Bishop Grech's diocese said the rumours were 'absolutely false'

Bishop Mario Grech has denied that he will suspend priests who abide by traditional Church teaching on the Eucharist.

Several websites had reported rumours that the Maltese bishop had threatened to suspend priests from saying Mass unless they give Communion to the remarried.

Last week, Bishop Grech and Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, the country’s two prelates, issued a document on the subject. They said that divorced and remarried Catholics could not be refused Communion if they discerned that they were at “peace with God”.

The Church teaches that the remarried cannot receive Communion except in some cases where they endeavour to live “as brother and sister”.

Several priests outside Malta said they would be unable to follow the guidelines if their own bishops imposed them. Yesterday, it was rumoured that Bishop Grech had threatened to force Malta’s clergy to do so, and that if they refused he would suspend them a divinis­ – a canonical penalty which can be used to exclude a priest from celebrating Mass and the other sacraments.

But the bishops have denied the rumours. A statement on the Facebook page of the Diocese of Gozo said: “What is being stated by certain sections of the (international) media with reference to Bishop Mario Grech, namely that he ‘threatens priests will be suspended a divinis for refusing Communion to divorced/remarried’, is absolutely false.”