Polish Bishops’ Conference: No Communion for the “Remarried”

Polish Bishops’ Conference: No Communion for the “Remarried”

Maike Hickson
June 8, 2017

Yesterday, 7 June, the Polish Bishops’ Conference ended its General Assembly in the Polish city of Zakopane. According to the official website of the German bishops Katholisch.de, the speaker of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Pawel Rytel-Andrianik said that the teaching of the Church with regard to Holy Communion for those people who live in non-sacramental relationships “has not changed” after the papal document Amoris Laetitia.

In their public declaration, the Polish bishops explained that Catholics in such relationships should be led “to a true conversion and to a reconciliation with their spouse and the children of that bond.” Here, the Polish bishops refer to Pope John Paul II’s post-synodal exhortation Familiaris Consortio which allows access to the Sacraments only if such “remarried” couples live in a loyally chaste relationship as brother and sister.

Moreover, the Polish bishops announced that they will further discuss guidelines concerning the pastoral care for those people who live in “non-sacramental” relationships, and their further integration, during their next General Assembly in autumn. These new guidelines will then also concretely explain how to accompany the “remarried” divorcees.

The Polish bishops had already earlier signaled their objection against admitting the “remarried” divorcees to the Sacraments. As OnePeterFive then reported, two Polish bishops had made clear statements after the publication of Amoris Laetitia, rejecting the idea of access to the Sacraments for the “remarried.” Bishop Jan Watroba, President of the Council for the Family of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, said in November 2016, as follows:

It is too bad that there exists no unified interpretation and no clear message of the document [Amoris Laetitia] and that one has to add interpretations to the Apostolic document. I personally – perhaps out of habit, but also out of conviction – prefer such documents, as John Paul II used to write them, where additional commentaries or interpretations concerning the teaching of Peter were not necessary.

Earlier in that same month of November, the Polish Auxiliary Bishop Józef Wróbel of Lublin had publicly supported the four cardinals’ dubia with regard to Amoris Laetitia, saying in an interview:

They [the dubia cardinals] have done well and they have exercised correctly the provisions of canon law. I think it is not only a right, but even a duty. It would have been just to answer to their observations.

Bishop Wróbel then also added:

You couldn’t give [Communion to the “remarried” persons] before Amoris Laetitia, it’s not possible now. The doctrine of the Church is not subject to changes, otherwise it is no longer the Church of Christ founded on the Gospel and the Tradition. It is given to no one to modify the doctrine insofar as no one is master of the Church.

According to the British Catholic weekly The Tablet, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference had said in July 2016

that the Church in Poland will refuse communion to divorced and remarried Catholics despite the landmark family document from Pope Francis which opened up the possibility.

Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, said that giving communion could not be allowed following a period of pastoral discernment – something which Francis has advocated – adding that if remarried divorcees had a valid first marriage they cannot receive the [Holy] Eucharist.

The Polish Bishops’ Conference is the first bishops’ conference which, as a whole, declares that it will remain faithful to the traditional Catholic teaching on marriage. Additionally, three bishops of Kazakhstan had issued, in January 2017, a joint statement imploring prayer that Pope Francis will “confirm the unchanging praxis of the Church with regard to the truth of the indissolubility of marriage.”

However, other bishops’ conferences – such as the Maltese, German and Belgian bishops’ conference – have published guidelines in which they give, under certain conditions, access to the Sacraments for the “remarried” divorcees.

Other individual bishops – such as Archbishop Charles Chaput (Philadelphia), Bishop Vitus Huonder (Chur, Switzerland), and Archbishop Wolfgang Haas (Vaduz, Liechtenstein), have made clear that they will not allow a change of the Catholic teaching on marriage after Amoris Laetitia …

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One comment on “Polish Bishops’ Conference: No Communion for the “Remarried”

  1. After the elipsis,
    For further information, here is a list of all the cardinals and bishops who have so far positioned themselves in one way or another with regard to the four cardinals’ dubia and thus to the decision to give access to the Sacraments for the “remarried.”

    Here is the list (as of March 16) from Life Site News:
    Updated: The full list of Catholic bishops and cardinals ‘for and against’ the dubia

    Amoris Laetitia , Dubia , Four Cardinals Letter , Pope Francis

    Updated March 16, 2017: Bishop Rene Henry Gracida supports dubia. Archbishop Bruno Forte opposes.

    Update March 10, 2017: Archbishop Tomash Peta, Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga, and Cardinal Wim Eijk support. Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Cardinal Orlando Quevedo oppose.

    Editor’s Note: LifeSiteNews brings you a list of bishops and cardinals who have publicly indicated their support or opposition to the September 2016 “dubia” submitted to Pope Francis by the four cardinals. This list includes high-ranking prelates whose comments relate directly to the dubia after their public release on November 14, 2016. The list does not include prelates who have merely made statements supporting or opposing the writings, decisions, and actions of Pope Francis, but haven’t commented directly on the dubia. The list will be updated.

    Cardinals who signed the dubia

    Cardinal Walter Brandmüller

    Cardinal Raymond Burke

    Cardinal Carlo Caffarra

    Cardinal Joachim Meisner

    READ: Who are these four cardinals who wrote the ‘dubia’ to the Pope?

    Bishops and cardinals who support the dubia

    Archbishop Luigi Negri: March 06, 2017 – “Amoris Laetitia needs clarification, unfortunately, the current leader of the Church still remains silent. […] I think that the Holy Father should respond.”

    Archbishop Charles J. Chaput: March 03, 2017 – John Allen: “Do you want the pope to answer the dubia?” Chaput: “Yes. I think it’s always good to answer questions, clearly.”

    Cardinal Joseph Zen: February 16, 2017 – “It is a very respectful request by those bishops and cardinals to have a clear statement. I think they are right to have an answer.”

    Bishop Rene Henry Gracida (Emeritus, Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas): February 07, 2017 – “The longer Francis remains silent on the dubia the worse things will get in the Church.”

    Archbishop Tomash Peta: January 18, 2017 – “Only the voice of the Supreme Pastor of the Church can definitively impede a situation where […] the Church […] has in practice accepted divorce.”

    Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga: January 18, 2017 – “We are forced to make this urgent appeal to prayer” given the “ineffectiveness of numerous appeals made privately and in a discreet manner to Pope Francis both by many faithful and by some Shepherds of the Church.”

    Cardinal Wim Eijk: December 23, 2016 – “You cannot change doctrine with footnotes or a loose statement in an airplane interview. I would like [Amoris] to be clarified. […] Prolonged lack of clarity may result in undesirable practices to arise.”

    Bishop Andreas Laun: December 23, 2016 – “I have read the concerns of the four cardinals, and I agree with them!”

    Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino: December 16, 2016 – “It is legitimate in terms of doctrine to turn to the pope and express an opinion – and it is also just that he would respond.”

    Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes: December 12, 2016 – “With an objective tone, the four cardinals have asked for the removal of doubts about the text [Amoris Laetitia].”

    Bishop James D. Conley: December 5, 2016 – “The questions being posed to the Holy Father are intended to help achieve clarity.”

    Cardinal George Pell: November 29, 2016 – “How can you disagree with a question?”

    Bishop Athanasius Schneider: November 23, 2016 – “The four cardinals only did their basic duty as bishops and cardinals.”

    Bishop Jan Watroba: November 23, 2016 – “I myself have now been overwhelmed with many similar questions.”

    Bishop Józef Wróbel: November 22, 2016 – “The four cardinals did well in asking for clarification about Amoris Laetitia.”

    Bishops and cardinals who oppose the dubia

    Archbishop Bruno Forte (Chieti-Vasto, Italy): March 10, 2017 – “The doubts that were raised present doubts on who has raised them.”

    Cardinal Vincent Nichols: February 23, 2017 – “I think the Pope’s patience and reserve about this whole matter is exactly what we should observe.”

    Cardinal Donald Wuerl: January 30, 2017 – “A very small number of people, whose voices have been amplified by some of the Catholic media, have challenged the integrity of Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia […] It seems that a part of the distress evident in what has been described as a ‘tempest in a teapot’ is the fact that Pope Francis is challenging all of us to move into a far more Gospel-identified mode of living and being Church than we may have been comfortable with.”

    Cardinal Orlando Quevedo: January 19, 2017 – “It’s clear enough that the Pope is holding on to doctrine [in Amoris]. I cannot understand the justification that the pope has to clarify his position. [Challenging the Pope is] divisive of the Church.”

    Cardinal Gerhard Müller: January 8, 2017 – “The Pope is basically forced to answer with ‘yes or no.’ I don’t like that.”

    Cardinal Walter Kasper: December 22, 2016 – Amoris Laetitia is “clear. … These dubia … do not exist.”

    Cardinal Reinhard Marx: December 21, 2016 – “The document [Amoris] is not as ambiguous as some people claim.”

    Cardinal Fernando Sebastian Aguilar: December 11, 2016 – “Some honorable men suffer because they do not understand what Francis wanted to say in Amoris Laetitia.”

    Archbishop Mark Coleridge: December 9, 2016 – Pope Francis “wants a genuine clarity” while the four cardinals are seeking a “false clarity.”

    Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto: December 1, 2016 – “They gave the Pope a slap in the face.”

    Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier: November 30, 2016 – “Jesus also chose not to answer certain questions.”

    Cardinal Claudio Hummes: November 25, 2016 – “We are 200, they are only four.”

    Bishop Frangiskos Papamanolis: November 20, 2016 – They have committed the “two very serious sins” of “apostasy” and “scandal.”

    Cardinal Blase Cupich: November 19, 2016 – “It’s up to those who have doubts and questions to have conversion in their lives.”

    Cardinal Joseph Tobin: November 18, 2016 – “Just to simply reduce [Amoris] to a ‘dubium’, I think it is at best naive.”

    Cardinal Christoph Schönborn: November 18, 2016 – This is an “attack against the pope.” The cardinals “must be obedient to the pope.”


    Cardinal Angelo Amato: November 24, 2016 – “The debate must be continued in reciprocal respect and above all by using the talents of the respective positions [in order to arrive at a] more integrated and improved positions.”

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