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Pope Francis baptises a baby in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican in January (OSV News/Vatican Media)

Women who have conceived a child out of wedlock and have the courage to choose life for their baby “should be encouraged to have access to the healing and consoling power of the sacraments,” says the head of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. Source: NCR Online.

Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, the dicastery prefect, was responding to a question from a bishop expressing concern for single mothers who abstain from the sacraments fearing the rigidity of their pastors and judgment from Catholics in their parishes.

“It is noted that in some countries, both priests and some lay people prevent mothers who have had a child outside of marriage from accessing the sacraments and even baptising their children,” said the cardinal’s reply, which was approved by Pope Francis on December 13 and was posted on the dicastery’s website the next day.

Cardinal Fernández noted that Pope Francis had addressed the issue in 2012 when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

“There are priests who do not baptise the children of single mothers because (the children) were not conceived in the sanctity of marriage. They are the hypocrites of today,” the future pope said. “They turn God’s people away from salvation.”

Cardinal Fernández said that Catholics should be educated to know that “being a single mother does not prevent that person from accessing the Eucharist”.

Like with any Catholic, he said, the “sacramental confession of sins allows the person to approach communion. The ecclesial community should, furthermore, value the fact that single mothers welcomed and defended the gift of life they carried in their wombs and struggle every day to raise their children.”


Single mothers are encouraged to access sacraments, Vatican says (By Cindy Wooden, CNS via NCR Online)