Bishops Hand Pope a Defeat on Outreach to Divorced Catholics

Wall Street Journal

Updated Oct. 24, 2015

VATICAN CITY—Catholic bishops handed Pope Francis an embarrassing defeat Saturday by withholding support for one of his signature initiatives— a pathway for Catholics who divorced and remarried to receive Communion—thus showing the strength of conservative resistance to the pope’s liberalizing agenda.

The pope responded with a speech that, while largely hopeful, betrayed his irritation with the bishops, complaining of “conspiracy theories and blinkered viewpoints” and “closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the church’s teachings, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families.”

The final report of a bishops’ meeting on the family, called a synod, omitted any mention of the Communion question, the most fiercely debated topic during five weeks of discussion over the course of a year. Instead, the document called for greater integration of remarried divorcés in the church while “avoiding every occasion of scandal,” suggesting that such Catholics might be allowed to play a larger role in worship, education and other church activities.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.