US mayor says prelate’s family teachings aren’t Christian

Philadelphia’s mayor has characterised as “not Christian” guidelines issued by an archbishop on a papal document on marriage and the family.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia recently released pastoral guidelines in the wake of Pope Francis’s post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

In the guidelines, one of the topics addressed was divorced and civilly remarried Catholics living as brother and sister, without having sexual intercourse.

“Undertaking to live as brother and sister is necessary for the divorced and civilly remarried to receive reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance, which could then open the way to the Eucharist,” the new guidelines read.

The guidelines also emphasised the parts of Francis’s document that essentially told clergy not to give up on people whose lives don’t adhere strictly to Catholic teaching.

Philadelphia’s mayor Jim Kenny reacted negatively to aspects of the guidelines.

The mayor tweeted: “Jesus gave us gift of Holy Communion because he so loved us. All of us. Chaput’s actions are not Christian.”

The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue said the tweet was an abuse of the mayor’s office.

Veteran Vatican journalist John Allen predicted that approaches on to how to put Amoris Laetitia into practice will take two paths.

“My suspicion is that those who are inclined to a more progressive reading [of Amoris Laetitia] are not going to put out documents to say so.

“It will quietly be made clear to priests that it is OK under certain circumstances, for example, to allow some people to quietly come back to Communion,” Allen said.

“My suspicion is that the more traditional line [adopted by some bishops] will be more public.”


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