Bp. Galatino: “Couples in irregular matrimonial situations…”

I read in the La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno that His Excellency Most Rev. Nunzio Galatino, Secretary General of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) has thoughts about “unconventional couples” and the sacraments.

‘Church musn’t exclude unusual couples’ Italian bishops say

(ANSA) – Rome, August 27 – The Church must make everyone feel at home, including “unconventional couples”, the secretary-general of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) said Wednesday. “Couples in irregular matrimonial situations are also Christians, but they are sometimes looked upon with prejudice,” Monsignor Nunzio Galantino said. “The burden of exclusion from the sacraments is an unjustified price to pay, in addition to de facto discrimination,” the prelate explained.  [“Al peso della non ammissione ai sacramenti si aggiunge, non giustificatamente e come ulteriore fio da pagare, una loro discriminazione di fatto”.   In Italian, what he says is not that the exclusion from sacraments is the unjustified price to pay, but rather that the de facto discrimination is an unjustified extra price to pay.  It is slightly different distinction.  Of course we might ask His Excellency where has he seen all this unjust discrimination towards concubines and adulterers in the average parish as of late, but that’s another story, Rudyard Kipling would say.]

The Vatican last year asked its priests around the world for input on controversial issues ranging from same-sex marriage to surrogate motherhood to polygamy ahead of an extraordinary meeting on the family called by Pope Francis for October 2014. The 38-question survey, sent to national conferences of bishops all over the world, sought input from local officials to help the Vatican as it prepares for an unusual assembly of bishops designed to develop new directions for the Church on issues of family relations. The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization is the official title selected for the third extraordinary general assembly of the synod of bishops to be held in the Vatican.

This would be a good time to remind the readership of a book available for pre-order.

Click to PRE-ORDER

Since it has been released elsewhere also, I can at least reveal the names of the 5 Cardinals and other authors involved in the book:


Walter Brandmüller
Raymond Leo Burke
Carlo Caffarra
Velasio De Paolis, C.S.,
Gerhard Ludwig Müller


Fr. Robert Dodaro, OSA
Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J.
Prof. John M. Rist
Archbishop Cyril Vasil, S.J.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. DavidJ says:

    Unjustified discrimination? If one is told not to receive the Eucharist because doing so, as Paul says, would be bringing judgment down upon them, how is that discrimination? It’s more like the mother who says “The soup is hot and will burn you if you eat it now.” Some people in these situations deserve great sympathy, but the solution is not to allow them to harm their souls out of a misguided sense of compassion.

  2. StJude says:

    ‘discrimination’….. seriously? good grief. Silly me thought I could not present my self to our Lord if I had committed a mortal sin… I never even thought that God could be discriminating against me.

    Whats the saying.. ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’.

  3. benedetta says:

    Actually, I have not heard of anyone being excluded because of a divorce in these USA for many decades. Indeed, everywhere I know of includes divorced Catholics to a degree that when one might compare the paltry outreach to youth in some places one might conclude a certain favoritism.

    Like his prior comment regarding prolife witness, I feel very sorry for this prelate who seems to a great degree out of touch with reality.

    I am also beginning to sense that his out of touchness and denial of what is plainly apparent relates to a strange agenda. And as to that agenda, that too, has not by any means been neglected or excluded to a huge degree, often to the cost of incredible injustice and the pastoral needs of youth and families subjected to the poverties of our time. I really dislike criticism towards prelates, but this one seems a real standout who has issues and is eager to orchestrate division towards ordinary, joyful Catholics at this moment.

  4. benedetta says:

    To be honest he seems a newly appointed Bishop eager to get himself in the Italian…and by extension…anti Catholic media worldwide and thus make a name for himself.

  5. slainewe says:

    “‘Church musn’t exclude unusual couples’ Italian bishops say.”

    Yeah, and a wife must allow her husband to bring his mistress home for dinner. The wife should welcome them, prepare a place for them together at the table, and serve them, in full view of the children.

    Why is it that something we would find abominable among men, we think Christ and His Bride should understand? [“Dear Lord, forgive us and give Wisdom to our bishops.”]

  6. Iacobus M says:

    “Irregular matrimonial situations”? We used to call it “living in sin” back when churchmen called things what they were. Bishops shouldn’t be afraid to speak the truth (lovingly, of course) for fear of offending someone, because the Truth is often offensive to those who are doing wrong: “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)

  7. Vecchio di Londra says:

    Bishop Galantino was the one who announced that he didn’t like young people praying the Rosary in front of abortion clinics. I find his opinions very useful – you can steer a line more or less 180% opposite to his and be pretty sure you’ve hit on sound doctrine and right action. I’ve noticed a definite uptick in the numbers participating at abortion clinic vigils since his magazine interview in May. Thanks be to God!

    Btw, the book by the Five Cardinals will be published in the UK by Gracewing. Although it’s not up there yet on the Gracewing website, it should be there fairly soon.

  8. benedetta says:

    He’s spoken out of turn as far as prolife witness in the public square — he is obviously not in union with the Holy Father on that score.

    Let’s face it, Mass attendance in Italy, whether we’re talking irregular marriage or not, is, well, subpar? And the birth rate is not even replacement at this point. So the Church in Italy, there are bigtime problems that his Episcopal Conference has to address.

    And the facts are that Catholic marriages divorce in significantly lower rates than the general population. These statistics have been publicly available, readily and widely, for some years now.

    Here’s the thing: why do people think our msm (“Yahoo News” anyone?) is picking up his every word said to some unknown to Americans Italian newspaper and manging on it like Cookie Monster? Could it be that our fine Church haters in our own USA msm now, with his anti prolifer comments which they binged on, have him on their radar to pick up his every little morsel?

    Because I mean if Yahoo News etc is now going to start covering every little thing that every Bishop around the world says in their own language and to their own local dioceses to their little local papers, then, giddyup they are going to have to get started in earnest…how many Bishops have we got? All telling stuff to local papers, around the world, about the Church. You know so, for every little utterance Yahoo News wants to cover out of Italian language local papers…we’re going to also need to hear…how much webpage do you think that will cover (LOL)?

    What was that Fr. Z was saying a while back about the faketivism? And about this very issue, and about our own media…

  9. jacobi says:

    Couples in “unconventional” relationship are not excluded from any Sacraments. They do however exclude themselves from one, and that is Holy Communion.
    If they receive Holy Communion, then they commit a Mortal Sin. If they persist then they probably commit Sacrilege.

    They are of course welcome to attend Mass and other Sacraments such as Confession, or perhaps Extreme Unction should their car happen to run into a brick wall, on the way to church, or back from the pub, for that matter.

    Personally I am getting a bit fed up with this constant pressure on the part of minorities in society at large – and now in the Church – to have their cake and eat it, to expect, in this case, the Church to change its doctrine to accommodate their particular desires or disorders.

    There are Catholics, we should all remember, who are married, who face up to inevitable difficulties, who cope, and who persist in their marriage, without bleating to the Church to change the rules to make life a bit easier.

    Perhaps we should think a little bit more about them.

  10. Bosco says:

    Oh, just perfect. Another brick in the wall.

    I have a suggested theme song for the October revolution (with apologies to Bugs Bunny).


  11. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    The Vatican last year asked its priests around the world for input on controversial issues ranging from same-sex marriage to surrogate motherhood to polygamy…


    How on earth are those issues “controversial” within a Catholic context?

    Marriage is one man and one woman joined together for life in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony both free of any impediments to the marriage that would make it invalid, the ceremony takes place within a Catholic Church in the presence of Holy Eucharist, it is basically a copy of the Wedding at Cana that our Lord Jesus Christ was in attendance at 2000 years ago, the couple are both open to new life, the new souls that Almighty God entrusts to their care and upbringing.

    How’s that for an starting point for a “Remedial Introduction to the Catholic Understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage 101” class?

    How complicated is that?

    And I’m not even a priest. (Although I’ve been asked if I wanted to become one, I don’t feel called to that life.)

    Polygamy, (and Polyandry) is not marriage. It is clearly an unfair and imbalanced relationship that destabilizes and brings civilizations to ruin.

    Same-Sex “marriage” is not a marriage. No amount of arguing, threatening, bribing, torturing, or doing anything else to me will change that fact of nature. That being said, I am just as human as the next person, and I may give in and admit that it is indeed “marriage” just to make you stop hurting me, or to enjoy having lots and lots of money that you’re offering me, but my admitting that it is “marriage” won’t change the fact that it is not marriage. “Marriage” exists outside of human definitions and always will.

    Surrogate Motherhood is unnatural, and cheapens the sacredness of new life, and worse-still, when money changes hands then it is the buying and selling of another human being, which is morally repugnant to all civilized men.

    “Polyamory” is not a marriage, it is barely a stable relationship to begin with. The very fact that human beings feel the God-Given emotion “jealousy” is proof enough for that. In other words: Someone ALWAYS gets hurt sooner or later (Sad to say, I first-hand experience with that insanity.).

    May the Saints in Heaven Pray for us down here…

  12. slainewe says:

    “They are of course welcome to attend Mass”

    Why? To rub the Face of Christ and His Bride in their sin? The Mass is the Nuptials between Christ and His Bride. To attend while in a state of unrepentant adultery mocks The Eternal Covenant. If we had any real charity for these “unusual couples” we would beg them, for the good of their souls, to stay away. Their absence will remind us to pray harder for their TRUE return, and remind them that they are risking ETERNAL separation.

    [Ehem… Catholics are OBLIGED to go to Mass on Sundays. Sundays are days of PRECEPT, of OBLIGATION. They may not receive Communion but they are OBLIGED to be there all the same. PERIOD. No ifs, ands or buts.]

  13. Eugene says:

    I really do not get this man, first his comments sometime ago about not identifying with people who pray the Rosary in front of abortion mills ( not the words he used) and now this wishy washy garbage.
    It is very disconcerting that the shepherds that are supposed protecting us from the proverbial wolves have lost the courage to label sin as sin.
    God have mercy on us

  14. jacobi says:

    ““They are of course welcome to attend Mass” Why?”

    If I may, since the above extract appears to be from my earlier comment, the answer is (as well as for the reason Father has pointed out), I think, to pray for help in their troubles, for the Grace to overcome sin, and to acknowledge and give thanks for the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross for Mankind. And also in the certainty that if sincere, a way will be forthcoming. Christ never rejected sinners. He called for them to sin no more.

    That of course applies to all sinners, including those also guilty of the Four Sins Crying Out to Heaven, or The Seven Deadly Sins, they too need to pray for help (and abstain from receiving Holy Communion), and of course, contraceptors and abortionists, probably all of us somewhere there at some time.

    Hence a point I have made before in comment that the habit of routine 100% reception of Holy Communion at every Mass is one of the worst afflictions (among many) of the post-Vat II Church.

  15. jhayes says:

    As our good host has pointed out, the English translation is wrong.

    It should read

    “to the burden of exclusion from the sacraments is added, unjustifiably and as a final penalty to endure, de-facto discrimination against them.”

    “Unjustifiably” refers to the discrimination, not to the exclusion from the sacraments.

    By “discrimination” Bishop Galantino means that

    “le persone che “si trovano in una situazione matrimoniale irregolare” sono “cristiani”, “fanno parte della Chiesa” ma talvolta sono visti dagli altri “con uno sguardo carico di pregiudizio”.

    Persons who “find themselves in an irregular marital situation” are “Christians” and “are members of the Church” but, at times, are looked on by others “with views full of prejudice”

  16. Marc M says:

    Maybe I’m missing something. It seems from Fr. Z’s comment on the translation that the Bishop did not dispute here that people in irregular marriages should be excluded from the sacraments. Rather, that those excluded should not face discrimination or prejudice.

    Isn’t that something we should all assent to? “Lord, I thank you that I’m not a sinner like that couple over there…” Maybe I’m touchy since I was in an irregular marriage for a long time, but I imagine from our Lord’s words that a couple who acknowledges their sin and comes to Mass to be with the Lord and ask for His grace despite being unable to receive, might be ultimately in better shape than someone tromping up to receive Communion while looking at those sitting in the pews thinking “THEY shouldn’t be here!”

  17. benedetta says:

    MarcM, Yes clearly everyone assents to that. I have never witnessed any discrimination or ill feeling towards people in irregular marriages. Quite the opposite as a matter of fact. It seems the “stigma” of the time when divorce was not so easy to come by, before the days of no fault and cohabitation etc., is pretty much long gone. The vast majority of parishes really go out of their way to support people in such situations. So, like I said, the trumpeting of this by American msm is just an example of faketivism, to make it seem like one thing when in reality it is not so. Why else would the American msm go snooping into what an Italian language newspaper is printing about some obscure Italian bishop and wasting precious headline space on it? The real news story is that Catholics divorce in significantly lower rates than the general population, and with good catechesis, sacramental preparation, and programming to support youth, it could actually be that much lower. That’s where the real pastoral need is these days.

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  19. jaykay says:

    “… ma talvolta sono visti dagli altri “con uno sguardo carico di pregiudizio”.

    To put it as charitably as I can manage, I think he’s making altogether too much out of something that in reality is unquantifiable. Is he (or any of us) in any position to know exactly how many are “holding views in the nature of prejudice”, or how often they’re indulging in this?? O.k., he does say “talvolta”, “sometimes”, but just how frequently actually IS that sometimes? Damn few times, and damn few people, is my opinion, based on the fact that damn few people even bother going to Church any more. I’m in Ireland, b.t.w. Italy was exactly the same, if not worse, when I was there last year.

    Benedetta hits the nail on the head in that regard, in her comment above.

  20. “Of course we might ask His Excellency where has he seen all this unjust discrimination towards concubines and adulterers in the average parish as of late…”

    DH and I are fortunate to attend a parish which, though musically…erm… contemporary …has a great associate pastor, a new pastor who I don’t really have a handle on yet (but since his “big thing” at his previous parish was Eucharistic processions, one has to think he can’t be that bad!), and several quite orthodox deacons. A couple of months ago, during the brouhaha over a certain basketball team’s married owner’s racist remarks to his girlfriend, one of the deacons got up and began his homily stating, “Most of you have probably heard about the comments made by Donald Sterling last week.” I mentally sighed, thinking “Really? A sermon on the evils of racism? I quite agree that it’s an issue, but I doubt that 99% of this church’s population, it being a *very* mixed-population church comprised of African-Americans, Hispanics, Vietnamese, and whites, are especially racist.”

    He then continued, (I’m paraphrasing here) “While Mr. Sterling’s remarks were totally unacceptable, I note that almost no one seems to have a problem with the fact that he made them to a woman with whom he was cheating on his wife.” He then gave a solid 15-minute sermon on the sanctity of marriage and the Church’s teaching on marriage, quoting from official documents and Scripture where appropriate.

    And yes, I gave him a big “way to go” as we walked out of the church after Mass.

    Not that I consider this to be in the least discriminatory, as the sermon was very kind and charitable, but at least someone is teaching about what marriage means nowadays…

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