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Philly Archbishop: Remarried Couples Can Take Communion If They Abstain From Sex

Image: Philly Archbishop: Remarried Couples Can Take Communion If They Abstain From Sex
Archbishop Charles Chaput (Photo by Matt Rourke/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 06 Jul 2016 12:13 PM

The conservative archbishop of Philadelphia has issued new guidelines for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion — requiring that they shun sex and live with their new partners like "brother and sister."

"This is a hard teaching for many," the document from Archbishop Charles Chaput states. "But anything less misleads people about the nature of the Eucharist and the Church."

The guidelines also call on priests to help Catholics who are attracted to people of the same sex and "find chastity very difficult" by advising them to seek penance — and acknowledge people can still have a heterosexual marriage with children even with ""some degree of same-sex attraction."

The guidelines took effect this month, and are based on Pope Francis' "Amoris Laetitia," which called on bishops to show greater mercy and flexibility to bring Catholics back to the church while sticking to church doctrine.

Vatican journalist John Allen tells The Guardian the Philadelphia guidelines are among the first based on the papal document.

"My suspicion is that those who are inclined to a more progressive reading [of Amoris Laetitia] are not going to put out documents to say so," he tells The Guardian. "It will quietly be made clear to priests that it is OK under certain circumstances, for example, to allow some people to quietly come back to communion. My suspicion is that the more traditional line [adopted by some bishops] will be more public."

On homosexuality, the Philadelphia guidelines state two people in an "active, public same-sex relationship, no matter how sincere, offer a serious counter-witness to Catholic belief, which can only produce moral confusion in the community."

"Those with predominant same-sex attractions are therefore called to struggle to live chastely for the kingdom of God," the document advises. "In this endeavor they have need of support, friendship and understanding if they fail."

The bigger focus, however, is on divorced and civilly remarried couples who haven't gotten an annulment of their first marriage.

"Undertaking to live as brother and sister is necessary for the divorced and civilly remarried to receive reconciliation in the Sacrament of Penance, which could then open the way to the Eucharist," the guidelines state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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The conservative archbishop of Philadelphia has issued new guidelines for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion — requiring that they shun sex and live with their new partners like "brother and sister."
Philadelphia, Archbishop, Catholic, communion, abstain, sex
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2016-13-06
Wednesday, 06 Jul 2016 12:13 PM
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