Seven bishops have responded to bishops’ conferences that issued guidelines that foresee the possibility of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics returning to the Sacraments in some circumstances.
The norms and guidelines are the bishops’ responses to Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.
Archbishop Tomash Peta and Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana and retired Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga of Karaganda, all from Kazakhstan, published a statement on “the immutable truths about sacramental marriage”.
In Kazakhstan, “divorced people living with someone else would not dare ask for Holy Communion because they know they are living in a situation of sin. It would be blasphemy,” said Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana.
Two retired Italian prelates, Archbishop Carlo Vigano, former papal nuncio to the United States and Archbishop Emeritus Luigi Negri have since added their signatures, as have Latvia’s retired Cardinal Janis Pujats and Austria’s retired auxiliary bishop of Salzburg, Andreas Laun.
Bishop Schneider told CNS that “if different people read our statement as a confrontation with the Pope, that is their view, not ours. It is not a rebuke, confrontation or challenge, but a service in charity and truth”.
Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the official record of Vatican documents and acts, published the guidelines of the bishops in Argentina’s Buenos Aires region and a letter from Pope Francis approving the bishops’ interpretation of Amoris Laetitia.