Pope: Welcoming homosexuals, divorced and remarried a must

The Catholic Church must find ways of welcoming divorced and remarried, and gay Catholics, Pope Francis said.

The Pontiff made the comments in a wide-ranging interview by Argentine daily, La Nacion.

Addressing the turmoil his papacy is causing with conservative-minded groups, Francis says he’s pleased the issues are in the open.

It’s a “good sign” that there isn’t “hidden mumbling when there is disagreement”, he said.

Pastoral care of homosexuals

Asked about the Synod itself and especially about homosexuals, Francis said the Synod did not talk about same-sex marriage but how to accompany gay people.

“Nobody mentioned homosexual marriage at the synod; it did not cross our minds. What we did talk about was of how a family with a homosexual child, whether a son or a daughter, goes about educating that child, how the family bears up, how to help that family to deal with that somewhat unusual situation.

“We have to find a way to help that father or that mother to stand by their son or daughter. That’s what the synod addressed. That’s why someone mentioned positive factors in the first draft. But this was just a draft.”

On the question of divorced and remarried Catholics, Francis said that these people are treated as though they are excommunicated and the Synod considered what door can the Church open to these people.

Divorce and remarriage

“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 baptized, 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.

“Why cant 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.

Personal life, Curia reform and Cardinal Burke

Francis also talked frankly about aspects of his personal life, the upcoming reform of the Vatican bureaucracy and the new position for Cardinal Burke.

Acknowledging that reforming the Curia is complex and will take a little longer than people might expect, Pope Francis confirmed the decision to transfer Cardinal Burke was decided long before the Synod.

“So it is not true that I removed him because of how he had behaved in the Synod”, the pontiff said.


News category: World.

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