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Archbishop holds ‘frank’ discussion with priests on controversial guidelines

Archbishop Charles Scicluna had what he described as “a frank” discussion with parish priests over guidelines dealing with Catholics in complicated relationships.

The discussion formed part of the regular monthly meeting Mgr Scicluna has with parish priests. The matter was on the agenda following the controversy that erupted after the guidelines were released last month.

Mgr Scicluna and Gozo Bishop Mario Grech drafted the guidelines to help priests implement chapter eight of Pope Francis’s exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the Joy of Love. The guidelines provide divorced Catholics who remarry and those who cohabit an opening to the sacraments.

But they have proved to be controversial, with some in the Church feeling a deep discomfort about what the bishops have said. The Sunday Times of Malta last week carried an interview with a parish priest – called Fr Joe since he asked to remain anonymous – who felt they went against Church doctrine.

Talking to this newspaper yesterday, Mgr Scicluna said the guidelines were discussed with parish priests and another meeting will be held for all priests.

“It was a frank discussion that has to continue. It is my duty to dialogue with my priests, listen and engage with them,” he said.

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