Vatican: No wiggle room on remarriage rules

Archbishop Gerhard Mueller (foreground), with Italian archbishop Rino Fisichella, attend a press conference at the Vatican in this July 5, 2013 photo.

VATICAN CITY The Vatican has quashed hopes that there might be some wiggle room on one of its longstanding rules about the indissolubility of marriage.

The Vatican's chief doctrine official, Archbishop Gerhard Mueller, wrote Tuesday that there is no way for Catholics who divorce and remarry to receive Communion unless they get an annulment, a church ruling that their first marriage never really existed.

Local church leaders have long bemoaned that Vatican courts take years to process requests for annulments.

Earlier this month, the German diocese of Freiburg upset the Vatican when it issued a set of guidelines explaining how such remarried Catholics could get around the rule. Pope Francis is also expected to raise the issue at a church meeting next year.

Mueller's article in the Vatican newspaper seemed aimed at ending the debate.