Recently, newly installed Pope Francis lambasted the Catholic Church hierarchy for being obsessed with "abortion, gay marriage and contraception." He said that it put the dogma behind those issues before love, and for prioritizing moral doctrines over serving the poor and marginalized. But what about divorce—would it also get a new look from Francis? The answer from the Vatican is… a resounding no.
The Vatican last week clearly stated that Catholics who divorced must have the marriage annulled by the church before receiving communion. Essentially, making the marriage never have existed clears the marriage from the board in the higher power's eyes.
This was a direct response to the German diocese of Freiburg, which issued a set of guidelines explaining how such remarried Catholics could get around the rule. It said if certain criteria are met—if the spouses were trying to live according to the faith and acted with laudable motivation—they could receive Communion and other sacraments of the church.
The Vatican's chief doctrine official, German Archbishop Gerhard Mueller, wrote Tuesday that there is no way for Catholics who divorce and remarry to receive Communion unless they get an annulment, a church ruling that their first marriage never really existed.
"God's mercy does not dispense us from following his commandments or the rules of the church," he wrote in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.
Vatican Halts Catholic Remarriage Debate; Annulment Still Required For Divorced Couples To Receive Communion (Huffington Post)