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Bishop Olmsted: Amoris Laetitia does not mean Communion for divorced/remarried Catholics

September 22, 2016

Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona, has announced that Catholics who are divorced and remarried should not receive the Eucharist.

Writing in his diocesan newspaper, Bishop Olmsted said that the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia does not change the Church's traditional teaching. On the contrary, he argued that the papal document is in keeping with the previous teachings of Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI "which reaffirm the constant tradition of the Church."

The Arizona bishop's interpretation of Amoris Laetitia contrasts with that of bishops in Argentina, who had written that in some cases Catholics who are divorced and married may be admitted to the Eucharist. Pope Francis has written that the Argentine bishops' statement "fully captures the meaning" of his document.

Bishop Olmsted welcomed the emphasis by Pope Francis on the need to reach out to divorced and remarried couples, and "accompany" them in their effort to live in accordance with Christian principles. "Accompaniment is possible, and should be the case in our parishes," the bishop wrote. "This does not, however, include receiving Holy Communion for those who are divorced and remarried."

Archbishop Charles Chaput has also announced that the traditional teachings of the Church regarding divorce and Communion will remain in effect in his Philadelphia archdiocese. 


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  • Posted by: Bernadette - Sep. 26, 2016 5:45 PM ET USA

    How can the bishop say that AL conforms to traditional teaching on receiving the Holy Eucharist when the pope says that it allows them to receive Holy Communion. Sounds like a contradiction here or is the bishop trying to remain on good terms with the pope? Can't be and not be at the same time. Principle of Non-Contradiction. Glad the bishop wrote the truth about Catholic teaching however.

  • Posted by: feedback - Sep. 23, 2016 3:10 PM ET USA

    I'm trying to see here the work of the Holy Spirit. This, perhaps, is a Divine invitation for Bishops (teachers of the Faith) and priests to avoid being ambiguous and too diplomatic in proclamation of the Gospel. Both St. John Paul and Benedict were clear and precise teachers but at times they seemed "alone" in the midst of (or even against) lukewarm clergy. Under Pope Francis the challenge is often reversed. But the Truth remains: eternally constant.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Sep. 23, 2016 7:00 AM ET USA

    It's Orwellian. In light of recent events these statements that Amoris Laetitia does not allow for Communion for divorced and remarried defy the Holy Father's own clarification. There is a disturbing divergence of reality among prelates. This is why popes have traditionally taught in exacting, traditionally familiar language for clarity- and even more profoundly- charity. Even if these two bishops are technically correct the damage is being done. Authority, in turn, devolves into absurdity.

  • Posted by: unum - Sep. 22, 2016 11:38 PM ET USA

    Well ... so much for a "welcoming environment" in the nation's parishes. We know the "rules" haven't changed! But, this is the same old bureaucratic language that Amoris Laetitia discouraged because it turns separated Catholics away. Does the Phoenix diocese even welcome fallen away Catholics? Their bishop gives the impression that they don't!

  • Posted by: aclune9083 - Sep. 22, 2016 7:03 PM ET USA

    God bless this holy and orthodox bishop. Like so many others (e.g., Archbishop Chaput), he understands and promulgates the authentic teaching of the Church. Let us remember that each bishop is a successor to the Apostles, charged with teaching the deposit of faith. The Pope, while important, is merely a first among equals; his musings and prevarications, as reported in the media, do not change the Magisterium, except in the rare occasion of an Ex Cathedra statement agreed by all the bishops.

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Sep. 22, 2016 6:53 PM ET USA

    Yes, yes, says the Pope, wink, wink