The Philadelphia Catholic Church is totally cool with couples who have divorced and remarried, provided that they never, ever have sex.
That was merely one of the rules handed down by the Archbishop Charles Chaput in the wake of Pope Francis’ call to accept lapsed Catholics back into the Church. While Francis called for greater leniency toward people who live outside traditional Catholic doctrine in a document released earlier this year called “Amoris Laetitia,” he also urged Catholic leaders to hold fast to the doctrine. That left a vague area where Archbishops can decide just how they want to let people in, with Chaput being among the first to publish new guidelines.
Chaput — who we’re going to guess has never watched Game of Thrones — called on remarried couples to live like “brother and sister” so that they could receive Holy Communion.
“This applies even if they must (for the care of their children) continue to live under one roof. 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.
However, remarried couples aren’t the only ones that the Philadelphia archdiocese has their eye on. The new guidelines also suggest that gays and lesbians should remain chaste whenever possible. However, it does call on the Church to be “understanding if they fail.”
While Pope Francis has been seen as a more liberal and progressive church leader than many of his predecessors, his most recent guidelines allow movement in both directions by individual archdioceses even as they allow more people into the church. An effort to appease the rank and file? Perhaps, but there exists the potential to lessen the impact of the Pope’s words if they are undermined at the ground level. Especially when attention is brought to the actions of a local archdioceses, as is the case here.
(Via The Guardian)