Reports that Pope Francis told an Argentine woman civilly married to a divorced man that she could receive Communion “cannot be confirmed as reliable,” said Federico Lombardi, S.J., the Vatican spokesman, on April 24. World media quickly picked up the story after an account of the phone call was posted to Facebook. Father Lombardi, in a formal statement, said “that which has been communicated in relation to this matter,” and its “consequent media amplification cannot be confirmed as reliable and is a source of misunderstanding and confusion.” While Pope Francis has made it clear the church should find a pastoral approach to helping divorced and remarried Catholics, he has said any decisions on how to handle such situations would have to be discussed by the Synod of Bishops that will meet in October and again in 2015. “Consequences relating to the teaching of the church are not to be inferred” from anything the pope may have said during the call, Father Lombardi said.
When the Pope Calls