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German bishop: allow Communion for divorced/remarried, despite Vatican disapproval

November 25, 2013

A German bishop has said that the country’s episcopal conference will move forward with plans to allow Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, despite clear disapproval from the Vatican.

Bishop Gebhard Fürst of Stuttgart told a lay group, the Central Committee of German Catholics, that the German bishops have already drafted new guidelines for the reception of Communion by divorced/remarried Catholics, and hope to vote their approval to those new rules in March 2014. Bishop Fürst said that the German hierarchy is responding to demands from the faithful. “Expectations are great, and impatience and anger are greater still,” he said.

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has instructed officials of the Freiburg archdiocese that they should retract a proposed policy that would allow divorced/remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist. That policy, Archbishop Müller said, “would cause confusion among the faithful about the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.”

A number of German bishops have pressed for change in the Church’s practice that bars Catholics who have divorced and remarried from receiving the Eucharist. (The only exceptions are for Catholics whose early marriages are annulled, or those who pledge to live with their new partners as “brother and sister.”) Pope Francis has suggested that the question should be addressed by the Synod of Bishops, which will meet in October 2014.


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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: DrJazz - Nov. 26, 2013 7:48 AM ET USA

    Time for another group of Germans to get excommunicated?

  • Posted by: koinonia - Nov. 26, 2013 7:40 AM ET USA

    The sacrament of Matrimony reflects in a particularly profound manner the mystical union of Christ to the Church. The marriage must have an enduring, indissoluble love. Divorce while a necessary evil when permissible is not the issue. It is the free act of the will to choose another. This is a choice and is avoidable. Those who will to do so choose themselves over the will of Christ expressed through his Church. This is the antipathy of love. This aversion to grace is proscriptive.

  • Posted by: Defender - Nov. 25, 2013 4:45 PM ET USA

    Is it any wonder that the laity think that the Magisterium is pliable when errant bishops (who obviously haven't taken their teaching responsibilities seriously) do things like this? And nothing from the Vatican? It's bad enough that errant politicians get away with idiocy, but this is just too much!

  • Posted by: lak321 - Nov. 25, 2013 4:34 PM ET USA

    I pray with all my heart that this bishop repents of his disobedience. And if not, that he will lose his position of authority. For myself, losing my marriage, with no possibility of remarriage, was the catalyst for my conversion. Those 'angry' parishioners are only shooting themselves in the foot by requesting the bishops to disobey God's laws, and denying themselves the means God gives them for their own sanctification. Caving to them will not only hurt themselves, but others as well.