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Vatican cool to German church's challenge to divorce doctrine

The Vatican has put a German diocese on notice that it disapproves of its challenge to church teaching on whether Catholics who remarry can receive Communion.

The diocese of Freiburg issued an official set of guidelines this week explaining how such divorced and remarried Catholics could receive the sacrament.

Church teaching holds that Catholics who don't have their first marriages annulled, or declared null by a church tribunal, before remarrying cannot participate fully in the church's sacraments because they are essentially committing adultery. The issue has vexed the church for decades and Pope Francis has said it is something that must be addressed.

But the Vatican said Tuesday that Freiburg's local initiative "risks causing confusion." It said the issue will be discussed at a meeting of bishops next year.