Syriac Catholic Patriarch: Divorced & Remarried Must Get in Line With Church Teaching

by Church Militant  •  •  October 7, 2015   

Divorced and civilly remarried must be reintegrated "according to the sacramental theology of the Church"

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DETROIT, October 6, 2015 ( - Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III Yonan, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syrians for the Syriac Catholic Church, has weighed in on Cdl. Walter Kasper's now-infamous proposal for giving Communion to divorced adulterers.

According to the patriarch, the Church ought to be merciful and pastoral toward anyone who sincerely desires to be in communion with the Church and the faithful, but any efforts to welcome them must be made in conformity with Church doctrine.

"[W]e have couples that want to be reintegrated in the Church. We have to find for them a kind of environment that would help them reintegrate in," he states, "but according to the sacramental theology of the Church."

The patriarch's comments are essentially the same as those made by Pope Francis on the subject. The Pope has twice affirmed that civilly divorced and "remarried" Catholics are not excommunicated. They are, he notes, still part of the Church. However, he maintains that "these situations contradict the Christian Sacrament."

Thus, Pope Francis says they "should be integrated into Church life" by, for example, "[d]rawing closer to the Mass, to catechesis, their children's education, charity ... . There are so many different options."

He does not include among these options being invited to receive the Blessed Sacrament.

When it comes to the reception of Communion by divorced adulterers, the sacramental theology of the Church is clear. As St. Paul said in his first letter to the Corinthians, "if anyone eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily, he will be held to account for the Lord's Body and Blood" (1 Cor 11:27).

Watch our full interview with Patriarch Yonan here.


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