herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Pope Francis: Divorcees must be treated better by the Church

Pope Francis smiles as he meets the media during an airborne press conference aboard the airplane directed to Rome, at the end of his Apostolic journey in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.
Pope Francis smiles as he meets the media during an airborne press conference aboard the airplane directed to Rome, at the end of his Apostolic journey in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.

Pope Francis has declared that divorced Catholics who remarry, as well as their children, deserve better treatment from the Church, warning pastors against treating such couples as if they were excommunicated.

Catholic teaching considers divorced Catholics who remarry are living in sin and are not allowed to receive Communion, leaving many of these people feeling shunned by their church.

Francis' emphasis on mercy in Church leadership has raised hope among many such Catholics that he might lift the Communion ban. Catholics who divorce after a Church marriage but don't take up a new union, such as a second marriage, can receive Communion.

The Vatican this autumn is holding a month-long follow-up meeting on family issues, after a similar gathering last year left divorced Catholics who remarry hoping in vain that a quick end to the ban would have resulted from those discussions.

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