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African Catholics reject Communion for divorced/remarried, theologian reports

March 21, 2017

In Africa, Catholics who are divorced and remarried do not expect to receive Communion, a Nigerian theologian told the Crux news site.

The publication of Amoris Laetitia has not stirred much debate on the question, Father Paulinus Odozor told Crux. “We settled that long ago,” he said. He explained:

If you go to the ordinary parishes in most of Africa, you will find that people who are in the situation you’re talking about would not present themselves for Communion because they already accept that these are the rules.

Father Odozor, who now teaches at Notre Dame, said that he was dismayed by the amount of attention Catholics in the Western world have focused on the question of Communion for the divorced and remarried, to the exclusion of other parts of the papal document.


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Mar. 22, 2017 5:55 PM ET USA

    Regarding Fr. Odozor's dismay, the reason for focusing on the problematic aspects of AL is just that: they are problematic. The bulk of AL is good pastoral advice, nothing really new, but most of it quite good. However, when a question arises as to the very nature of sin and responsibility itself, the nature of divine punishment and reward, the nature of justice in the afterlife, the nature of the Church's intrinsic reason for being, i.e., to save souls from hell; then alarms must be sounded.

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Mar. 22, 2017 9:54 AM ET USA

    Reception of Holy Communion in the state of sin is not a question of a "rule". Rules can be changed.

  • Posted by: shrink - Mar. 22, 2017 7:31 AM ET USA

    “We settled that long ago,” Hmmmm. Nice try. When the adulterer friend of Bergoglio travels to Africa, it will be Fr Odozor in Africa who will be following a different rule. Fra Matthew Festing of Malta also thought there were rules about contraception, until Bergoglio said there were none. As to Fr Odozor's "dismay" about the exclusion of the "other parts" of AL, I wonder if he was thinking about the new sex education program?

  • Posted by: claude-ccc2991 - Mar. 21, 2017 5:59 PM ET USA

    If only it were as simple as a matter of Communion or not. By reducing moral matters to conscience, Amoris threatens the whole of objective morality. The good Father's implied moral mathematics are invalid. 9 good parts and 1 bad do not make the 1 bad part less bad. Each good or bad part stands on its own merits or demerits, respectively. Moreover, a person wouldn't have to look very far to find more than one African prelate who are very worried about the questions of Communion and conscience.