View From Rome
17 November 2016
View from Rome
Anyone watching the new Netflix series The Crown might have been struck by the similarity between internal Vatican debates on giving Communion to remarried divorcees and the Church of England’s refusal to allow Princess Margaret to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend, on the grounds that he was a divorced man. In one scene senior bishops explain to the young Queen that the proposed marriage between Margaret and Townsend cannot be allowed to happen, as it would threaten the sacrament of marriage. The Church of England has, of course, changed its position on the issue in the years since.
While those events took place more than half a century ago, here in Rome, four cardinals – three of them retired – have just written to the Pope challenging him to clear up a similar apparent confusion about remarriage in the document he issued in response to the synod on the family, Amoris Laetitia.
They demand that Francis clarifies the “grave disorientation and great confusion” among Catholics about whether divorced and remarried Catholics can receive Communion and present, in a rather Pharisaical way, a series of questions - known as dubia – each of which demands a “yes or no” answer.
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