Card. Coccopalmerio: When can the divorced receive the sacraments?

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One of the pope's most important documents is 'Amoris Laetitia,' which is about the family. Pope Francis dedicated one of the chapters on how to integrate divorced persons who have remarried into the life of the Church. Although many have simply reduced the message to 'the Church can allow communion in some cases' this was not his intention.  

POPE FRANCIS February 18, 2016 

'I know remarried Catholics who go to Church once or twice a year: 'I want to receive communion,' as if communion were a commendation. It is a matter of integration... the doors are all open. But one cannot just say: from now on 'they can take communion.' This would also wound the spouses, the couple, because it wonâ??t help them on the path to integration'  

Cardinal Coccopalmerio has written a short book about Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia. It touches on how the divorced who want to live out their faith could be helped by the Church.   

CARD. FRANCESCO COCCOPALMERIO President, Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts 

'I said to myself, and also to the others, let's read the text and try to understand it and to write it as simple as possible. Chapter 8 is complex because it includes so many deep things that are difficult to understand. It needs to be read with ease to piece together the various parts in a way so that the text can better understood'  In his book, he has proposed a way to include those Catholics who have been divorced and remarried, suggesting that each diocese have a priest or bishop who can speak to these couples and make decisions on a case-by-case basis.   

CARD. FRANCESCO COCCOPALMERIO President, Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts

'It would be opportune for the pastor to ask the Diocese to combine with an office established especially for difficult cases, like the one that already exists for special situations regarding weddings, when the priest has to ask for advice or permission. This way, the same office could do this: the pastor presents the situation, then the bishop gives his opinion, and then the priest tells the faithful what they must do in the situation in which they find themselves.'  

The Cardinal says dialogue within the Church is useful and necessary to give equal opportunity for all sinners to make amends and do penance, and maybe one day return to the sacraments.  


'When there is a person who realizes he is in a situation that is non-regular, and he aims to change that, but he cannot, because for special reasons it will cause harm to other people. F

No one can say, 'Now, I decide with my own judgment to go to the sacraments.' They have to submit their condition to the ecclesial authorities, who is the pastor.' It is for this reason, he hopes that dialogue between couples and priests combined with his short, but detailed book on Amoris Laetitia can help everyone understand and appreciate what the Church teaches. 

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