The Catholic Church has not changed her practice towards divorced and civilly remarried Catholics — despite what the faithful may have been led to believe through the media or other sources, the Alberta and Northwest Territory bishops stated in pastoral guidelines released Wednesday.
It is “erroneous” to conclude that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can receive Holy Communion “if they simply have a conversation with a priest,” stated the guidelines, signed by the six bishops responsible for over 1,000,000 Catholics in five dioceses.
The 10-page document is intended to “answer the call of Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, particularly to assist priests in their duty to accompany those Catholics who are divorced and remarried without having received a decree of nullity,” noted a statement from Edmonton’s Archbishop Richard Smith, president of the Alberta-NWT bishops.
In Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia, the Holy Father makes it clear that the Church’s pastors are to accompany divorced and remarried with a “discernment filled with merciful love, which is ever ready to understand, forgive, accompany, hope, and above all integrate.”
The Alberta bishops letter is highly significant, however, because it does not mention the infamous footnote 351 to paragraph 305 in AL in which the pope states that “in certain cases,” this integration of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics “can include the help of the sacraments.”
This article continues at [Life Site] Alberta bishops: No Communion for ‘remarried’ Catholics unless they practice continence