Holy Communion is exclusively for Catholics in a state of grace and not something to be shared between friends like beer or cake, said a former senior adviser to two popes.
Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze said any moves to give greater access to Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics and to non-Catholic spouses of Catholics represented “serious” challenges to the teaching of the Church on the Eucharist.
In a 23rd May interview with Catholic News Service, he implicitly objected to interpretations of Pope Francis’ 2016 apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia that would permit divorced and remarried Catholics who had not received an annulment to receive Communion in certain circumstances.
“If a person is divorced and remarried (without the first marriage being annulled) then there is a problem,” said Cardinal Arinze, adding that Jesus taught that their arrangements constituted adultery.
“It is not we who made that (teaching),” said the cardinal, 85, who served as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments under St John Paul II and now-retired Pope Benedict XVI. “It is Christ who said it.”
Picture: Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze and Pope Francis concelebrate Mass on 20th May. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).