Archbishop Chaput has said that receiving the Eucharist must be preceded by turning away from serious sins
by Catholic Herald staff reporter
posted Wednesday, 1 Jun 2016
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has been named as chairman of the committee of US bishops working on the implementation of Amoris Laetitia, according to a tweet from Francis X. Rocca, the Vatican correspondent of the Wall Street Journal.
US bishops’ working group on reception and implementation of Amoris Laetitia: +Chaput (chairman), +Burbidge, +Hebda, +Malone and +Vigneron
Confirmation of the news would send a signal on the question of admitting divorced and remarried people to Communion. Archbishop Chaput has said that to do so, except when the divorced and remarried live “as brother and sister”, would be “departing from Catholic teaching”.
In a 2015 article for First Things magazine, the archbishop wrote: “the Church has always insisted on the necessity of repentance for serious sins as a condition for receiving the Eucharist. Confession and genuine repentance – which includes a turning away from sin – must precede Communion”.
Archbishop Chaput said that the Church does not want to “punish” or “exclude” divorced and remarried couples. “But neither can the Church ignore the Word of God on the permanence of marriage, nor mitigate the consequences of the choices that grown people freely make. She cannot confirm human beings in patterns of behaviour that separate them from God and remain faithful to her own mission at the same time.”
The archbishop said that opening the Eucharist to the remarried would not be truly merciful and would lead to a “collapse” similar to that seen “in Europe, in those churches where the pastoral practice regarding divorce, remarriage, and reception of the sacraments has departed from authentic Catholic teaching”.
This was a reference in particular to Germany, where the bishops’ conference has been largely in favour of Communion for the remarried in some circumstances, and where Mass attendance has fallen steeply.
In Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis does not deal directly with the question of Communion. But in the aftermath of the exhortation, some bishops have said that it opens a way to Communion for the divorced and remarried beyond that outlined in Pope St John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio.
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