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Catholic World News

Not even a Pope can change Church teaching on marriage: Cardinal Sarah

November 19, 2015

Cardinal Robert Sarah, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, strongly reaffirms that Church’s teaching that divorced and remarried Catholics cannot receive Communion, in a powerful piece to be published by the French magazine L’Homme Nouveau.

“The entire Church has always firmly held that one may not receive communion with the knowledge of being in a state of mortal sin, a principle recalled as definitive by John Paul II in his 2003 encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” says Cardinal Sarah. He says that not even a Roman Pontiff can change the perennial teaching of the Church.

Without directly referring to the October session of the Synod of Bishops, the African cardinal argues forcefully against four points that were raised during that session:

  • that doctrinal questions can be settled or changed by a majority vote;
  • that the Eucharist should be offered to all without discrimination;
  • that divorced and remarried Catholics cannot be welcomed into active participation in parish life if they are not allowed to receive Communion; and
  • that family life in Africa is not as healthy as some African prelates (including Cardinal Sarah himself) have suggested.


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