Routing Out Rigorism: Vatican Clarifies Sacraments for Single Moms

RJ Carr
5 min readDec 14, 2023
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Vatican City — In a strongly worded answer to the question posed by a bishop in the Dominican Republic, Cardinal Victor Manual Fernandez, head of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, declared that no single mother should be prevented from receiving the Eucharist or baptizing her baby because she gave birth out of wedlock.

Routing out rigorism

Continuing Pope Francis’ call to rout rigorism from the clergy and Catholic communities, the Prefect for the Dicastery warned that women in this situation feel intimidated by strict interpretations of Church teaching. They may refrain or are prevented from receiving the Eucharist or baptizing their babies.

The Holy Father recently recalled that “the Eucharist is God’s response to the deepest hunger of the human heart, the hunger for authentic life, for in the Eucharist Christ himself is truly in our midst, to nourish, console and sustain us on our journey” Women who, in this situation, have chosen life and who lead a very complex existence because of this choice should be encouraged to have access to the healing and consoling power of the sacraments.

The clarification seems to stem from a teaching by Pope Francis when as Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires…