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Document Details :
Title: The Divorced and Remarried
Subtitle: A New State within the Church?
Author(s): PETRÀ, Basilio
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 16 Issue: 2 Date: 2010
The author investigates the peculiar situation of divorced and remarried in the Roman Catholic Church. While living in an irregular condition and in a union that is not really considered as a marriage, they enjoy wide pastoral acceptance. The Magisterium points out that they are not outside the Church and may have good reasons to continue to remain in their irregularity, and indeed states that they can live a life of grace even if they can’t be absolved and admitted to communion. Moreover, if they are willing to live their relationship in a non-marital way (i.e. without sexual relations), they can receive communion and the possible failures do not fundamentally alter this possibility. Somehow, one can therefore say that they now constitute a state of life in the Church. Many theologians, aware of the contradictions and ambiguities of this situation, suggested routes of readmission of the divorced and remarried to Eucharistic communion and (second) marriage, inspired by the ancient penitential practice (ordo paenitentium) and the Orthodox practice of remarriage. The author presents and discusses these approaches, highlighting some limitations and contradictions, and suggests conclusively more radical solutions to enable the Church to accept, also doctrinally and without contradictions, the reality of marital breakdown.