German cardinal sees way through for divorced and remarried

A senior German cardinal believes there is a “practicable” way for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx told a newspaper that such people “who acknowledge their failure should be able to apply for a readmission to the sacraments after a period of penitence”.

A similar proposal was made by Cardinal Walter Kasper at the recent consistory of cardinals at the Vatican.

Cardinal Marx said the other cardinals had “very diverse reactions to this proposal”.

“I personally find it to be a practicable plan that would however have to be applied on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

Cardinal Marx is a close associate of Pope Francis, who has repeatedly called for mercy in the application of the Church’s teachings.

Francis last month said Catholic couples whose marriages fail should be “accompanied” and not “condemned”.

In November last year, Cardinal Marx publicly chided his fellow German then-Archbishop Gerhard Muller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the issue.

An article by Archbishop Muller ran in L’Osservatore Romano rejecting the possibility of an abandoned spouse remarrying after a period of penance, which is allowed in the Orthodox Church.

Cardinal Marx issued a statement that the CDF prefect could not stop discussions about the issue of remarried divorcees.

These and other issues will be addressed at the Extraordinary Synod in 2014 and then the Ordinary Synod in 2015.

Cardinal Marx is a member of the Pope’s advisory council of cardinals.

He was recently appointed to head the new Council for the Economy at the Vatican.

He recently became head of the German bishops conference.



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