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Pope expresses spiritual closeness to divorced

Pope John Paul II has expressed his "spiritual closeness" to divorced Catholics, and reminded them that they are called to participate in Christian life, respecting the rules of the Church.

The Pope made his comments today when he received in audience the participants of a conference organised by the Teams of Our Lady, an international movement of Catholic married couples.

"I wish to repeat my spiritual proximity to all separated, divorced and divorced and remarried persons who, as baptised, are called to participate in Christian life, respecting the rules of the Church," the Holy Father said.

The Pope confirmed the teaching he gave in No. 84 of the apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio, in which he exhorted the "pastors and the whole community of the faithful to help the divorced, and with solicitous care to make sure that they do not consider themselves as separated from the Church, for as baptized persons they can, and indeed must, share in her life."

At the same time, the exhortation requests that "the Church pray for them, encourage them and show herself a merciful mother, and thus sustain them in faith and hope."

The papal document, "based upon Sacred Scripture," reaffirms the practice "of not admitting to eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried," adding that "if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage."

The Pope expressed the hope that married couples experiencing difficulties would meet with "witnesses of the tenderness and mercy of God."

The Teams of Our Lady includes 52,000 couples in 60 countries. The movement was founded in 1947 by the French priest Henri Caffarel, whose centenary is being commemorated this year.


Teams of Our Lady International | Rome 2003
Teams of Our Lady Australia & New Zealand

22 Jan 2003