Edward T. Fagan 0
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Recommended Citation Edward T. Fagan (2017) "Editorial Comment," Th e Catholic Lawyer: Vol. 26 : No. 1 , Article 2. Available at: http://scholarship.law.stjohns.edu/tcl/vol26/iss1/2
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One of the articles featured in this issue of The Catholic Lawyer is a
reprint of a recently updated study of material dealing with intolerable
marriage situations compiled ten years ago by Ladislas Orsy and
published at that time in The Jurist. Entitled "Intolerable Marriage
Situations Revisited," the new study appeared initially in The Jurist as a
follow up to the Orsy article and was authored by its Managing Editor, the
Reverend James Provost.
Subsequent to the publication of this new study, Pope John Paul II
addressed himself to certain aspects of the problem treated in both
studies. Speaking at the closing session of a Synod of Bishops in Rome on
October 25, 1980, the Pope stated unequivocally that divorced Roman
Catholics who remarry may not receive communion unless they abstain
from sexual relations with their spouses.
The Pope's speech in the Sistine Chapel formally ended the Fifth
World Synod of Bishops, which began September 26, 1980, to discuss the
problems of Christian families.
The Pope, speaking in Latin, told the 216 bishops that divorced
Catholics who are remarried "are not to be considered separated from the
"By virtue of their baptism, they can and ought to participate in the
life of the church by praying, by hearing the Word, by assisting at the
eucharistic celebration of the community and by fostering charity and
justice," he said.
But he added that divorced and remarried Catholics may not receive
communion unless they "live in a manner which is not opposed to the
indissolubility of marriage; live in complete continence, that is, by
abstinence from acts in which only married couples can engage."
The Pope's message came one day after the Canadian delegation to
the Synod had recommended a new study to consider allowing divorced
and remarried Catholics to take communion.
Vatican sources said the Pope was reaffirming traditional church
teaching on the subject and indicating that he did not go along with
suggestions for a reappraisal.