‘No Holy Communion for remarried divorcees’ – Pope

‘That was his statement’ – Cardinal Meisner

A prominent cardinal has revealed details of a conversation held with Pope Francis in which the Pontiff allegedly asserted that remarried divorcees should not be granted Communion.

Speaking on German radio at Christmas, and as he retired from his curial duties upon reaching the age of 80, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Archbishop of Colonge, spoke of a frank exchange he had with the Pope on the issue of divorced Catholics and remarried Catholics, based on the cardinal’s own view that the Pontiff’s off-script pronouncements in some areas needed elucidation.

“During my last visit to Pope Francis I was able to speak very freely with the Holy Father about all kinds of topics,” the cardinal explained. “And I also told him that his proclamation in the form of interviews and short statements leaves many questions unanswered, questions which should be explained further for the uninformed. The Pope looked at me with surprise and asked me to please give him an example. And my reply was that, during his return from Rio to Rome, on the airplane, he was asked about the question of divorced and remarried people.

Orthodox Church

“And as the Pope said, divorced people can receive Holy Communion, remarried divorced people cannot. In the Orthodox Church it is possible to marry twice. That was his statement.”


Cardinal Meisner’s words come as his native Germany continues to be the site of a debate within Church circles about the provision of Communion to remarried divorcees. Following plans by some bishops in the Archdiocese of Freiburg to begin offering Communion, another German, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, in his role as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stepped in to instruct a halt to such plans.

However, this direction was later dismissed by at least one prelate, Bishop Gebhard Fürst of Stuttgart, who insisted in early December that the Communion plan will proceed in response to what was said to be a massive demand from the German faithful on the issue.