Ever since the publication of Amoris Laetitia, the recent papal document on marriage, family, divorce and remarriage, eucharist, there has been a to and fro, across blogs etc, on whether or not the document (from memory, one particular footnote in it) means that remarried-after-divorce-without-annulment Catholics may receive the eucharist or not.
Christian Today reports that Pope Francis has communicated to bishops in Argentina that in certain circumstances such Catholics may receive communion.
"Divorced and remarried Catholics can in "some cases" receive Holy Communion without living as "brother and sister" and without getting an annulment, Pope Francis himself has confirmed.In a leaked letter to Argentine bishops Pope Francis gave his own interpretation for the first time of Amoris Laetitia, his exhortation that followed the recent synods on the family dominated by controversy over the Church's strict rules on divorced and remarried Catholics.Many believe the rules excluding such couples from communion, even where they were the innocent party in a marriage breakdown, are cruel. Traditionalists however stand by what they say is biblical teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman for life and that there can be no flexibility.The pope's letter to bishops in Argentina, in response to a document the bishops produced on the issue, was leaked by a priest. The Vatican has today confirmed the letter from Pope Francis is authentic.In their document, the Argentine bishops focus on the need to integrate divorcees into the life of the Church. They say that "in certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments"."[Update: note also Catholic Herald report here.]
[Update for the robust among us: Rorate Coeli reports here. Of course I think Rorate Coeli is nuts with its "Pope destroys family" view. The Pope is trying to succour already broken families. Good marriages need no teaching about what happens if they breakdown. Rocky marriages are unlikely to be held back from crashing on the rocks by threats of withheld communion. But families weathering the effects of broken marriage might be helped by the Pope's promulgation of mercy.]
[Update: also with robust response is this First Things article, H/T Nick in comment below. But I like this point made in a comment below the article:
"The job of the Catholic Church is harder than adamant traditionalists admit. The task is to protect the sanctity of marriage (not to mention the actual victims of easy divorce, who are always those family members who most need stability, loyalty, and emotional sustenance), but also to avoid becoming more legalistic than Jesus himself was ..."]
On the one hand this is the final breakdown of Western Christianity, letting the Trojan Horse of "culture" inside the last bastion of theological rectitude, some will say.
On the other hand this is the mercy of God being worked out in the reality of human life, some will say. And I agree wholeheartedly!