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Vatican canon law official explains provisions of 'Amoris Laetitia'


Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, speaks at a Vatican press conference in this Sept. 8, 2015, file photo. Cardinal Coccopalmerio has written a book on Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation, "Amoris Laetitia." (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The provisions of "Amoris Laetitia" allow people in irregular marriage situations access to the sacraments only if they recognize their situation is sinful and desire to change it, according to the cardinal who heads the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

The fact that such a couple also believes changing the situation immediately by splitting up would cause more harm and forgoing sexual relations would threaten their current relationship does not rule out the possibility of receiving sacramental absolution and Communion, said Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the pontifical council that is charged with interpreting canon law.

The intention to change, even if the couple cannot do so immediately, "is exactly the theological element that allows absolution and access to the Eucharist as long as -- I repeat -- there is the impossibility of immediately changing the situation of sin," the cardinal wrote.

Cardinal Coccopalmerio's short booklet, "The Eighth Chapter of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia," was published in Italian by the Vatican publishing house and presented to journalists Feb. 14. It includes material compiled from articles and speeches the cardinal has given about the pope's document on marriage and family life.

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