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International News Archive
July 01 - July 06, 2000


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This page contains news for the period July 01, 2000 through July 06, 2000.



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Thursday, July 6, 2000

Vatican reaffirms ban on communion by divorced Catholics who remarry

A story released today by the Associated Press reports that the Vatican on Thursday strongly reaffirmed its prohibition on divorced and remarried Roman Catholics receiving communion.

The pronouncement restated that the only exception would be couples who refrain from sexual relations. Catholics in the United States, Germany and elsewhere have been pressing
the Vatican to loosen the restriction.

The Vatican said it issued the declaration because some theologians "using a variety of arguments" had claimed there were loopholes in church rules that would allow those who divorce and remarry to receive communion.

Church officials said the restriction is based on "divine law" and cannot be modified.

The statement said pastors should avoid instances of public denial of communion, explaining the reason to those couples "in such a way that they would be able to understand it or at least respect it."

"In those situations, however, in which these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible, the minister of communion must refuse to distribute it to those who are publicly unworthy," the statement said.

Civil divorce by Catholics does not require their exclusion from the sacraments. But a person is excluded if he or she remarries outside the church while bound in the church's eyes by a valid previous marriage.

The declaration was issued by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, taking into account the views of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and two other Vatican offices.


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