Catholics who find themselves in what the Church considers "non-legitimate" situations can receive Communion as long as they want to change their situation, according to the chief Vatican legal text interpreter, Crux reports.
Cardinal Coccopalmerio says he wrote his new book The Eighth Chapter of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia not as a canon law expert but to try to "unpack [Amoris's] rich doctrinal and pastoral message".
He added that he wrote it because "this part of the document is not very ample and, perhaps because of the content and the form, this chapter has been judged either with negativity or with a certain reserve."
"The Church could admit to the Penitence and Eucharist the faithful who find themselves in illegitimate unions [who] want to change that situation, but can't act on their desire," Cardinal Coccopalmerio writes.
He also writes, "I believe that we can sustain, with sure and tranquil conscience, that the doctrine, in this case, is respected."
The Church's teaching on marriage is clear: one man, one woman, united in an indissoluble bond, meaning, in sickness and health, poverty and wealth, 'till death, and open to life.
Quoting from Amoris Laetitia, Cardinal Coccopalmerio says that the exhortation is very clear on all the elements of the Church's doctrine on marriage, aligned and faithful to traditional teaching.
He offers a concrete situation as an example of a case in which a person, "knowing about the irregularity of [his or hers] situation", has great difficulty changing their situation "without feeling in their conscience that they would fall in a new sin".
According to Cardinal Coccopalmerio, Amoris Laetitia implicitly stipulates that to be admitted to the sacraments the men or women who, for serious motives such as the education of their children, can't fulfil the obligation to separate, must nonetheless have "the intention or at least the desire" to change their status.