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Cardinal Coccopalmerio insists: no confusion over Amoris Laetitia

February 22, 2017

Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, the author of a new book interpreting Amoris Laetitia, insists that there should be no confusion about the message of the papal document.

In an interview with the Crux news site, Cardinal Coccopalmerio said that the 8th chapter of Amoris Laetitia, which is the subject of his book, could cause some confusion, in part because it is “too long.” Because so many subjects are covered in that section, he said, “it necessarily becomes—I wouldn’t say confusing—but at least not so simple, not so clear.”

The cardinal, who is president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, said that he hoped his book would be helpful for people seeking to understand the Pope’s intentions. He said that his 50-page book aimed to provide a “simplification” of the document. But again he denied that there are grounds for confusion about the Pope’s message.

On the critical question of whether divorced and remarried Catholics may receive Communion, Cardinal Coccopalmerio said:

A member of the faithful finds herself [or himself] in a non-legitimate situation, and the first marriage is valid and indissoluble. Yet the person is conscious of the wrongness of the situation, has the desire to change it but can’t because it would hurt innocent people, such as the children. It’s my belief that this situation, with these elements, allows access to the sacraments.

The individual’s decision to receive the Eucharist should be ratified by a priest, the cardinal said, and perhaps a bishop should also be involved in the process of discernment.

The cardinal said that this logic would “clearly” not apply to homosexual couples.


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  • Posted by: jimr451 - Feb. 23, 2017 7:39 AM ET USA

    In our diocese, Bishop Chaput has given guidance that couples in this situation can "live chastely" (live as brother and sister), then would be able to receive communion. Here the cardinal states "the person is conscious of the wrongness of the situation, has the desire to change it but can't" - he doesn't include the above as an option. Isn't that a valid (though difficult) option to allow? BTW, if there "should be no confusion", then why did he write the book?

  • Posted by: mwean7331 - Feb. 22, 2017 8:29 PM ET USA

    This Bishop has "muddied" the water even more. "Wouldn't say it's confusing but at least not so simple" etc. Great clarification! It's simple. What did JESUS say about it? There were no and, ifs or buts in his decree.. Why remake the wheel? What would settle it all would for the Pope to confirm what Jesus said. End of discussion.

  • Posted by: feedback - Feb. 22, 2017 6:49 PM ET USA

    The Cardinal's insistence on "clarity" only adds to confusion.

  • Posted by: ALC - Feb. 22, 2017 6:19 PM ET USA

    Let's see if I understand this. There is no confusion but, since there is, he wrote a book trying to explain an overlong and not so clear chapter. Then he thinks that someone who "finds" himself in a second marriage without an annulment of the first valid one, can't change because it would hurt someone's feelings. I'll bet Jesus hurt a few feelings when he called the Pharisees hypocrites and whitewashed sepulchers. Or in Ch. 6 of St. John's gospel when they walked away from a hard saying.