Vatican preparing documents for couples in 'new unions' after divorce, failed marriage

The Vatican’s Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life is reportedly creating a document that will zone in on divorced and remarried couples. This comes at the request of Pope Francis, according to Cardinal Kevin Farrell, the dicastery’s prefect, according to the Catholic News Agency.

Farrell made mention of the developing document in a recent speech given on April 22. The speech opened a meeting of the dicastery, which is responsible for promoting family well-being and the mission of the average member of faith. Farrell specifically addressed how essential it was in providing support and guidance to “those experiencing marital crises of all kinds.” 

Farell said: “On this front, the dicastery is also working on the preparation of a text that will specifically concern — as you wished, Your Holiness — men and women who, having a failed marriage behind them, live in new unions.” 

It is not clear when the document will be released to the public. 

As it stands, the Catholic Church teaches that those who have been divorced and remarried without an annulment are not allowed to take Communion, a rule affirmed by St. John Paul II in the 2005 Familiaris Consortio. However, Pope Francis has suggested that each case may need to be taken as they come, possibly allowing some who have remarried to access the Eucharist, including scenarios that would see spouses practice continence within their marriage, per the report. 

Pope Francis recently addressed the question of whether divorced and remarried Catholics would be allowed to receive the Eucharist, saying: “We cannot reduce a human situation to a prescriptive one.”  

In the same interview, Francis suggested that the faithful look to what Benedict XVI had to say on annulments, noting that “a large part of church marriages are invalid for lack of faith.”

He added: “And think about it: Sometimes [one] goes to a wedding and it seems more like it’s a social reception and not a sacrament.” 

“When young people say ‘forever,’ who knows what they mean [by] ‘forever.’” 


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