(Vatican Radio) Thursday 15 Oct. “The Polish Episcopal Conference does not support the notion of admitting divorced and remarried Catholics to the Eucharist,” said Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki at the daily Synod briefing.
Click below to listen to the report by Fr. Russell Pollitt SJ
Archbishop Gadecki, President of the Polish Episcopal Conference, and Archbishop Carlos Aquiar Retes of Mexico, were guests at the briefing. Holy See Press spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, told the media that there had been about 93 interventions on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning in the General Assembly. Fr. Lombardi was joined by Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, the English-speaking Media Attache of the Holy See.
Fr. Lombardi explained that the delegates would continue to make interventions on part three of Intrumentum Laboris on Thursday afternoon. On Friday the auditors and fraternal delegates will be given time to make their interventions.
On Friday there will be two media briefings at the Holy See Press Office: one on Sunday's Canonisation of the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux at 11:00am; and the daily Synod briefing at 1pm.
The interventions made at the Synod assembly spanned many issues. Some of these included: the need to defend Church doctrine and ensure we are faithful to the tradition of the Church; correct understanding of Scripture texts; clarification of Church teaching on marriage; a possible catechetical pathway for accompanying the divorced and remarried; the important role that the sacrament of reconciliation plays; the teaching of the Church on sin should be highlighted and not lost; the complexities of inter-faith, inter-cultural, inter-religious and multi-racial marriages; the trafficking of women and children and the suffering of couples who are not able to have children - adoption was spoken about in such cases.
The formation of priests for pastoral accompaniment was also addressed. If young men do not have a good experience of family are not given adequate formation and helped to find healing, they will not be be effective ministers. Young men need to be taught the "art of friendship" so that they can accompany families on the pathway to holiness.
The issue of the admission to the Eucharist for the divorced and remarried was discussed extensively. Archbishop Gadecki said that the Polish position was clear, “We do not support a process of admitting the divorced and remarried to the Eucharist, we believe in the current annulment process.”
He said that there were many ways in which people in second unions could participate in the life of the Church without receiving the Eucharist. “People can participate in different forms and bear witness to the hardships of family life.” Gadecki added that remarried divorcees had the “right to participate” in the life of the Church without receiving the Eucharist.
It was reported that some interventions in the Synod Assembly made it clear that admitting remarried people to the Eucharist would not be an "indiscriminate process" but a carefully structured one. Divorce must always be seen as a tragedy for the family. The Church should not punish those who are weak but find ways of helping them. Many of the interventions underlined that it was not a doctrinal change that was sought but a change in pastoral attitude.
Archbishop Retes said that the Holy Father has shown the Church what attitude we should have: that of mercy towards everyone. He said that this was the mission of the Church and, in the family, people should “taste” the love of God.
There were other interventions about the serious problems related to inter-religious marriages in Africa and Asia. However, many delegates said that the positive side of this was that it opened the door to dialogue with people of other religions who were married to Catholics.
The media were told that some interventions had thanked the Holy Father for his Moto Proprio which made annulments more accessible. He was also thanked for teaching ministers of the Church how to smile when pasturing God’s people.