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Philly Archbishop Tells Remarried Parishioners to ‘Live as Brother and Sister’

The head of the Philadelphia Archdiocese says gay, divorced and remarried Catholics can receive the sacrament of Communion --- as long as they don't have sex.

"Live as brother and sister," Archbishop Charles Chaput wrote in a seven-page guideline that was released July 1.

Titled "Pastoral Guidelines for Implementing Amoris Laetitia," it also states that gay Catholics should not be allowed to hold "positions of responsibility" in the parish.

Image: Charles Joseph Chaput
Philadelphia's Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput attends a news conference at the Vatican on June 25, 2015. Riccardo De Luca / AP, file

"It's important to remember that some same-sex couples do live together in chaste friendship and without sexual intimacy, and many pastors have had the experience of counseling such couples," says the guidelines. "But two persons in an active, public same-sex relationship, no matter how sincere, offer a serious counter-witness to Catholic belief, which can only produce moral confusion in the community," it later adds.

Related: Pope Francis Softens Communion Ban for Divorcees, Shifts Tone on Family

The rules stand in stark contrast to Pope Francis' document, "Joy of Love," that was released in April and addressed issues including divorce and homosexuality. Francis took a softer approach, encouraging priests to show "pastoral discernment" to civilly remarried Catholics who want to receive Communion. Like Chaput, Francis spoke against gay marriage, but also called for an end to "unjust discrimination" against homosexuals.