From the website of the Episcopal Conference of Malta (www.thechurchinmalta.org):

Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna and Bishop Mario Grech have drawn up guidelines for priests, for the application of Chapter VIII of the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). This chapter is an invitation to mercy and pastoral discernment in the light of various social realities present today.

In a letter which will be read out this Sunday in churches all over Malta and Gozo, the Bishops explain that these guidelines for priests are aimed at accompanying people to an awareness of their life situation in the light of Jesus. “This message is also relevant to the couples and families who find themselves in complex situations, especially those involving separated or divorced persons who have entered a new union. Although they may have lost their first marriage, some of these persons have not lost their hope in Jesus. Some of these earnestly desire to live in harmony with God and with the Church, so much so, that they are asking us what they can do in order to be able to celebrate the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.” Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna and Bishop Mario Grech invite all those people who are in such a situation, and who are seeking help to continue to enlighten their conscience, to seek the assistance of a priest to accompany them.

The guidelines of the Maltese Bishops have been published in a document which has been handed out to every priest in the Archdiocese of Malta and the Diocese of Gozo.

Click here for that 22-page document: http://ms.maltadiocese.org/WEBSITE/2017/PRESS%20RELEASES/Norms%20for%20the%20Application%20of%20Chapter%20VIII%20of%20AL.pdf

News reports and commentaries:
1.      (AP) January 13, 2017: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/vatican-newspaper-communion-guide-remarried-catholics-article-1.2946142   VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is making clear Pope Francis supports letting divorced and civilly remarried Catholics receive Communion under certain conditions by publishing a set of new guidelines in the pope’s own newspaper that go beyond even what he has said.

2.      Times of Malta: January 14, 2017: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20170114/local/divorced-remarried-at-peace-with-god-may-receive-communion-bishops.636462   Priests should offer assistance to couples whose marriage has broken down, the Maltese bishops are urging, issuing a set of guidelines which some observers have described as going even beyond the Pope’s teachings.

3.      Catholic News Agency (CNA/EWTN), January 13, 2017: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/maltese-bishops-divorced-and-remarried-at-peace-with-god-may-receive-communion-39095/   As debate over Amoris laetitia continues to gain steam, the Maltese bishops have come out with a new set of pastoral guidelines allowing divorced-and-remarried persons in certain cases, after “honest discernment”, to receive Communion.

4. Catholic News Service (CNS) – January 13, 2017: http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2017/bishops-of-malta-issue-norms-for-ministry-to-divorced-civilly-remarried.cfm

FOUR CARDINALS WRITE POPE FRANCIS: ‘Seeking Clarity: A Plea to Untie the Knots in Amoris Laetitia’.

FOUR CARDINALS WRITE POPE FRANCIS: ‘Seeking Clarity: A Plea to Untie the Knots in Amoris Laetitia’.

Over the last six months, scores of you have written to me with questions about Amoris Laetitia, hundreds more have posted queries and doubts on Facebook and even greater numbers have appealed to their pastors and bishops for clarifications of the content of this April document by Pope Francis. This Apostolic Exhortation came after the two synods on the family, those of October 2014 and October 2015.


One of the important sections of the document – that on communion for the divorced and remarried – has been interpreted in radically different, usually polar opposite ways by the faithful in the pew, by their pastors and bishops and by experts in theology, canon law and the Magisterium (the teaching body) of the Catholic Church.

How badly I wanted to be able to guide you to the truth in this matter when you wrote to me but I was just as confused as you, my correspondents were, as the priests and bishops and experts were.

I remember a priest telling me (and he was not the only one with this problems) that when people came to confession and asked about this issue, he would answer by first explaining the actual teaching of the Church in the matter. His dilemma came, Father told me, when the penitent would reply, “But that’s not what Pope Francis says.”

What is one to do?!

Well, four cardinals asked the same question and did something: they actually wrote a letter to Pope Francis, asking for clarification and submitting five dubia (doubts, questions) to which they said they needed only a Yes or No answer. (photo: Lifesite news)


After a wait of almost two months – and no answer from the Holy Father – they decided to make public their letter, the five queries and their reasons for asking those questions of the Pope.

A copy of the very same letter and questions was sent to Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Following is a link to a piece by National Catholic Register correspondent Edward Pentin who summarizes the Letter by the cardinals and then presents their actual Letter to Pope Francis, the 5 dubia and their explanation of why, after a waiting period and no papal answer, they decided to publish their Letter. http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/full-text-and-explanatory-notes-of-cardinals-questions-on-amoris-laetitia