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Pope urges welcome of divorced, remarried Catholics

Pope Francis' remarks came at the first general audience after a summer break.

By Ed Adamczyk
Pope Francis urged a more supportive attitude toward divorced and remarried Catholics during a general audience Wednesday at the Vatican. File Photo: UPI/Stefano Spaziari | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/665518ce9948e8759720d167ed1dd180/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Pope Francis urged a more supportive attitude toward divorced and remarried Catholics during a general audience Wednesday at the Vatican. File Photo: UPI/Stefano Spaziari | License Photo

VATICAN CITY, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Divorced and remarried Catholics are not automatically excommunicated from the church, Pope Francis reminded a Vatican audience Wednesday.

He told a general audience the Catholic church still regards a remarriage after divorce a violation of church teachings, but noted the church expects children of failed marriages to continue to be raised by parents who feel shunned by the church and are kept "far from the community life (of the church) as if they were excommunicated."

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He urged pastors "not to add additional weight beyond what the children in this situation have to bear. Unfortunately the numbers of these children and young people are truly great."

"People who started a new union after the defeat of their sacramental marriage are not at all excommunicated, and they absolutely must not be treated that way. They always belong to the church."

The Pope's comments are not expected to lead to a change in church policy regarding divorced Catholics, but come prior to a September convocation at the Vatican to discuss family issues. A previous meeting ended without a breakthrough change in the Church's relationship to its divorced members.

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