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Bishops of Malta: divorced/remarried should receive Communion if ‘at peace with God’

January 13, 2017

The Catholic bishops of Malta, in guidelines for the implementation of Amoris Laetitia, have said that those who are divorced and remarried should receive Communion if, after a careful consideration of their situation, they are “at peace with God.”

The bishops write that Catholics who are divorced and remarried should undertake a process of discernment about their unions. If they have entered a new marital relationship, the bishops say, they should “examine the possibility of conjugal continence.” But in some cases, the guidelines say, abstinence might be “humanly impossible.”

The Malta bishops conclude that if “a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she is at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.”

The Malta guidelines, issued by Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Bishop Mario Grech, were reproduced in the official Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.


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  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Jan. 14, 2017 11:53 AM ET USA

    This is, frankly, the lazy way out of the bishops' responsibility to work with these technically-in-adultery couples to regularize their situation. There must be some reason to declare the first marriage null from the beginning. After that process, which always involves notifying the other party, the nullity of marriage 1 can enable the convalidation of the marriage "attempt." Don't shirk the responsibility just because it's difficult.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jan. 14, 2017 3:02 AM ET USA

    "At peace with God." That's a curious phrase for a Catholic to utter. About the only time I find myself at relative peace with God is just after I say my penance. I say "relative" peace because even though I have just firmly resolved "to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin," I know in my mind that even if I don't sin, I will succumb to one imperfection or other: a careless word, a bad example, a skipped prayer, etc. My day to day hope is for God's mercy until my next Confession.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jan. 13, 2017 11:40 PM ET USA

    All Bishops of the Church in unity with the Pope have to agree on these issues, or the ongoing tension will be divisive and destructive to the Church, eventually leading to a schism. Currently, great majority of Catholic Bishops around the world unequivocally reject admitting civilly "re-married" to Holy Communion as being incompatible with the teachings of Christ.

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Jan. 13, 2017 8:22 PM ET USA

    These Bishops are wrong in that Reconcilation is always open to one who truly has a contrite heart. These bishops are trying to open Pandora's box which will have terrible consequences. Malta used to be a very Catholic country but lately has their heads in the dumps.

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Jan. 13, 2017 7:47 PM ET USA

    No point in trying to say anything about this as Fr. Thomas Petri, OP ‎has nailed it with his tweet "Bishops & conferences promulgating diametrically opposing norms and people still want to say #AmorisLaetitia ch 8 needs no clarification?"

  • Posted by: Travelling - Jan. 13, 2017 6:49 PM ET USA

    Just disgusting. No regard for the spiritual wellbeing of the souls entrusted to them.

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Jan. 13, 2017 5:52 PM ET USA

    The Catholic bishops of Malta have no power to say this because they are bound by divine law: Jesus'teaching on divorce and remarriage. The Church long ago rejected situation ethics which the Maltese bishops are pushing based on subjective decisions about peace with God! They ignore the reality of self-deception and human willfulness. This is also an attack on the Word of God 1 Cor 11:27 concerning worthiness to receive the Eucharist. Sadly this is a desired Francis effect

  • Posted by: stpetric - Jan. 13, 2017 5:44 PM ET USA

    Sounds for all the world like an "internal forum annulment". This can of worms is only beginning to crack open.

  • Posted by: ElizabethD - Jan. 13, 2017 5:01 PM ET USA

    I am failing to imagine circumstances other than rape, in which it is humanly impossible to avoid having sex. And if a person is being raped by the person they are living with then isn't it right to advise them to separate?!