Philadelphia archbishop: Divorced Catholics must avoid sex

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia is closing the door opened by Pope Francis to letting civilly remarried Catholics receive Communion, saying the faithful in his archdiocese can only do so if they abstain from sex and live "as brother and sister."

Archbishop Charles Chaput, who is known for strongly emphasizing strict adherence to Catholic doctrine, issued a new set of pastoral guidelines for clergy and other leaders in the archdiocese that went into effect July 1. The guidelines reflect a stance taken by St. John Paul II.

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"Undertaking to live as brother and sister is necessary for the divorced and civilly remarried to receive reconciliation in the Sacrament of Penance, which could then open the way to the Eucharist," the guidelines read.

Church teaching says that unless divorced and remarried Catholics received an annulment—a church decree that their first marriage was invalid—they are committing adultery and cannot receive the sacrament of Communion.

Chaput says the new instructions stem from Francis' sweeping document on family life released in April. That document—called "The Joy of Love"—opened a door to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

Francis didn't create a church wide admission to Communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics as some progressives had wanted. But in the April document, he suggested bishops and priests could do so on a case-by-case basis in what could become a significant development in church practice.

John Paul II, in his 1982 document on the family, proposed the brother-sister option for divorced and remarried couples as the only way they could receive Communion.

In Francis' revision of that document, which conservatives like Chaput have criticized for sowing confusion, Francis made clear that John Paul's proposal was simply unrealistic and unhealthy for families.

In a footnote to "The Joy of Love," Francis wrote that many people, while acknowledging the brother-sister option, "point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking, it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers."

The Philadelphia guidelines say Catholics in same-sex partnerships, civilly remarried parishioners and unmarried couples living together should not be permitted to serve on parish councils, instruct the faithful, serve as lectors or dispense Communion.

Such "irregular" relationships "offer a serious counter-witness to Catholic belief, which can only produce moral confusion in the community," the guidelines state, acknowledging it is a "hard teaching."

The new guidelines also address Catholics "who experience same-sex attraction." Chaput says such parishioners can still live out a heterosexual marriage with children, despite that attraction. Others in same-sex relationships should avoid sexual intimacy.

The guidelines, posted on the archdiocese website, urge leaders in the archdiocese to offer compassion, love, guidance and respect to all parishioners.

Bishops wield enormous authority in their dioceses in laying down such guidelines and interpreting church doctrine. Since Francis only offered bishops the option of case-by-case allowances in his April document, Chaput with these guidelines is clearly opting out for the church's nearly 1.5 million members in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

After the papal document was released, several U.S. bishops said that, according to their interpretations, Francis' statement did not require any change in the practice of barring communion for Catholics who divorce and remarry without an annulment.

The Rev. Thomas Reese, senior analyst for the National Catholic Reporter, said Wednesday that he thinks Francis is empowering bishops to make their own judgment calls on how church teaching should be applied in their diocese.

"Somebody in the diocese next door could release a letter that says something totally different," Reese said.

Robert Bankle, a retired editor of a construction publication who volunteers as a greeter at Philadelphia's Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, said Wednesday he sees the guidelines as a clarification Chaput was obliged to make.

"If something's not clear, let's make it clear, even if it's unpopular," said the 75-year-old from Bucks County, just outside the city. "If you want to be a member of the Catholic Church, these are the guidelines, these are the rules, these are the laws." If people disagree, he said, "don't be a Catholic."

Mia Trotz, an 18-year-old college student from Philadelphia who was selling water ice outside the cathedral, said she didn't think the guidelines made sense.

"The whole part about being a good Catholic or Christian is helping people or being more accepting of people, but most of the time they're going against what they're telling you to do," she said of church leaders.

"I'm Catholic but I don't agree with everything they do or believe, so it's kind of hard to be Catholic sometimes."

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Associated Press writers Megan Trimble and Dake Kang in Philadelphia and Nicole Winfield in Rome contributed to this report.

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Ignatius Theophorus
1 year 10 months ago
The Eastern Orthodox understand that celibacy is a calling. Not everyone can be or should be a monk. And if one is not called to it, the celibate life can be damaging to the soul. Which is why they allow remarriage after counseling by a priest, repentance and confession. The Catholic Church too often approaches things as All Rule and No Spirit, and it is a disservice to the laity. (And, by the way, clergy people, the laity have their OWN chrism, and you should sometimes listen to them.)
L J
1 year 10 months ago
1 Corinthians 7:9 is a Scripture quote that comes to mind which you might be referencing, a Scripture never referenced by those obsessed about lust. "but if they cannot exercise self-control they should marry, for it is better to marry than to be on fire."
Barry Fitzpatrick
1 year 10 months ago
These guidelines are painful to read, and on their surface they reveal a "noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." (I Cor 13:1) It really is a simple as that for those who struggle to live their Catholic faith in these times. The guidelines reveal an obsession with sexual activity, and their implementation plunges Archbishop Chaput and others who mandate such guidelines further into the abyss of irrelevance. "Rules are rules," the mother of a bride-to-be yelled at me recently. "Makes for an awfully small Church, no?" I replied. This is just one more example of exclusion because of human rules made up to satisfy agenda that is narrow-minded and demeaning to anyone deemed different or less than acceptable. Did this man not hear one thing his guest from Rome said last October?
Bruce Snowden
1 year 10 months ago
Archbishop Chaput seems like an angry man, even uncompassionate, judging from the photo with the article and what he says. . I'm surprised and also disappointed that a follower of the Little Poor Man from Assisi, a Capuchin Franciscan Friar Bishop, Charles Chaput, should appear so far removed from St. Francis of Assisi, an outstanding example of Joy and humility, whose example he solemnly vowed to emulate. Also St. Francis of Assisi was first and foremost in obedience to the Pope, totally respectful. The Archbishop seems to be wandering away from that. If the job as Archbishop of Philadelphia is stressing him out too much, maybe the he ought to resign and go back to a Capuchin Friary to reignite his apparently lost Franciscan charisma of humility, simplicity, absolute reverence towards the Pope and above all Joy. I feel badly for him that apparently he has lost what he once had, Franciscan spirit demonstrated so well by Holy Father Pope Francis.
Lisa Weber
1 year 10 months ago
Jesus indicates that sexuality is private. What a relief it would be if the church bothered to follow that teaching! It would spare all of us the irrelevant "bishop in the bedroom" commentary. Any adult with a sex life knows that one does not entertain thoughts of third parties while in bed: this includes parents, neighbors, the spouse's best friend, or the clergy.
Dimitri Cavalli
1 year 10 months ago
When did Christ say that? To get to heaven, you have to go Mass, receive sacraments, perform good works (which isn't the same thing as shilling for the expansion of the welfare state and progressive causes), and abstain from sin, including the sexual ones, and obtain forgiveness through the sacrament of Confession when we do sin. How "compassionate" is it to turn a blind eye to more common sins and or start telling people that such conduct is no big deal and have them risk their eternal life?
L J
1 year 10 months ago
They will do fine. Let the Bishops teach through example because as of now, they have lost their salt and many should lose their crosiers.
L J
1 year 10 months ago
Once again some prelates have a lust for the sin of lust. Would that they had such a passion for wiping out Pride, the father of all sins, Greed, Wrath, Envy, Gluttony and Sloth. Pride, as Chaput well knows, was seen in the calumny some prelates showed by going to the mainstream media, writing scandalous articles and cemented "confusion" (as Raymond Burke is fond of claiming), in the children of God. Thus he will have to understand that we shake the dust off of our sandals at their attention seeking behavior on sex when Pride, Wrath, Gluttony and Sloth are daily staples on which prelates frolick. Look at them!!! Our Bishop teeters on the altar, when he shows up at our Cathedral, barely able to celebrate Mass at 350 lbs! He cant even kneel at Consecration! , Archbishop Chaput, welcome aboard to the Congregation of Bishops. We have you liffed in prayer to bring us holy men of the cloth as Shepherds to the lost!
J Cosgrove
1 year 10 months ago
deleted and posted above
Sandi Sinor
1 year 10 months ago
It was Archbishop Cupich of Chicago who was appointed to the Congregation of Bishops. Not Chaput, fortunately, for which many give thanks.
J Cosgrove
1 year 10 months ago
Bishop Chaput is just articulating what has been Church doctrine since the beginning. Obviously disobeyed by the millions, but nevertheless official Church doctrine. Here is a comment I made two or three times on this site in the last few years.
Several years ago I had a conversation with an ex seminarian who was a Catholic in good standing and had married a Catholic girl and was having a family (his first child was recently born). The conversation got around to religion and then to sex as a religious issue. He said that there are several issues with sex. One was just what sexual acts were permitted and why. The second thing we discussed was just who was permitted to have sexual acts. He said the Church's long standing position was that these acts should take place only within marriage for several reasons. But one he said will forever prevent the Church countenancing sexual acts outside of marriage. He called it the boundary problem. If sexual acts are permitted outside of marriage then just who will be allowed to do them.He said with marriage there were very clear boundaries but outside of marriage there are none. And if one group were permitted to do them then there would be no real restraint on anyone. There is no natural age limit since in the past teenagers commonly married and an arbitrary cut-off of say 21 or 18 or 16 would never work. Before you know it you would have 10 year olds experimenting and no one thinks that is good for society.Our conversation never turned to same sex relationships since at that time it was not an issue. But the same reasoning applies here too. Just what is permitted and by whom? People can object all they want to the Church's so called antiquated and illiberal position but it is the only one that makes sense because there is no solution to the boundary problem other than marriage.
The Church has no other choice but to maintain this position because any other is chaos.
Carlos Orozco
1 year 10 months ago
In these times of homosexual "marriage", where everything goes in the name of "love", one can best appreciate and fully understand that not following God's plan leads to disaster. By ridiculing the teachings of the Church, many people now find themselves making mockery of marriage and, ultimately, of society as a whole.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 10 months ago
I do not think this article accurately represents what the Archbishop said or what the Pope said in Amoris Laetitia. I worry there is a political agenda being pushed here, trying to sow opposition among the bishops where at most there are differences of emphasis in a shared uniform teaching (recall the fond remarks of Pope Francis for Abp Chaput and vice versa at the World Meeting of Families last year). Notice that this article does not contain a link to what Abp Chaput said and that the photograph was no doubt selected to send a negative message of the Archbishop (this trick fooled Bruce below – see his comment). Here it is a link to Archbishop Chaput’s document: http://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/AOP_AL-guidelines.pdf By my read, Archbishop Chaput’s document is full of empathy, mercy and understanding, and of using all approved Church-sanctioned means (i.e. those approved by Pope Francis) to getting the person back into full communion with the Church, if they are not, including a timely annulment process, which is strongly encouraged in the document. The document also notes that Pope Francis is AL said “neither the Synod nor this Exhortation could be expected to provide a new set of general rules, canonical in nature and applicable to all cases” [Amoris Laetitia 300] and that Cardinal Schönborn confirmed this meaning. Here are some other quotes: “Church ministers, moved by mercy, should adopt a sensitive pastoral approach in all such situations – an approach both patient but also faithfully confident in the saving truth of the Gospel and the transforming power of God’s grace, trusting in the words of Jesus Christ, who promises that “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free (Jn 8:32). Pastors should strive to avoid both a subjectivism that ignores the truth or a rigorism that lacks mercy.” “Likewise, parishes should be keenly concerned for the spiritual good of those who find themselves separated or divorced for a long time. Some persons, aware that a valid marriage bond is indissoluble, consciously refrain from a new union and devote themselves to carrying out their family and Christian duties. They face no obstacle to receiving Communion and other sacraments. Indeed, they should receive the sacraments regularly, and they deserve the warm support of the Christian community, since they show extraordinary fidelity to Jesus Christ. God is faithful to them even when their spouses are not, a truth that fellow Catholics should reinforce.” “In some cases, one can reasonably ask whether an original marriage bond was valid, and thus whether grounds may exist for a decree of nullity (an “annulment”). In our age, such grounds are not uncommon. People in those circumstances should be strongly encouraged to seek the assistance of a marriage tribunal of the Church.” “The divorced and remarried should be welcomed by the Catholic community. Pastors should ensure that such persons do not consider themselves as “outside” the Church. On the contrary, as baptized persons, they can (and should) share in her life. They are invited to attend Mass, to pray, and to take part in the activities of the parish. Their children – whether from an original marriage or from their current relationship – are integral to the life of the Catholic community, and they should be brought up in the faith. Couples should sense from their pastors, and from the whole community, the love they deserve as persons made in the image of God and as fellow Christians.” “At the same time, as Amoris Laetitia notes, priests should “accompany [the divorced and remarried] in helping them to understand their situation according to the teaching of the Church and the guidelines of the bishop. Useful in this process is an examination of conscience through moments of reflection and penance. The divorced and remarried should ask themselves: how they have acted toward their children when the conjugal union entered into crisis; if they made attempts at reconciliation; what has become of the abandoned party; what consequences does the new relationship have on the rest of the family and the community of the faithful; and what example is being set for young people who are preparing for marriage” [Amoris Laetitia 300]. Amoris Laetitia continues: “What we are speaking of is a process of accompaniment and discernment which ‘guides the faithful to an awareness of their situation before God. . . . [T]his discernment can never prescind from the Gospel demands of truth and charity as proposed by the Church’” [Amoris Laetitia 300]. “In light of this, priests must help the divorced and civilly-remarried to form their consciences according to the truth. This is a true work of mercy. It should be undertaken with patience, compassion and a genuine desire for the good of all concerned, sensitive to the wounds of each person, and gently leading each toward the Lord. Its purpose is not condemnation, but the opposite: a full reconciliation of the person with God and neighbor, and restoration to the fullness of visible communion with Jesus Christ and the Church. In fact, pastors must always convey Catholic teaching faithfully to all persons – including the divorced and remarried – both in the confessional as well as publicly. They should do this with great confidence in the power of God’s grace, knowing that, when spoken with love, the truth heals, builds up, and sets free (cf. Jn 8:32)." "Can the divorced and civilly-remarried receive the sacraments? As a general matter, baptized members of the Church are always in principle invited to the sacraments. The confessional’s doors are always open to the repentant and contrite of heart. What of Communion? Every Catholic, not only the divorced and civilly-remarried, must sacramentally confess all serious sins of which he or she is aware, with a firm purpose to change, before receiving the Eucharist. In some cases, the subjective responsibility of the person for a past action may be diminished. But the person must still repent and renounce the sin, with a firm purpose of amendment."
Daniel P Quinn
1 year 10 months ago
Isn't Philadelphia the City of Brotherly Love alla St Francis or am I missing something ? Perhaps gluttony has overtaken love and compassion in this Bishop's myopic life !!!!
Tim O'Leary
1 year 10 months ago
Daniel - you are missing something really big! Brotherly Love, and the love of St. Francis does not mean eros but the agape Christian love. This is also missing in your use of gluttony and myopia!!!
William Rydberg
1 year 10 months ago
IMHO its gutless for America Magazine to run an AP sourced Article on this important subject rather than report directly. Only a rube would not pick up on the Senior Editor's motive. And is in my opinion, more evidence of the New York Provincial's lack of Oversight.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 10 months ago
The title of this AP article would have been no more and no less accurate if it read: "Pope Francis: Divorced Catholics Must Avoid Sex" and if the following picture of the Holy Father was attached http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1317371/images/n-POPE-FRANCIS-628x314.jpg. The Editors need to examine their consciences on their motives for posting this AP article.
Michael Barberi
1 year 10 months ago
There is significant disagreement among bishops about the interpretation and implementation of Amoris Laetititia. Of note, consider the interpretation of Bishop McElroy, Bishop of San Diego which is quite different from Bishop Chaput. You can google this issue.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 10 months ago
Hello Michael - I think the length and style of Amoris Laetitia has allowed for some differences in interpretation, although I think the stark differences raised by the media are just not out there (see below Pope Francis' frustration about this). I also think that the implementation will not differ greatly, especially since Pope Francis has stressed that AL did not in any way change doctrine. I think a reading of the actual document of Archbishop Chaput (notably, both a Franciscan Capuchin and the first Native American (Potawatomi tribe) to be made Archbishop) would show its continuity with the Holy Father. Here is a quote from Pope Francis responding to a question re footnote 351: "One of the recent popes, speaking of the Council, said that there were two councils: the Second Vatican Council in the Basilica of St. Peter, and the other, the council of the media. When I convoked the first synod, the great concern of the majority of the media was communion for the divorced and remarried, and, since I am not a saint, this bothered me, and then made me sad. Because, thinking of those media who said, this, this and that, DO YOU NOT REALIZE THAT THAT IS NOT THE IMPORTANT PROBLEM? (my emphasis). Don’t you realize that instead the family throughout the world is in crisis? Don’t we realize that the falling birth rate in Europe is enough to make one cry? And the family is the basis of society. Do you not realize that the youth don’t want to marry? Don’t you realize that the fall of the birth rate in Europe is to cry about? Don’t you realize that the lack of work or the little work (available) means that a mother has to get two jobs and the children grow up alone? These are the big problems. I DON"T REMEMBER THE FOOTNOTE (my emphasis), but for sure if it’s something general in a footnote it’s because I spoke about it, I think, in ‘Evangelii Gaudium.’" http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/full-text-of-pope-francis-in-flight-interview-from-lesbos-to-rome-97242/ Also, the AP title is certainly not an accurate interpretation of Chaput's words. He explicitly encourages separated and divorced Catholics who are not in an extramarital affair to have recourse of the sacraments as frequently as possible. See my quote below.
Michael Barberi
1 year 10 months ago
Hi Tim, I think we will continue to have our differences as it relates to these kinds of things. AL did not change doctrine but it did emphasize the spirit of the law, the role of an informed conscience and mercy in moral dilemmas. I have been following this issue from the beginning and many bishops differ considerably with Bishop Chaput's interpretation especially with respect to Holy Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics. It is too early to know the results of AL's implementation because it will take time for all the bishops to study, debate and make decisions.. I await Bishop McElroy's approach which you can read about with little effort because it is dramatically different than Bishop Chaput's. I also await how Archbishop Cupich of Chicago and Cardinal Schonborn of Vienna (to name a few) will implement AL. In the meantime, there will be many theologian conferences on AL and articles to come that will help to flesh out such disagreements of interpretation and implementation. All the best.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 10 months ago
Two excellent articles on the “Chaput Controversy” by Daily News reporters Christine M. Flowers & Ronnie Polaneczky on the philly.com website today. Both are excellent take-downs of Philadelphia Mayor Kenney & the 'shocked' media. Flowers is especially hilarious. Here is Polaneczky: “In Amoria Laetitia, Francis clearly reiterates that marriage is between a man and woman, monogamous, open to new life, and permanent (except when it can be annulled, but that's for another column). Any sexual relationship other than that is "irregular." This includes same-sex unions; cohabitating unmarried sexual partnerships; and divorced and civilly remarried ones. "We need to acknowledge the great variety of family situations that can offer a certain stability," Francis writes, "but de facto or same-sex unions, for example, may not simply be equated with marriage." And in discussing the dignity and mission of the family, Francis quotes the Synod Gang directly: "There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family." So Chaput and the pope are on the same page, even if Kenney and others - including me - don't like it.” “Where the pope is unequivocal, though, is in not allowing certain Catholics to be in leadership positions, which is not to say he sees no place for them in the church. "Naturally, if someone flaunts an objective sin as if it were part of the Christian ideal, or wants to impose something other than what the Church teaches, he or she can in no way presume to teach or preach to others," he writes. "This is a case of something which separates from the community . . ."Yet even for that person there can be some way of taking part in the life of community, whether in social service, prayer meetings or another way that his or her own initiative, together with the discernment of the parish priest, may suggest." "So - sorry, Mayor Kenney - if prickly Chaput's guidelines make him un-Christian, then the warm 'n' cuddly pope is un-Christian, too.” And here is Christine Flowers: “Chaput did not simply focus on sexual issues and marriage, but you would not know that from the reaction to his announcement. That is because news reports obsessed over the fact that gays, lesbians, noncelibate divorcees, and noncelibate unmarried couples were told that they could not receive Communion since they were not in a "state of grace." Many Philadelphians, Catholic and not, did not appreciate that earth-shattering, completely unprecedented, and wholly unexpected observation that those who are engaging in sexual intimacy outside of valid marriages should not take Communion. Yes, I know, it's shocking that the Catholic church is just now clarifying something that puzzled generations of the faithful. You do not need the Rosetta Stone to decipher this particular principle. As noted by Kenneth Gavin, spokesman for the Archdiocese: "The notion that a person needs to be in a state of grace to receive Communion is nothing new. That goes back to St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians. 'Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.' " "But Jim Kenney, whose tenure as a constitutional scholar ended the moment he trashed the First Amendment by suggesting that Chick-fil-A be banned from doing business in the city because its owner expressed his personal opposition to same-sex marriage, has decided to become a theologian. Drawing on his vast knowledge of canon law, he has decided that Archbishop Chaput is "not Christian" and formalized that pronouncement in, what else, a tweet. And many Philadelphians who couldn't distinguish a state of grace from the State of Alaska applauded him.” “It is true that many Catholics disagree with the church's teachings on chastity. They are well within their right to protest with their feet. But they do not get to rewrite centuries of established doctrine simply because this doesn't fit their user-friendly view from the pew. It may be upsetting to unmarried, sexually active gays and lesbians (or gays united in a marriage not recognized by the church) to be told that they are not in a state of grace and that they are, in fact, sinning. But it can't be a shock." “So this whole controversy about Chaput's directives is a sham, created by people who get a kick out of trashing a church that, by its mere existence, makes them uncomfortable. Those who point fingers and talk about how the church is in no position to preach about morality are exactly the sort of people who preach about morality, the kind that says you should be able to do whatever makes you feel good.” http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20160711_Chaput_controversy_is_a_sham.html
Michael Barberi
1 year 10 months ago
Below is a Washington Post article that demonstrates the differences in interpretation and implementation of Bishop Chaput and Bishop McElroy. They are not the same and this reflects, in part, the divide over AL with our Church. Pope Francis urged mercy toward divorced Catholics. Now bishops ... https://www.washingtonpost.com/.../pope-francis-urge...
Tim O'Leary
1 year 10 months ago
Michael - your link to the Washington Post article does not work. At his installation, Bishop McElroy prioritized mercy in the following way: “We have just celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday, which Pope John Paul II established as a witness to the centrality of mercy in the life of the church. Pope Benedict captured the essence of this theme when he taught that “mercy is the central nucleus of God’s message...as Pope Francis concluded last Sunday in his proclamation of the jubilee year, mercy must be “the very foundation of the church’s life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers; nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy.” THIS DOES NOT MEAN EVACUATING THE MORAL LAW OF ITS SUBSTANCE AND CHALLENGE (my emphasis). But it must mean that the Church is called to follow the pastoral pattern of the lord himself toward all those he encountered in the gospels: first embracing them with loving mercy, then healing their wounds, and only then proclaiming the moral law of reform.” Note the clear sense of continuity with the last three popes. I too can heartily support the embracing-healing-proclaiming triad, and I think Abp Chaput did that too in his full document, although he might have differed in the sequence, just as Jesus did, depending on the circumstance. The key is the duty to do all three. Bishop McElroy still has the pastoral duty to teach against the secular culture, as he did recently when he pointed out how the re-definition of marriage by the supreme court was against the Gospel. http://www.missionsandiego.org/bishop-robert-w-mcelroys-statement-on-the-supreme-court-of-the-united-states-ruling-on-same-sex-marriage/
Michael Barberi
1 year 10 months ago
Sorry Tim. Try the link below. Incidentally, I live in northern San Diego and I am very familiar with Bishop McElroy. I am not going to enter into a lengthy argument with you over the different interpretations and implementations of AL among the bishops and moral theologians. This will only lead into your choosing one set of statements and arguments, and I another which will not be productive. I read AL carefully and I am quite convinced, as do others, in what it says and does not say. Pope Francis gave much leeway to the bishops when he wrote AL. It is much more about the spirit of the law, than the letter of the law. It is wiser for you and I to wait and see precisely how the bishops implement AL especially for the divorced and remarried. At this point, it is too early to know how the various bishops will handle the divorced and remarried. My prediction is that we will see some diocese and priests guide the divorced and remarried to form their consciences correctly, e.g, the internal forum, in the spirit that Pope Francis suggested in AL, et al. You and I will mostly differ on these kinds of things, as we have in the past. If the link below does not work, try googling the wording below. You should see the article I refer to. If not, I can send you an excellent article by two prominent theologians and their analysis of AL. Pope Francis urged mercy toward divorced ... - Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/.../pope-francis-urged-mercy-tow...The Washington Post 3 days ago - In May, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy took a very different approach, calling for a special meeting in his diocese in the fall to discuss the ...
Vincent Gaglione
1 year 10 months ago
OK… the rules have once more been explicitly stated. So there is no doubt as to what they are. Having done so, we are still left with the question that Pope Francis asks of us, what are we doing to encourage those who do not follow the rules to be more participatory in the life of the Catholic Church, not only for their own benefit, for the benefit of any families or children that they have, but also for the benefit of the Church’s members, because Christ’s love, justice, and mercy does not solely reside in those who follow the rules. I know too many such people who are more Christian than some rules followers. That’s what I find exasperatingly and frighteningly missing in almost all the commentary here.
Michael Barberi
1 year 10 months ago
Vincent, Below is an excellent article analyzing and explaining Amoris Laetitia. It was written by two prominent moral theologians, Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler of Creighton University. I hope it gives you and all of us more hope that more Catholics will be encouraged to participate in the Catholic Church, especially those who feel disenfranchised. I hope the link works. http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/493823a6#/493823a6/43
James Addison
1 year 10 months ago
I would appreciate hearing the opinions of others on another area of Abp. Chaput's pastoral guidelines, namely the instructions on those who should / should not be permitted to serve on parish councils or serve as lectors. For the sake of this particular argument, I am willing to cede ground on the restrictions noted for those in positions of "instructing the faithful" and "dispensing Communion". 1. What is the basis of this restriction? I have searched the Catechism and the GIRM, and have not found justification for Abp. Chaput's exclusion. 2. Is the notion of "serious counter-witness to Catholic belief, which can ONLY produce moral confusion in the community" applicable only to these categories of irregular sexual relationships? Again, for the sake of this argument, I am willing to concede that some "restrictions on" or "qualifications for" might apply to certain roles within the parish community. But who else should NOT be allowed to serve on parish councils? Who else should NOT be allowed to serve as lectors? I think the Abp.'s guidelines might be more acceptable if they included a broader set of criteria of those considered ineligible for these postions. Surely there are other categories of parishioners that by their occupations, activities, relationships and affiliations offer serious counter-witness to Catholic belief. Elected officials of the Democrat party, possibly? registered Democrats? 3. What restrictions should apply to other members of the parish community? Musical directors? Organists? Choir members? are their relationships or practices less likely to produce moral confusion? Or should the restrictions be extended to these as well? Thank you for considering these questions in a spirit of genuine dialogue. peace, James
Michael Barberi
1 year 10 months ago
James, AL provides important guidelines that, in part, help answer your questions as well as other questions. No. 243. "It is important that the divorced who have entered into a new union should be made to feel part of the Church. "They are not excommunicated" and they should not be treated as such, since they remain part of the ecclesial community". No. 246. "For this reason, Christian communities must not abandon divorced parents who have entered a new union, but should include and support them in their efforts to bring up their children."How can we encourage those parents to do everything possible to raise their children in the Christina life, to give them an example of committed and practical faith." No. 250. "We would like before all else to reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration while every sign of unjust discrimination is to be carefully avoided." Based on the above, and other texts in AL, how can any bishop deny a divorced and remarried Catholic from serving on a parish council? How can any bishop deny a Catholic elementary education for the children of the divorced and remarried, or the children of gay Catholics in a same-sex civil marriage. Where do we drawn the line of the notion of "serious counter-witness to Catholic belief" and not discriminate but treat with dignity and respect and pastoral accompaniment? Where does the role of the informed conscience come into play when a divorced and remarried Catholic under the guidance of a priest judges that Holy Communion is what they need and is appropriate given their circumstances? Do we deny hiring Catholic gay adults as teachers of science and math in Catholic elementary schools? What if it is known that a Catholic teacher practices contraception? Do we fire her or not hire her? The interpretation and implementation of AL by bishops will vary. Some will side with Abp. Chapat while others will side with Cardinal Schonborn, Abp Cupich and Bishop McElroy even though it is unclear at this time precisely how they will implement AL. Nevertheless, I have much hope. Thank you for your questions. I wish I had all the answers.

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