Catholics who divorce and then remarry should abstain from sex altogether, a senior church official has said.
Earlier this month, conservative Archbishop Charles Chaput published new guidelines for priests within the archdiocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These declared that those who have divorced and then remarried in a civil ceremony will be allowed to receive Holy Communion but only if they “live as brother and sister”.
The guidelines also referred to people who cohabit with a partner as being part of “irregular unions”. Such couples do not marry because “one or both persons is seriously lacking in maturity”, the Archbishop claimed in his document. He then went on to advise that if one member of such a couple “is not capable of, or is not willing to commit to, a marriage, the pastor should urge them to separate”.
The Archbishop’s new rules also stated that people who have “predominant same-sex attractions are … called to struggle to live chastely for the kingdom of God”. However, they should be offered “support, friendship and understanding [from the Church] if they fail”.
These guidelines were published three months after Pope Francis’ ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (The Joy of Love). In this 260-page document, the Pontiff urged Catholics to be more compassionate towards divorced and remarried members of the Church.
Photo of Archbishop Charles Chaput courtesy of HazteOir.org via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.