Divorcees who remarry should abstain from sex and live like siblings with their new partners, says leading US archbishop

Archbishop Charles Caput also says homosexual relationships could cause 'moral confusion'

Gabriel Samuels
Friday 08 July 2016 16:27 BST
Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput
Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput (Getty Images)

Divorced couples who remarry should abstain from sex and live “as brother and sister”, and homosexual relationships produce “moral confusion”, according to a leading US archbishop.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, known within the Catholic Church for his conservative views, has set out a series of new guidelines on sexual propriety in his archdiocese.

The guidelines, published on the archdiocese website, read: “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.

“With the help of grace, mastering the self is possible – and this fasting from physical intimacy is a strong element of spiritual preparation for an enduring life together

The archbishop also asked priests within the 1.5million-strong Philadelphia congregation to “help” Catholics attracted to people of the same sex who “find chastity very difficult”

He used the guide to argue parishioners with a “same-sex attraction” can and should live out heterosexual marriages with children, avoiding same-sex intimacy.

Archbishop Chaput said homosexual relationships “offer a serious counter-witness to Catholic belief”, which he believes could “produce moral confusion within the community.”

Accoring to the guidelines, "those with predominant same-sex attractions are therefore called to struggle to live chastely for the kingdom of God".

They add: “In this endeavor they have need of support, friendship and understanding if they fail.”

People in same-sex partnerships, remarried parishioners and unmarried couples should not be allowed to serve on Catholic councils, Archbishop Chaput added.

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."

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The guidelines came into effect on 1 July and were apparently influenced by Pope Francis’s teachings in his exhortation on family life ‘Amoris Laetita’, released in April this year.

Archbishop Chaput is known to be one of the most strongly conservative figureheads in the US Catholic Church and has consistently been a vocal opposer of gay marriage.

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