Catholics who are divorced and remarried may only be admitted to the sacraments if they agree to live "as brother and sister", according to a recently published pastoral handbook highlighted in this week's edition of the official Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.
    The paper's resident moral theologian Father Gino Concetti acknowledged that the discipline caused suffering on all sides. But he said the only solution is to "ask for God's mercy."
    The handbook was published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
    Father Concetti said "those who have recourse to civil authorities to obtain a divorce do not annul the sacramental bond of marriage, which remains intact." Thus if the parties to that marriage later contract another marriage, their situation is "objectively irregular in the light of the Gospel," and their marital status creates an "insurmountable obstacle" to sacramental communion.
    He pointed out that if Catholics who are divorced and remarried are "objectively convinced of the invalidity of the first marriage," they should address that issue in Church tribunals. He observed that ecclesiastical courts in every country are prepared to offer reasonably prompt responses to a petition for annulment of a marriage.

2:31pm 20/5/99 / Catholic World News


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