Pope faces opposition to remarriage communion reform

Resistance to reform

The Pope is facing opposition from within the Church to efforts to change the rules and allow remarried people to receive Holy Communion, a leading clergyman said yesterday, reports The Times/The Australian.

Retired German Cardinal Walter Kasper is a former head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He gave a keynote address to a consistory of Cardinals last month, where he called for remarried Catholics to be allowed to receive communion after performing a period of penance for the collapse of their first marriage. His confidential remarks at the consistory provoked intense debate in the College of Cardinals, and were leaked to Il Foglio, the centre-right daily, which published them in full.

'It was the Pope who asked for the discussion, even though there are people who want to stop him,' the Cardinal told La Repubblica.

The treatment of remarried Catholics has emerged as a major battleground in Francis's push to reform the Church. German bishops have thrown down the gauntlet by planning to readmit twice-married Catholics to full membership of the Church, and the Pope has called a special synod in October to tackle the subject.

Remarried people once faced possible excommunication as bigamists, since the Church did not recognise divorce. In more recent times, they have been denied Holy Communion.

A Vatican poll of parishioners has revealed a sharp divergence between Church teaching and Catholics' views on divorce.

FULL STORY Resistance in church to marriage reform (The Times/The Australian)

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