Pope Francis says the Catholic Church should embraced divorced Catholics, as well as their children.
The Pope wants the Catholic Church and community to welcome members who are divorced and remarried. He expressed frustration over the fact that divorced parents and their children are treated differently than other Catholics, which may create confusion and further suffering for children of divorce.
Living in Sin & Banned from Communion
Under the current Catholic teachings, people who divorce and remarry are considered to be living in sin – unless they are widowed or have received an annulment. They are not permitted to receive Communion, which is a central aspect of practicing the Catholic faith and participating in a church service. Although Pope Francis has not explicitly asked the ban to be lifted, he did tell churches to stop treating remarried Catholics as if they had been “excommunicated.”
Furthermore, the controversy surrounding his recent statements about divorce has sparked debate over whether the communion ban should be reconsidered. Pope Francis’ desire to accept remarried Catholics as respected members of the Church could set the tone for an upcoming meeting of Catholic leaders. Bishops from around the world will attend a synod in October to discuss Catholic family teachings, and the Church’s stance on divorce and remarriage will likely be central topics.
Children of Divorce Particularly Vulnerable
Although Pope Francis wants the Church to embrace all Catholics who have experienced divorce and decided to remarry, he placed an emphasis on the importance of welcoming children of divorced parents. He questioned how children could practice faith and understand Catholic teachings if their parents are kept at an “arm’s length.” He urged pastors and members of the Church “not to add additional weight beyond what the children in this situation have to bear.”