Four questions for Cardinal Coccopalmerio


Catholic Herald, 23 February 2017

The cardinal should be asked whether his book violates ancient Church teaching

Readers, like us writers, are perhaps getting weary from the dizzying twists and turns on divorce, remarriage and the sacraments. Alas, the latest whirl on the Amoris Laetitia carousel, provided by Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, cannot be ignored. In his enthusiasm to back what he thinks Pope Francis believes, despite no public evidence of same, the cardinal advises granting absolution and administering Holy Communion even to couples who can get married but choose simply to live together.

“The divorced and remarried, de facto couples, those cohabitating, are certainly not models of unions in sync with Catholic doctrine, but the Church cannot look the other way,” Coccopalmerio writes in his recent booklet on the correct interpretation of Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia. “Therefore, the sacraments of Reconciliation and Communion should be given even to those so-called wounded families and to however many who, despite living in situations not in line with traditional matrimonial canons, express the sincere desire to approach the sacraments after an appropriate period of discernment.”

The bit about the “traditional matrimonial canons” is a nice touch because Cardinal Coccopalmerio is in fact the president of the council for the interpretation of legislative texts. That’s the Vatican department entrusted with providing authoritative interpretations of canon law when difficult matters arise.

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