Worth a very close look is the proposal of Alberto Bonandi regarding communion for divorced and remarried persons, which Sandro Magister has translated and posted on his website “www.chiesa”. This is really ground breaking stuff, however I don’t feel that it will be the solution we are looking for.
In its favour, it takes seriously the meaning of conversion while at the same time paying much greater attention to the issues of personal responsibility. In the past, there has seemed to be some discrepancy in both areas in the Church’s practice in this area. I am especially interested in the question, but it would also seem to point to a way of dealing with the situation of the divorced and remarried baptised person who converts to the Catholic Church.
Nevertheless, it could be a very difficult to apply Bonandi’s suggestions in practice. How would a pastor deal with a person who at the time he divorced his (her) spouse and entered a new relationship with a new partner actually calculated that the Church would be liable to show lenience towards his actions at some point in the future? How would a pastor deal with a situation in which a person who had been admitted back to communion (under the circumstances Bonandi proposes) left his second relationship for a third relationship? Would such a person be given the benefit of the doubt a second time?
Protestant churches such as the Church of England (as in the case of Prince Charles) and the Lutheran Church of Australia (as in my own case) have for many decades viewed divorce as a sin for which absolution could be granted in such a way as to annul the previous marriage and thus enable them to bless a new relationship as a marriage. This is emphatically not what Bonandi proposes, but his proposal does share some procedural similarities.
In any case, read Bonandi’s proposal for yourself and see what you think.