A Catholic Archbishop released a new set of guidelines that said unwed and gay couples should not receive communion unless they live “like brother and sister.”
The new guidelines are written by conservative Archbishop Charles Chaput in Philadelphia and are coming out about three months after Pope Francis asked priests to be more accepting of those who don't follow the church's guidelines exactly.
Austin resident Mary Hunt is a practicing Catholic. “What the Catholic Church believes is still the same, he is just kind of enumerating some rules kind of thing to help understand what is okay and not okay if you want to be a Catholic,” she said.
Archbishop Chaput also said Catholics in same-sex partnerships should refrain from sex and shouldn't be permitted to hold positions of responsibility in the church, to avoid "moral confusion in the community."
The instructions some said are an attempt to clarify Pope Francis' sweeping document on family life released in April. The document, called "The Joy of Love” some have said opened a door to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.
The Pontiff did not explicitly say whether divorced and remarried Catholics should be able to receive communion. “I have to get that annulled before I can marry again. Now that has to go all the way to the Pope, actually it's a big deal, it's not like you can say oh gosh, you know I made mistake,” Hunt said.
But the Pope's document seemed to indicate such a hard stance goes against the notion of mercy.
The pope said, “No one can be condemned forever because that is not the logic of the gospel." The April document makes no changes in church doctrine, and while some may find the new pastoral guidelines from Archbishop Chaput surprising, for Hunt she said it's just normal. “Some people might think that aren't Catholic I guess might think it's kind of shocking, but it's nothing really new,” she said.
Fox 7 reached out to the local Catholic leadership in Austin and they said they want a lot of time to read and research what was put out before commenting on it.