This afternoon the Vatican Synod on the Family amended and approved the final document summing up three weeks of chaotic and sometimes poisonous debate – much of it focussing on whether divorced and remarried people should be allowed to receive communion.
The majority view of the Synod Fathers is that they don’t want the rules changed. They especially don’t want one rule to apply in, say, Germany and another in Tanzania. Pope Francis has just given a cautiously worded (but also, alas, rather waffly) address in which he acknowledges as much:
… we have also seen that what seems normal for a bishop on one continent, is considered strange and almost scandalous for a bishop from another; what is considered a violation of a right in one society is an evident and inviolable rule in another; what for some is freedom of conscience is for others simply confusion.
Significantly, the Fathers didn’t back a ‘solution’ suggested by liberal cardinals, whereby divorced and remarried Catholics could consult their consciences and their confessors over whether they should follow the rules.
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