SHAFAQNA – Five conservative cardinals are about to publish a book in which they reject Pope Francis’s plan to reconsider whether remarried divorcees should be allowed to receive communion. Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church is due to be published next month before a synod of bishops where the Roman Catholic church and the family will be discussed. It pre-empts Francis’ call for a compassionate change to Catholic teaching. The Pope’s ideas for a more merciful church were outlined by his ally, Cardinal Walter Kasper of Germany, at a meeting of cardinals in the Vatican last February. Last Sunday in St Peter’s Basilica, the Pope married 20 couples chosen as representatives of modern society — one bride was a single mother and several couples had been living “in sin”.
However, some cardinals, led by Ludwig Muller, the Vatican’s guardian of doctrinal orthodoxy, remain opposed to the Pope’s proposals. In the book’s introduction, Father Robert Dodaro wrote: “The authors were united in maintaining firmly that the New Testament shows us Christ who unambiguously prohibits divorce and subsequent remarriage on the basis of God’s original plan for matrimony.” The cardinals reject the idea that divorcees could be readmitted after a period of penitence and their views reflect the difficulties the Pope will face as he tries to bring church teaching into line with his ideas for an outward-looking church that serves as a “field-hospital for the afflicted”.