Divorced, remarried Catholics may receive Communion says Pope

Pope Francis has approved the Argentinian bishops’ interpretation of his apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (Joy of Love).

The bishops have published a document saying some divorced and remarried Catholics may receive Holy Communion.

Francis  says the document “explains precisely the meaning of Chapter VIII of ‘Amoris Laetitia.’ There are no other interpretations.”

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of State, says a letter Francis wrote to the bishops on 5 September 2016 and the bishops’ guidelines for interpreting Amoris Laetitia will be published as official documents on the Vatican website.

Francis wrote the letter in response to guidelines the bishops in the Buenos Aires region published.

Parolin says Francis also wants the letter and the bishops’ guidelines to be included in the “Acta Apostolicae Sedis (AAS)”.

The AAS is the official record of Vatican documents and acts.

By applying the character of “official Magisterium” to an exchange of letters, the pope has strengthened the bishops’ interpretation’s doctrinal significance.

Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, commented on the official Magisterium.

“The fact that the pope requested … [these documents] … be published in the AAS means that His Holiness has given these documents a particular qualification that elevates them to the level of being official teachings of the church.

“While the content of the pope’s letter itself does not contain teachings on faith and morals, it does point toward the interpretations of the Argentine bishops and confirms them as authentically reflecting his own mind.

“Thus together the two documents became the Holy Father’s authentic Magisterium for the whole church.”

Open letters that question a “confused” teaching – such as that by the American theologian Fr Thomas G. Weinandy, or those by the four cardinals who wrote the “dubia” (“doubt”) – now come up against a new theological obstacle.


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