Cardinal Ratzinger to the Bishops of the Catholic Church concerning the reception of Holy Communion by the divorced and remarried members of the faithful.

“..Aware however that authentic understanding and genuine mercy are never separated from the truth(4), pastors have the duty to remind these faithful of the Church’s doctrine concerning the celebration of the sacraments, in particular, the reception of the Holy Communion. In recent years, in various regions, different pastoral solutions in this area have been suggested according to which, to be sure, a general admission of divorced and remarried to Eucharistic communion would not be possible, but the divorced and remarried members of the faithful could approach Holy Communion in specific cases when they consider themselves authorised according to a judgement of conscience to do so. This would be the case, for example, when they had been abandoned completely unjustly, although they sincerely tried to save the previous marriage, or when they are convinced of the nullity of their previous marriage, although unable to demonstrate it in the external forum or when they have gone through a long period of reflexion and penance, or also when for morally valid reasons they cannot satisfy the obligation to separate.

In some places, it has also been proposed that in order objectively to examine their actual situation, the divorced and remarried would have to consult a prudent and expert priest. This priest, however, would have to respect their eventual decision to approach Holy Communion, without this implying an official authorisation.

In these and similar cases it would be a matter of a tolerant and benevolent pastoral solution in order to do justice to the different situations of the divorced and remarried….”

Cardinal Ratzinger

14 September 1994, Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

1. The International Year of the Family is a particularly important occasion to discover anew the many signs of the Church’s love and concern for the family(1) and, at the same time, to present once more the priceless riches of Christian marriage, which is the basis of the family.
VATICAN.VA
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Author: Janet

Loving my Catholic Faith A mum of six daughters..all fully grown!

2 thoughts on “Cardinal Ratzinger to the Bishops of the Catholic Church concerning the reception of Holy Communion by the divorced and remarried members of the faithful.”

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