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Conscience Magazine

Germany, Vatican Disagree about Pope’s Support for Plan to Offer Communion to Divorced, Remarried

February 19, 2014

The German Bishops’ Conference has been moving forward with plans to offer Communion to some divorced and remarried Catholics, and they claim to be doing so with the approval of the Vatican. “We already have our own guidelines, and the pope has now clearly signaled that certain things can be decided locally,” Robert Eberle, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Freiburg, told the Catholic News Service in November. Just a month before, Archbishop Gerhard L. Müller, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote in L’Osservatore Romano that the call to give Communion to divorced and remarried individuals was “an objectively false appeal to mercy” that stood to undermine the “entire sacramental economy.” According to Reuters, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich disputed Müller’s order to stop the plan, stating that he “cannot end the discussion.” Francis began addressing the subject of remarried Catholics early in his papacy; in July he announced it would be examined by the synod of bishops in 2014.