An Argentine bishop has reaffirmed Church teaching on Communion for the remarried, in a pastoral letter which addresses “confusion” following Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.
Bishop Pedro Daniel Martinez Perea of San Luis praised Amoris Laetitia as “a great message of hope” and said that there was “no basis” for arguing that the text could alter Church teaching.
Some prominent figures have claimed that Amoris Laetitia had changed Catholic practice on Communion. The two bishops of Malta issued a letter saying that it might be “impossible” for lovers to avoid having sex outside marriage. Therefore, they said, the divorced and civilly remarried could receive Communion without resolving to live as brother and sister.
But Bishop Martinez said the document must be read in line with the traditional teaching of the Church, which says that sex outside marriage is wrong and that the divorced and remarried can only receive Communion if they resolve to live “as brother and sister”. This traditional teaching has also been affirmed recently by the bishops of Poland, the Alberta region in Canada and the Ordinariate, among others. Last month Cardinal John Onaiyekan became the latest member of the College of Cardinals to affirm that Amoris Laetitia had not altered Church teaching on Communion.
However, others such as Bishop Athanasius Schneider, an auxiliary bishop in Kazakhstan, have suggested that Amoris Laetitia is dangerous because it might cause Catholics to doubt some teachings.
In Bishop Martinez’s letter, which was published in June but has been brought to light by the Catholic News Agency, he reaffirmed that Communion can only be received by those who have confessed grave sin with a firm purpose of amendment.
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