The Archbishop of Philadelphia has reiterated that divorced and remarried couples in his archdiocese should live “as brother and sister”.
Archbishop Charles Chaput issued a new set of pastoral guidelines for clergy and other leaders in his archdiocese, which covers 1.5 million faithful.
“Undertaking to live as brother and sister is necessary for the divorced and civilly remarried to receive reconciliation in the Sacrament of Penance, which could then open the way to the Eucharist,” the guidelines read.
Archbishop Chaput says the new instructions stem from the teachings of Amoris Laetitia, which was issued by Pope Francis in April.
The guidelines also say Catholics in same-sex partnerships, civilly remarried parishioners and unmarried couples living together should not be permitted to serve on parish councils, instruct the faithful, serve as lectors or dispense Communion.
Such “irregular” relationships “offer a serious counter-witness to Catholic belief, which can only produce moral confusion in the community,” the guidelines state, acknowledging it is a “hard teaching.”
The new guidelines also address Catholics “who experience same-sex attraction.” Archbishop Chaput says some such parishioners can still live out a heterosexual marriage with children, despite that attraction. Others in same-sex relationships should avoid sexual intimacy, he says.
The guidelines, posted on the archdiocesan website, urge leaders to offer compassion, love, guidance and respect to all parishioners.