Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona, has said that Pope Francis’s exhortation Amoris Laetitia preserves papal teaching that bars Communion for the remarried.

The Church has traditionally taught that the remarried cannot receive Communion unless living “as brother and sister”. The teaching, which dates back to the early Church, was affirmed by St John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Amoris Laetitia does not directly address it.

Earlier this month the bishops of the Buenos Aires region became the first to suggest that traditional teaching could be overridden.

In guidelines for priests, the bishops suggested that some remarried people whose “responsibility and culpability” were diminished might be able to receive Communion, even if not trying to live as brother and sister.

Writing in the diocesan newspaper, the Catholic Sun, Bishop Olmsted affirmed the traditional teaching.

The bishop wrote: “Accompaniment is possible and should be the case in our parishes. This does not, however, include receiving Holy Communion for those who are divorced and remarried.”

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