KRAKOW (ChurchMilitant.com) - The bishops of Poland are reaffirming that remarried divorcees cannot receive Holy Communion.
Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, head of the Polish bishops conference, made the announcement Wednesday evening to the press after the bishops met privately with Pope Francis earlier in the day.
After the 90-minute question-and-answer session the 117-member bishops' conference had with Pope Francis at the cathedral in Krakow, Abp. Gadecki told reporters there's a need for "constant discernment" when shepherding remarried divorcees, but added:
This [communion for divorced and remarried] cannot be solved in a confessional box in two minutes or even a couple of years. This is a path for the priests and the laity to walk together, knowing that if a marriage has been validly concluded there is no ground to administering communion to remarried divorcees.
The archbishop noted that the meeting with the Pope was "very warm" and "he listened to the bishops." One of four questions brought up at the meeting was the Holy Father's apostolic exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" and its need for clarification.
Archbishop Gadecki replied that the Polish bishops believe the document reflected their "more conservative proposal" they voiced during last year's Synod on the Family to "retain the truth of the Gospel" regarding the inability of remarried divorcees to receive the sacraments. Gadecki emphasized, "We cannot deliberately overstep Christ's precept against divorce."
Pope Francis flew into Krakow Wednesday afternoon for the start of World Youth Day and was greeted by Poland's president Andrzej Duda and government leaders. The closed-door meeting with the Polish bishops took place shortly afterward.
Father Federico Lombardi, the papal spokesman, related that the meeting was private in order for all to be able to speak freely, out of the "spotlight of cameras," which could "exert some unnecessary pressure" on those attending.
Archbishop Gadecki remarked how the media's build-up to the meeting had been false. "What's important, given the context of the mass media which suggested the Pope has come to Poland to criticize Polish bishops, is that that has not happened. What happened was that he spoke in terms of empathy."