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Pope Francis needs to clarify Amoris Laetitia, says Dutch cardinal

Dutch cardinal Willem Jacobus "Wim" Eijk salutes colleagues at the 2013 conclave (Getty Images)

Pope Francis needs to clarify whether Catholics who are divorced and remarried can receive Communion as “people are confused and that is not good”, the most senior cleric in the Netherlands has said.

Cardinal Wim Eijk of Utrecht said that while the Pope has “never said anything that goes against the doctrine of the Church,” Amoris Laetitia has “caused doubt to be sown”.

In an interview with Dutch newspaper Trouw, the cardinal lamented that different bishops’ conferences had produced conflicting guidelines on the issue, adding: “What is true in place A cannot suddenly be false in B. At a certain point you would like clarity.”

When asked what exactly he would like Pope Francis to do, the cardinal said: “Just create clarity. Regarding this point, take away the doubt. In the form of a document, for example.”

Cardinal Eijk said the document should contain “the words of Christ himself: that marriage is one and unbreakable”. “We hold on to that in this archdiocese,” he added.

His words come a month after Pope Francis gave public approval to an ambiguous document from the Buenos Aires bishops that some have interpreted as contradicting the Church’s traditional teaching.

Five bishops later published a document reaffirming Church teaching, saying: “It is not licit (non licet) to justify, approve, or legitimize either directly or indirectly divorce and a non-conjugal stable sexual relationship through the sacramental discipline of the admission of so-called “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion.”

Earlier this month, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said Amoris Laetitia resulted from a “new paradigm that Pope Francis is carrying forward” although he did not say exactly what this entails.