Just days after the conclusion of the Synod on the Family, Eugenio Scalfari, the atheist co-founder of the Italian daily La Republicca, said that Pope Francis told him “all the divorced [and remarried Catholics] who ask” will be admitted to Holy Communion.
Scalfari, who has published numerous controversial interviews with the pope, said that Francis phoned him the evening of October 28 to discuss an article Scalfari had written about the synod.
Scalfari said Pope Francis spoke about the diversity of opinions expressed by bishops at the Oct. 4-25 synod, particularly on the feasibility of some divorced and civilly remarried Catholics receiving absolution and being allowed to receive Communion even if their first, sacramental marriage has not been annulled. Scalfari quotes the pope as follows:
The diverse opinion of the bishops is part of this modernity of the Church and of the diverse societies in which she operates, but the goal is the same, and for that which regards the admission of the divorced to the Sacraments, [it] confirms that this principle has been accepted by the Synod. This is bottom line result, the de facto appraisals are entrusted to the confessors, but at the end of faster or slower paths, all the divorced who ask will be admitted.
The synod’s final report to Pope Francis was not that clear and, in fact, did not specifically mention Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried. In current church practice, divorced and remarried Catholics are forbidden to receive Communion because they are living a state of grave sin – adultery. In almost all cases, such people are not to receive Communion because the church recognizes only their sacramental marriage as valid.
Contrary to the Magisterium of the Church
The pope’s support of the controversial proposal of Cardinal Kasper to allow Communion for the divorced and remarried runs contrary to the official Magisterium of the Church.
In 1980, there was a meeting of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, and Pope John Paul II subsequently issued the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio. Paragraph 84 comments on the situation of the divorced and remarried and under what conditions they may be invited to the reception of communion.
St. John Paul II wrote:
The Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI re-affirmed the above teaching in Sacramentum Caritatis, the 2007 apostolic exhortation which followed the 2005 synod on the Eucharist:
The synod of bishops confirmed the Church’s practice, based on Sacred Scripture, of not admitting the divorced and remarried to the sacraments, since their state and their condition of life objectively contradict the loving union of Christ and the Church signified and made present in the Eucharist.
5th Controversial Interview
This latest article by Scalfari is the 5th such interview granted by the Pope to the controversial atheist author. Previous interviews have caused a firestorm of controversy, with outrightly heretical statements attributed to the Pope. While many have questioned the reliability and accuracy of Scalfari’s quotations of the Pope, it must be noted that the Scalfari interviews have been published by the Vatican in a book containing “official” interviews of the Pope with various journalists.
We also recall Vatican spokesman Fr. Lombardi who, pressed by reporters on the reliability of the Scalfari interviews, said that if Francis felt his thought had been “gravely misrepresented,” he would have said so. To-date, Pope Francis has not denied or clarified any of the interviews.
The 4th interview, published on March 15, was a highly controversial one, since in it, Scalfari has the pope denying hell. Scalfari wrote:
What happens to that lost soul? Will it be punished? And how? The response of Francis is distinct and clear: there is no punishment, but the annihilation of that soul. All the others will participate in the beatitude of living in the presence of the Father. The souls that are annihilated will not take part in that banquet; with the death of the body their journey is finished.∎
by Christopher Leonis