Church officials in Germany have defended plans by the country’s bishops’ conference to allow some divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion, insisting they have the Pope’s endorsement.
Eberle, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Freiburg: “We already have our
own guidelines, and the Pope has now clearly signaled that certain
things can be decided locally.
“We’re not the only archdiocese
seeking helpful solutions to this problem, and we’ve had positive
reactions from other dioceses in Germany and abroad, assuring us they
already practice what’s written in our guidelines.”
comments followed the disclosure by Bishop Gebhard Furst of
Rottenburg-Stuttgart on November 23 that the bishops’ would adopt
proposals on reinstating divorced and remarried parishioners as full
members of the Church during their plenary in March.
interview with Catholic News Service, Mr Eberle said “many points” in
the Pope’s apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the
Gospel”) suggested the German Church was “moving in the right way” in
its attitude toward remarried Catholics.
Uwe Renz, spokesman in
the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, also defended the bishops’ stance.
He said he believed the bishops were acting “in the spirit of the Pope’s
“Our own dialogue process has shown this is a major issue for both lay Catholics and priests,” Mr Renz said.
Francis has called on bishops to exercise a wise and realistic pastoral
discernment on such problems, and our bishops want divorced and
remarried Catholics to be a full part of the church community, with full
Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the
Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, reaffirmed in
October Church teaching that prohibits divorced and remarried Catholics
from receiving Communion without an annulment.