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'Don't exclude divorcees from the Church' says pope

'Separated couples must feel God's mercy, priest's concern'

07 February, 14:55
Papa: domanda alla piazza, ci si battezza da soli? [ARCHIVE MATERIAL 20140108 ]
Papa: domanda alla piazza, ci si battezza da soli? [ARCHIVE MATERIAL 20140108 ]
'Don't exclude divorcees from the Church' says pope

(updates previous) (ANSA) - Vatican City, February 7 - Pope Francis on Friday said divorced and separated couples should not be excluded from Church activities. "(Priests) are called to ask themselves how to help them, so that they don't feel excluded from the mercy of God, the fraternal love of other Christians, and the Church's concern for their salvation," he told a group of Polish bishops at the Vatican in a prelude to an upcoming synod on the family. The pope lamented how often the family is no longer "a place where people learn to get along despite their differences...and where parents pass on the faith to their children". In that respect, priests must figure out "how to help (divorced and separated couples) not abandon their faith and raise their children in the fullness of the Christian experience". His remarks recalled similar ones published last month from a meeting of the Union of Superiors General at the Vatican, when he urged Church leaders to reevaluate the way they treat the children of same-sex and divorced couples, calling on them to "consider how to proclaim Jesus Christ to a generation that is changing".

"We must be careful not to administer a vaccine against faith to them," he added at the time. Such statements have prompted speculation the pope may drop the Church's discipline against divorcees receiving Holy Communion.

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