talking about is frankly none of the layman’s business IMO. We just need to know what they come up with and then assent to it- once the Pope gives the final word.

I am a real fan of centralized power in the papacy.

I disagree. Acceptance by the people depends on understanding and also on the belief in the system. That said, I know the leaks in the 60s about the birth control commission deciding one thing and then the Pope seemingly going against the commission’s advice did create a lot of problems.

But look at us here. . .

We are debating issues of which we have no control. It’s not our deal. We have no authority and we need to trust that what comes out is true- as objectively- it will be true.

We are left with armchair Cardinals. It’s not the way it is supposed to work, and it certainly isn’t the traditional way of the layman.


My days of pray, pay, and obey are over.

But, you are correct - we have no control over what happens, only to accept or reject.

I agree with you on non-doctrinal and issues of discipline.

FOr example the great failings of the sex abuse crisis. But I am a “pay, pray, and obey” when it comes to issues of ecclesial authority.

Both the right, the left, the loose, and the SSPX’ers have come to question the rightful authority and this is what I have problems with.

I don’t question the authority of the hierarchy. It’s the decisions that have to withstand scrutiny.

The decisions are fruit of their authority. What good is authority if those who are to subjugate themselves believe they are free to question or even reject decisions which rest on authority.

The outgrowth of this can be those who engage in activities against the Church and even those who would set up their “Real Catholic” Church like the SSPX, SSPV and such.

My view is that we have to assent, which is a bit nuanced. That means we will be bound by what comes out of the synod, regardless of whether we agree or not.

In my case it’s a moot point. I’m in a valid, sacramental marriage to the only woman I’ve ever been married to (and I’m her only husband as well), and I pray to God it remain that way. However I did not arrive at that point immediately. I married as a lapsed Catholic, in a civil ceremony, to a non-baptized woman. Eventually I came back to the Church and she was baptized as an Anglican, and some time (far too much time) later we had our marriage convalidated. It took time because my wife was not convinced for many years and frankly I had my doubts too because we went through several rocky periods. When things started going much better between us (maturity and wisdom being one of the few advantages of getting old and creaky), I approached the Chancery Office for a radical sanation, and was told to go back and try to get my wife to agree to convalidation first. Fortunately, at that point, she was ready.

A good priest did take the approach of “graduality” with me just after I reverted, admitting me to the sacraments as long as I was doing something to rectify my situation. After convalidation, I confessed to a good, holy and orthodox priest that I received unworthily. His reply floored me: “Ora, I will tell you what I would never say in public: without the graces of the sacrament, you would never have been able to save your marriage and have it convalidated”.

Who am I to argue? However he does give an example of “assent”, in that he publicly promotes the view of the Church even if in private, he has doubts.

You’ll also understand that I have a great deal of sympathy for those caught in irregular situations, who are only marginally in the Church. It must really hurt, especially if they’re faithful Catholics, to have a lifetime of payment extracted for a mistake of youth.

(please note: I don’t normally share personal information and it’s the first time I’ve related my story on this forum).

I totally understand and appreciate your situation. Thanks for sharing.

Frankly, I don’t have an opinion how I would rather the Cardinals tackle this. I do know that they need to however, as many priests are just kind of doing their own thing.

One thing that will not be enough is for the Cardinals to just kind of “teach more and more strictly about the current practice”. THis would not be enough.

We need a change in the process and/or approach- some kind of change, and we need uniform practice by the clergy.

My mother, who still has a valid marriage to my Dad, and her husband (which aren’t even married civilly) are both admitted explicitly to the Sacraments by the pastor and deacon of their parish.

The husband was even received into the Church and into the KofC knowing fully of their state. I think this is a bit odd but then again I am not their pastor. :shrug:

God bless you for sharing your heart with us, Ora. I’m positive many more like yourself have been faced with this dilemma.

As for assent, it is more disturbing to read that lay persons on this forum have the audacity to believe they may evaluate the decisions of the Magisterium and decide for themselves whether or not to give their religious assent.

It equally disturbs me that some members here are very vocal in siding with one or another prelate’s view, and it is clearly evident in the volume of threads they begin, in order to influence the rest of us. As if their opinion matters a hill of beans with the decisions of the Synod - Rome will have spoken, the matter is finished.

Let me put it a different way. I will answer Ora separately, but his idea of *assent * is indeed important. My view is that the hierarchy has been given the keys. What they say is actually bound in heaven. Assent is indeed required. However, that does not mean that at times they do not heap condemnation upon themselves with decisions they make.

God bless that priest, Ora.

I think this is exactly what some of the hierarchy are talking about. Yes, there are basic rules and principles. But, as mentioned above, there was also a basic rule about not doing certain things on the Sabbath. Jesus didn’t say, “do away with the rule.” But he did give an example of “violating” it in order to save someone. That’s something we all need to think about.

Ah, I understand your point. I don’t agree but I do understand you better.

I believe that exercising their authority, in being tied to the keys, cannot lead souls to sin as the decisions rest upon their holy authority. If they exercise their authority in a process of honest concern God would not judge them as guilty of sin. If some are driven by politics and they are aware that they are driven by politics and are ignoring God- that would seem to be sinful.

Now, in their own conduct as individuals- they can certainly sin- and we have seen that throughout the ages.

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