Vatican Encourages Single Mothers to Take Communion

( – In a letter issued by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican has clarified the church’s stance on single mothers receiving communion at mass, encouraging them to participate in the sacrament without worry of being turned away.

The letter was addressed to a bishop in the Dominican Republic, Ramón Alfredo de la Cruz, as a response to the bishop’s inquiry about single mothers abstaining “from communion out of fear” of the clergy and community leaders’ “rigorism.”

The letter was written by Argentinian Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith Prefect, and the Archbishop emeritus of La Plata. It said that single mothers who chose to “lead a very complex existence” by deciding to keep their children rather than abort them “should be encouraged to have access” to church sacraments, which have “healing and consoling power.”

The dicastery cited a homily delivered by Pope Francis while still a cardinal, which focused on the subject of the church mistreating single parents. In 2012, he said priests who don’t “baptize the children of single mothers” for being conceived outside the sanctity of marriage are “hypocrites” who have “clericalized the Church” and turn others “away from salvation.” The then-cardinal said the girls “who could have sent” their children “back to the sender” but chose to keep and baptize them are courageous.

According to Catholic doctrine, followers cannot receive Holy Communion while in a state of mortal sin, which includes fornication. Despite this specific belief, the doctrine also professes that an individual is absolved by God if they confess their sins and repent, allowing participation in the sacraments again.

The letter says that “the central message” of the Gospel is “the invitation to recognize that no one” is fit to “cast the first stone.” The cardinal calls for “understanding, comfort, and acceptance” from the Church toward single mothers rather than imposing straightaway a set of rules” only leading to people feeling “judged and abandoned.”

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