Letters to Editor of Irish Times 12 April 2016
On the contrary, I would suggest he has opened the door of the Catholic Church for Catholics in second relationships, whether civilly recognised or not, to receive Holy Communion .
In section 301, he states: “Hence it can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace”.
Traditional Catholic teaching decreed that a Catholic married in the Catholic Church and who entered into another relationship without receiving a canonical nullity decree was living in mortal sin and consequently was banned from receiving Holy Communion.
The clear implication of what Pope Francis has now written in his exhortation is that he has changed Catholic teaching on the situation of Catholics who are in any “irregular” situation. They are no longer living in mortal sin and thus are free as any other Catholic to receive Holy Communion.
Pope Francis, in his recent statement on the family, said, “The equal dignity of men and women makes us rejoice to see old forms of discrimination disappear”.
Perhaps Pope Francis should look at his own organisation and recognise that, by refusing to allow women be full members of the hierarchy, the old forms of discrimination have not yet disappeared.