From ............ National Catholic Reporter

February 7, 1997

page 8-9


Welcome the remarried, pope says

While Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried cannot participate in the Eucharist, they must be welcomed as members of the church and encouraged to participate in parish life Pope John Paul II said.

the pope said Jan. 24 to members of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Members of the council, which includes prelates and married couples, were holding their plenary assembly at the Vatican. The assembly focused on the church's pastoral outreach to Catholics who have been divorced and remarried without a church declaration of annulment of their first marriage.

In announcing the theme of the plenary, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, council president, said members would not debate the clear doctrinal teaching that holds marriage is indissoluble.

For Catholics, church law forbids remarriage after divorce unless one has received an annulment, a declaration by a church court that the first marriage was not truly a marriage, so the person is free to marry again.