If divorced Catholics remarry they are not allowed to receive the “eucharist” at mass. Why not? Because the church teaches remarried Catholics are living in “mortal” sin and anyone with “mortal” sin on their souls cannot receive communion. This wasn’t a problem fifty years ago but with today’s high divorce rate the church’s restrictive policy is giving many Catholics a good reason to stay home Sunday morning or even consider worship alternatives (hopefully where the true Gospel is preached).
The Catholic church’s canon lawyers are keeping busy these days cranking out “annulments” for first marriages but that is not always possible UNLESS your last name is Kennedy.
I recently heard a priest on Catholic talk radio say a remarried Catholic should wait until they’re on their deathbed when they could strategically confess their second marriage and be received back into the full graces of the church just prior to their death. Oy vey!
Pope Francis understands he has a PR nightmare on his hands and is trying to stem the exodus but I don’t see the Vatican changing its official policy on the communion ban for remarried Catholics any time soon. It would be unthinkable for this “infallible” pope to abrogate the policy of previous “infallible” popes, as much as he’d like to.
Unfortunately, the world’s increasingly casual approach toward marriage vows is rubbing off on Evangelical Christians. The Bible says divorce is permissible only in the cases of adultery or abandonment (Matthew 19:19 and 1 Cor. 7:15). But thank the Lord that the blood of Jesus Christ covers all sin.
Works-righteous Catholicism with its bevy of canon lawyers has more rules and regulations than Carter has pills. Thank the Lord for the simple but glorious Gospel of salvation by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE.
Pope Francis calls on church to welcome divorced Catholics
David Gibson, Religion News Service, August 5, 2015
Speaking out on one of the most contentious issues of his papacy, Pope Francis issued a powerful call Wednesday for the church to embrace Catholics who have divorced and remarried.
Such couples “are not excommunicated, and they absolutely must not be treated that way,” Francis told a Vatican crowd. “They always belong to the church.”
Francis asked pastors to welcome Catholics who have remarried without an annulment, even though such Catholics are currently barred in most cases from receiving the Eucharist, the central sacrament of the faith.
“The church is called to be always the open house of the father … no closed doors! No closed doors,” Francis told the crowd at his weekly public audience, which resumed after a month-long summer break.
Since he was elected in 2013, Francis has said that the church must be more merciful and open, and he has encouraged debate on changing pastoral practices to allow, for example, divorced and remarried Catholics to take communion.
That issue was one of several that inflamed unusually public debates at a major Vatican summit of bishops that the pope convened last October. The arguments — including how to welcome gay couples and those who are cohabiting — have continued to engage top churchmen in pointed exchanges ahead of a follow up summit, called a synod, set for October.
Many Vatican observers believe Francis wants to see some concrete changes, which his foes believe would be tantamount to heresy because it would undermine Jesus’ teaching on the indissolubility of marriage.
The issue of how to treat divorced and remarried Catholics is just one of many the bishops will debate, but it is a widespread pastoral problem and has come to stand for the bigger question of how, and even whether, the Catholic Church can change.
Francis himself has not endorsed any particular proposal, and in focusing on the topic on Wednesday he reiterated that “there is no easy solution for these situations.”
But he made it clear that he wanted the Catholic Church to take a new, more open approach.
“For how can we encourage these parents to raise their children in the Christian life, to give them an example of Christian faith, if we keep them at arm’s length?
“If we look at these new bonds (of remarried Catholics) with the eyes of small children – and the children do watch,” he said, “we see once again the urgency of developing in our communities a real welcome for people in such situations.”
The children are the ones who suffer most when their parents are shunned, Francis said.
How can the church, he said, “tell these parents to do everything to raise their children as Christians, giving them an example of a firm and practiced faith, if we keep them at arm’s length from the community, as if they were excommunicated?”
The church, he concluded, “must do everything not to add further burdens to those that children in these situations must already bear.”