Polish Bishops Conference Says No Communion for Civilly Divorced & ‘Remarried’

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by Nicole Hunter
Vatican bracing for new revelations of finance mismanagement as Francis
On October 24, the Synod Fathers submitted a 49 page document with 94 propositions to Pope Francis after they had been voted by the official delegates of the Synod.

The recently concluded synod on family held in Vatican will help revitalise the Church in India, Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, has said.

Reflecting on the nature of a bishops’ synod, and noting the recent 50th anniversary of the Catholic Church’s Synod of Bishops, he encouraged the Chaldean bishops to embrace a view of authority as service.

Inside the Vatican City, a contentious bishops meeting has come to a close. The pope, however, had the last word and it could be many months before he issues the official document that will become the church’s teaching on “family matters”. While the document doesn’t chart any specific path to receiving Communion as originally sought by the liberals, it opens the door to case-by-case exceptions. He called the document a “historic step”.

The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit author, said discernment and the examination of one’s conscience in spiritual direction have always been part of the church’s tradition.

Yet despite the positive tone with which the group begins its statement, it proceeds to list a series of criticisms of the synod’s final document. This is not, one expects, what Pope Francis wanted, but it’s what happened, and that in itself is a missed opportunity.

The Chaldean Catholic Church has a presence in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Israel and Egypt, as well as France and the U.S. There are more than 400,000 Chaldean Catholics around the world, the Catholic Near East Welfare Association reports. The Latin American bishops, he said, want an end to pollution, to the destruction of the forests and the disappearance of biodiversity, but they also want justice for their people, the majority of whom do not benefit from the exploitation of resources taken from their countries. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: “If these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage”. The Australian Cardinal also explained how clergy, ordinary Catholics and all people should navigate their way through the “virtual synod”.

In the unprecedented call Catholic Church leaders from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Oceania said the global agreement “should limit global temperature increases to avoid catastrophic climatic impacts, especially on the most vulnerable communities”.

But the conflicting interpretations – witnessed in headlines and Catholic blogs in Italy and elsewhere Sunday – underscored the contention and confusion that remains on issues like divorce, homosexuality and cohabitation for Catholics. Noting their lands’ role in Biblical history, the pope said Chaldeans witnessed the start of the Patriarch Abraham’s journey, heard the prophets during the exile of the Israelites, and saw “the foundation of the first churches upon the blood of many martyrs”.

“We’re pastors and we’re not scientists”, the archbishop said.

The final synod document restated Church teachings that gays should not suffer discrimination in society, but also repeated the stand that there was “no foundation whatsoever” for same-sex marriage, which “could not even remotely” be compared to heterosexual unions.

In its headline, Illinois Giornale, a conservative Italian newspaper, summed up the conclusions in four words: “Divorcees yes, gays no”, a reference to the bishops’ clear rejection of gay marriage.

Brother Herve Janson of the Little Brothers of Jesus told reporters he considered refusing to accept the invitation to participate, given that his status in the church is the same as a sister who heads a religious order of nuns.

Nevertheless, progressive bishops welcomed the newly forgiving approach to divorce.

The best example of conflicting interpretations was, perhaps, on the issue of whether divorced Catholics who have remarried without an annulment could receive the sacrament of communion.