- Battle lines drawn
This week produced the clearest evidence yet that the Synod Fathers are sharply divided between those who are supporting Pope Francis in his efforts to present a more pastoral vision of the Church and those determined first and foremost to emphasise its moral teaching
- Home News
- World News
- Parish Practice
- Letters Extra
- The living Spirit
- Burke confirms rumours he is to leave Vatican's top court for Order of Malta
- Catholic head teachers call for more support as recruitment dries up
- Church backs ecumenical campaign for organ donation as ethical concerns are addressed
- Francis' meeting with PM of communist Vietnam 'important step towards diplomatic relations'
The Vatican today said that private phonecalls made by the Pope do not alter Church teaching following reports that Francis rang a woman married to a divorcee and told her that she could receive Communion.
The Pope is alleged to have told Jacqueline Sabetta Lisbona, who is from his native Argentina, that she could go up to receive the Eucharist despite the fact she entered a civil marriage with a divorcee, with whom she has two children.
In the Church’s eyes Ms Lisbona would not be able to receive Communion because she is in an adulterous relationship with a married man.
The question of Communion for those who are divorced and remarried is a hotly disputed issue and is due to be discussed at a synod on marriage and family life later this year.
There are a number of senior church leaders who would like to see the ban lifted and Pope Francis has hinted that the Church should adopt a more merciful approach.
Vatican sources confirmed to The Tablet that the telephone call took place but did not elaborate on the details. A spokesman also confirmed that the spouse of Ms Lisbona had not recived an annullment for his first marriage.
In a statement, the Holy See press office said: “Several telephone calls have taken place in the context of Pope Francis’ personal pastoral relationships.
“Since they do not in any way form part of the Pope's public activities, no information or comments are to be expected from the Holy See Press Office.
“That which has been communicated in relation to this matter, outside the scope of personal relationships, and the consequent media amplification, cannot be confirmed as reliable, and is a source of misunderstanding and confusion. Therefore, consequences relating to the teaching of the Church are not to be inferred from these occurrences.”