.- In light of the widespread confusion about the Church’s teaching on Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, the Diocese of San Bernardo in Chile has re-published the “Letter to the Bishops of Catholic Church regarding the reception of Eucharistic Communion,” issued several years ago by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Diocese explained that it was necessary to re-published the document because “it is still common in some Catholic circles to refer to the Church as ‘punisher’ for pointing out that Catholics who have been married in the Church and have later separated and entered into a new civil union cannot receive the Eucharist.”
The letter, the introduction continues, expresses “with charity and clarity that the Church and her shepherds are the first to suffer with these situations and that they strive to journey with those who are going through these situations, ‘proposing to them concrete paths of conversion and of participation the life of the ecclesial community,’ but that out of love for the truth they cannot approach Eucharistic communion, except in very specific cases that are clearly spelled out in the moral teaching of the Catholic Church.”
“It is especially painful that this lack of comprehension is coming from Catholic and ecclesial circles where, presenting these cases from the point of view of the spiritual pain suffered by those who are in them, a call to compassion is being made that betrays an insufficient understanding of what Eucharistic Communion and the presence of Jesus Christ in the sacrament of the altar truly are,” the diocese underscored in its introduction.
Letter to the Bishops of Catholic Church regarding the reception of Eucharistic Communion was approved by Pope John Paul II, who ordered its publication on September 14, 1994, the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.