German church leader signals opening for divorcees

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Associated Press

Posted on March 15, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Updated Saturday, Mar 15 at 2:03 PM

BERLIN (AP) — The new leader of Germany's Roman Catholic bishops is signaling support for allowing some divorced but remarried Catholics to receive Communion after a "penitential period."

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who also sits on a panel that helps advise Pope Francis on Vatican reform, was elected Wednesday to head the German Bishops' Conference.

Church teaching holds that unless their first marriage is annulled, remarried Catholics can't receive Communion or other sacraments. The church is now discussing anew how to handle such cases.

In an interview with the Welt am Sonntag newspaper released Saturday, Marx cited a prominent theologian's proposal that "divorced people who recognize their failure can, after a penitential period, seek readmission to the sacraments." He's quoted as saying cardinals' reactions were varied but he personally considers it "a viable path."

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