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Leader of Italian bishops: Church should do more to welcome ‘unconventional couples’

Pope Francis with Mgr Nunzio Galantino earlier this year (PA)

The secretary-general of the Italian bishops’ conference has said that the Church must do more to welcome “unconventional couples”.

Bishop Nunzio Galantino of Cassano all’Jonio, who was appointed secretary-general of the Italian episcopal conference by Pope Francis, said: “Couples in irregular matrimonial situations are also Christians, but they are sometimes looked upon with prejudice.”

According to Italy’s news service, ANSA, Bishop Galantino appeared to call for divorced and remarried Catholics to be admitted to Holy Communion. It quoted the bishop saying: “The burden of exclusion from the sacraments is an unjustified price to pay, in addition to de facto discrimination.”

A story by the Italian daily Avvenire, however, reported Bishop Galantino as saying explicitly that divorced and remarried couples “cannot receive Eucharistic communion”.