The Archbishop of Genoa and President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, said this week the impossibility of divorced and remarried Catholics receiving Communion “does not depend on an external disposition but rather comes from the interior of the sacrament of the Eucharist itself, the sacrament of the perennial unity between the love of Christ and humanity.”
According to the SIR news agency, the cardinal made his comments in response to a question about the matter during a conference at which he was presenting a book on the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Genoa.
Cardinal Bagnasco pointed to the example of Catholics who are separated and who “suffer from this difficult situation, but nonetheless live in fidelity to the indissolubility of the sacrament and desire to meet and pray together, to exchange experiences and encourage one another.” This situation “is one of the ways in which the maternity of the Church is expressed,” he added.
The cardinal's comments also come in the context of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's public campaign to push for allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion. Berlusconi is himself divorced and remarried.
Catholic teaching says that Catholics cannot ignore Jesus' teaching that the faithful cannot divorce and remarry. The Church teaches that for the good of their souls, believers should not present themselves for Communion, when they have departed from the teachings of Jesus.