Holy Communion is not the solution to the pastoral challenges facing divorced and re-married Catholics, Pope Francis has said.
In an interview with the Argentine daily newspaper, La Nacion, in which he discussed the family synod, the challenges of his papacy and reforming the Roman Curia, Pope Francis said: “In the case of divorcees who have remarried, we posed the question, what do we do with them? What door can we allow them to open? This was a pastoral concern: will we allow them to go to Communion? Communion alone is no solution.
“The solution is integration. They have not been excommunicated, true. But they cannot be godfathers to any child being baptised, mass readings are not for divorcees, they cannot give Communion, they cannot teach Sunday school, there are about seven things that they cannot do, I have the list over there. Come on! If I disclose any of this it will seem that they have been excommunicated in fact. Thus, let us open the doors a bit more.”
The Pope continued: “Why can’t they be godfathers and godmothers? ‘No, no, no, what testimony will they be giving their godson?’ The testimony of a man and a woman saying ‘my dear, I made a mistake, I was wrong here, but I believe our Lord loves me, I want to follow God, I was not defeated by sin, I want to move on’. Anything more Christian than that? And what if one of the political crooks among us, corrupt people, are chosen to be somebody´s godfather. If they are properly wedded by the Church, would we accept them? What kind of testimony will they give to their godson? A testimony of corruption? Things need to change, our standards need to change.”
During the interview, Pope Francis also said people should pay closer attention to what he says rather than what the media reports. He said: “In general people don’t read about what is going on. Somebody did say to me once, ‘Of course, of course. Insight is so good for us but we need clearer things’. And I answered, ‘Look, I wrote an encyclical, true enough, it was a big job, and an Apostolic Exhortation, I’m permanently making statements, giving homilies; that’s teaching. That’s what I think, not what the media say that I think. Check it out, it’s very clear. Evangelii Gaudium is very clear’”.