Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, The Joy of Love, has begun to change attitudes to Communion in the Archdiocese of Milan, according to a senior official, reports The Catholic Herald.
In an article for the Milan Archdiocese website, Mgr Fausto Gilardi, who is in charge of Confession at Milan Cathedral, says that there has been a growing “demand” in the diocese from the divorced and remarried for absolution and Communion.
Mgr Gilardi’s article, which has been translated for the news website Crux, claims that some priests have changed their practice. He says that some have “opened a ‘teller’s window’ for consultations.”
Mgr Gilardi says this seems to contradict the warning in The Joy of Love against “the grave danger of misunderstandings, such as the notion that any priest can quickly grant ‘exceptions’.”
The article says that other priests have asked divorced and remarried people to enter a pastoral process, but he does not specify whether Communion is a possible goal.
Mgr Gilardi writes that in the past few days, the divorced and remarried have mostly not been “disappointed” by the invitation to a “journey.”
Since its publication, Pope Francis’ exhortation has generated differing interpretations. Much of the debate was over footnote 351, which some argued implied that the Pope wanted the Eucharist to be a possibility for divorced and remarried couples.
Last week, however, Pope Francis said that he couldn’t remember writing the footnote.