Pope Francis has called for the Catholic Church to accept and welcome divorced and remarried people, promising a Church of “no closed doors”.
In a recent ‘General Audience’ speech at the Vatican, the Pope encouraged a relaxing of the Church’s stance on members who remarry, stating that they “are not at all excommunicated, and they absolutely must not be treated that way”.
Catholics who divorce and remarry are currently banned from receiving communion, and the Church considers remarried spouses “in a situation of public and permanent adultery”.
The Pope’s speech was one of a series concerning his wider vision for a more inclusive Catholic Church.
Although Francis has not yet called for the ban on taking communion to be lifted, he is expected to raise the general issue of the Church’s attitude toward remarriage at his Synod on the Family in October.
The Pope drew particular attention to welcoming children whose parents are divorced:
“We must not add more weight to what children in these situations already have to bear.”
The Catholic Church prohibits the children of remarried couples from being baptized.