The Badische Zeitung reports that some 150 clergymen of the archdiocese of Freiburg have signed a statement calling for the admission of the divorced and remarried to the sacraments. They state that they have already implemented this policy in their pastoral ministry.
Pray Tell brings their statement in translation:
With the topic “The Divorced and Remarried” we take up from the topics of the “Memorandum of the Theologians” a particularly burning concern that cannot be delayed any longer.
We thus unite ourselves with initiatives, in some cases from decades ago, which have called this a pastorally urgent problem. For example:
- The Wurzburg Synod, 1975;
- The bishops of the Oberrhein province, 1993;
- The Katholische Frauengemeinschaft Deutschlands (“Association of Catholic Women of German”) after the 2011 papal visit;
- Also the book by Eberhard Schockenhoff, Chancen zur Versöhnung? (“Opportunities for Reconciliation?”).
In all these documents and publications, multiple reasons are given for why people who have entered into a new relationship after their divorce should be treated with great trust and with respect for their new relationship, and why they should not be excluded from reception of the sacraments.
Tell it like it is!
With our signature we bring to expression that we let ourselves be guided by mercy in our pastoral action with the divorced and remarried (salus animarum suprema lex – the salvation of souls is the highest law). We are fully aware that we thereby are often acting against the prescripts of canon law currently in force in the Roman Catholic Church.
But we thereby take into account the decision in conscience of the individuals concerned and their resulting real life situation. In our communities, the divorced and remarried go to Communion and receive the Sacrament of Penance and the Anointing of the Sick with our approval. They are active as colleagues on parish councils, in catechetical formation, and in other services.
Until now we have lived with this balancing act in the hope that there would soon be a decision which would give these people, officially and without discrimination, a place in our Church in accord with the Gospel.
We think new regulations are urgently necessary for the sake of people and our Church. We no longer wish to maintain and endure this balancing act.
Priests and Deacons of the Archdiocese of Freiburg
(156 clergymen as of June 6, 2012)
H/T The Tablet