Bishops under pressure for allowing divorced and remarried Communion

Two Italian bishops have gone public about allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the sacraments.

They say their decisions are in line with Pope Francis’s 2016 document on the family, Amoris Laetitia.

One of the bishops, Renato Marangoni, wrote a formal apology for having “ignored” these couples in parish life.

He said he wants to speak to families “that have experienced situations which led you to separation or also to divorce, and beyond this, to begin new unions for which some have chosen to remarry civilly or not to get married,”.

He also wants to open “a relationship of awareness, respect and dialogue” with these couples.

“For a long time, we declared that you couldn’t be fully admitted to the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist, while in many of you was the desire to be supported by the gift of the sacraments and the affection of the community”

It’s in these complicated situations “that personal responsibility needs to be supported and helped, precisely in its fragility,” and invited divorced or separated couples to a “friendly and family-style meeting” this coming Sunday.

Radio Spada, a well-known traditional Catholic site, responded to the letter, saying “there’s no call to abandon a gravely sinful situation that puts the eternal destiny of one’s soul at risk, no mention of the high Christian values of chastity and the holiness of the family, no reference to the unity and indissolubility of marriage.

“More than a letter of a successor of the Apostles, it’s a letter of a successor of the Apostates,”.

However, another Italian bishop, Corrado Pizziolo, is preparing to publish guidelines on implementing Amoris.

These will allow divorced and remarried Catholics without an annulment to receive the sacraments on a case-by-case basis.

Vatican-watcher Francesco Grana says Marangoni and Pizziolo’s decisions are “important initiatives”.

They “mark a change in mentality, especially within the Italian Church” and are a sign “that the processes strongly desired and initiated by Bergoglio are beginning to bear fruit,” Grana said.

Describing Amoris is an invitation from the pope, Pizziolo said it involves not only paying attention, “but also to act operatively, both in ordering the announcement of the Gospel, and in the attention, care and integration of wounded families.”

He says the guidelines, which will be released this week, have been prepared “in filial obedience to the indications of the pope.”

“Amoris Laetitia does not intend to take away any ecclesial or canonical discipline and to therefore admit all possible situations of couples to all ecclesial acts,” Pizziolo said.

The novelty is in “providing for certain couples who do not fully live Christian marriage, beyond what opportunities already existed before, the possibility of accessing participation in the sacrament.”


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