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Synod debates whether remarried divorcees should receive communion




Pope Francis (C) holds his skullcup in front of a Swiss guard as he leaves at the end of the morning session of the Synod on the Families, at the Vatican, on October 6, 2014.
Pope Francis (C) holds his skullcup in front of a Swiss guard as he leaves at the end of the morning session of the Synod on the Families, at the Vatican, on October 6, 2014.
ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images

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At St. Peters basilica on Sunday, the Pope convened a two week synod consisting of 200 cardinals and bishops from around the world to dig into many contentious issues. Pope Francis is calling for synod participants to approach the discussions with a spirit of mercy, and to listen to the “call of the people.” One controversy that’s expected to receive focus is whether or not remarried divorcees should receive communion. Currently, the church does not recognize civil divorces. In the eyes of canonical law, the first marriage is still valid until it is annulled, making the remarriage irregular, until the situation is resolved. 

Should the church allow for the eucharist to be given to parishioners that remarry after a civil divorce? Or should it be denied until the first marriage is officially annulled? In your experience, how difficult or easy is it to get a Vatican-recognized annulment?

Guest: 

Father Thomas Rausch, T. Marie Chilton Professor of Catholic Theology at Loyola Marymount University

Stephen White, Fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC