Speaking to clergy of the Diocese of Aosta, Italy on Monday, Pope Benedict addressed the difficult question of divorced Catholics who have remarried, a situation he described as "particularly painful."
The Holy Father discussed the "situation of those who married in Church out of tradition, without being true believers; then, finding themselves in a new and non-valid marriage, they convert, find faith, and feel excluded from the Sacrament (of the Eucharist)."
Many Catholics have either been falsely taught about Church teaching on marriage or succumbed to societal pressure to divorce and feel disenfranchised by the teaching that divorced Catholics cannot receive communion until they reconcile with the Church.
Others fail to understand the nature of annulment and simply see it as “Catholic divorce,” thereby choosing not to seek it.
The Pope noted that when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith, he invited several episcopal conferences to study the question of a "Sacrament celebrated without faith," and "whether it is truly possible to find therein a reason for invalidity, because the Sacrament was lacking an essential dimension.”
“The problem”, he said, “is very difficult and must be studied profoundly."