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Canadian bishops: no change in policy on Communion for divorced/remarried

September 15, 2016

The Catholic bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories in Canada have issued new guidelines for priests regarding the pastoral care of divorced and remarried Catholics, saying that those who wish to receive Communion should resolve to live as brothers and sisters.

Acknowledging confusion among Catholics about the possibility of a change in Church teaching, the Canadian bishops' statement reads:

It may happen that, through media, friends, or family, couples have been led to understand that there has been a change in practice by the Church, such that now the reception of Holy Communion at Mass by persons who are divorced and civilly remarried is possible if they simply have a conversation with a priest. This view is erroneous.

In such cases, the bishops teach, pastors should accompany the couples in "a journey of healing and reconciliation," which would lead them to consult marriage tribunals. Citing the teaching of St. John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio, the bishops write that if a couple involved in an illicit second marriage is unwilling to spearate because of the children of that union, "they will need to refrain from sexual intimacy and live in chastity 'as brother and sister.'" 

 
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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Sep. 17, 2016 12:45 AM ET USA

    It appears as if the Canadian bishops would like to "un-mess" the messy situation we find ourselves in. Theirs is practical pastoral guidance, not theoretical gamesmanship.

  • Posted by: Travelling - Sep. 16, 2016 2:04 PM ET USA

    Clearly out and unequivocal. More please!