Pope softening tone, not stance, O’Malley says

Church observers have speculated that bishops might discuss revising the prohibition on remarried Catholics receiving the sacraments in a worldwide gathering, or synod, in Rome this fall to discuss the church’s ministry on family issues.

Two prominent prelates close to the pope have offered clashing views on the matter, and Francis himself, in remarks to reporters aboard the papal plane in July, appeared to signal flexibility on the question.

But O’Malley said that although the pope is concerned about the plight of remarried Catholics who want to be close to the church, “I don’t see any theological justification” for relaxing the rules.


Thank you Card O’Malley :thumbsup:

A little more:

He stated Francis may name a woman as head of a major department in the Vatican.“I think we’re all anxious to have more lay people involved, particularly more women in positions of responsibility at the Vatican,” he said.

He also signaled a possible change on the length of time it took to have marriages annulled. by having them dealt with locally. and made more “user friendly.”

“Sometimes the process can drag on for years, and that shouldn’t happen,” he said.

“If people only think of the Church in terms of the sex abuse crisis or the culture wars, and that makes our job very challenging,” he said.

“But when they say, ‘Oh, the Church is about announcing the Good News, about God’s love for us, that God wants us to be touched by his mercy and his love and that we have to take care of one another,’ that’s the Gospel we all want to preach,” he said. “Francis has done it so well, which makes it easier for all of us.”

“We’re proud of him, that he’s so popular and has captured the hearts and the imagination of the world,” O’Malley said. “We expect Catholics to love the Holy Father, but not Rolling Stone.”

Read more: irishcentral.com/news/Cardinal-Sean-OMalley-worries-about-too-much-pressure-on-Pope-Francis.html#ixzz2sqmmVy3x

While the final ruling may not be to change the rules, surely the media will spin it differently.

Remember the “conscience” clause during Pope Paul’s papacy and his assembling moral theologians to discuss ABC? Seems like the media at that point decided the doctrine and ran with it. When the final ruling came, most ignored it.

Thanks for the clarification.

I’m kind of conflicted on the idea of a lay woman heading a Vatican Dept. In and of itself, in a vacuum, I would have no problem with this. The problem is that if it happens, it will start a media feeding frenzy of “OMG Pope Francis is so liberal, and he’s making women Priests, etc”.


O’Malley speculated on a woman heading a brand new department on the Laity:

O’Malley said it is at least possible Francis might name a woman to serve as the head of a major decision-making department in the Vatican, such as a hypothetical new “Congregation for the Laity.”

A lay person heading such a dept makes sense to me.

Perhaps there could be a distinction between departments that are part of “the Church” in a clerical sense, verses departments that are administrative.

Don’t really know much about the theology behind this…

This is just speculation at this point. Pope Francis has a softer tone but he is Orthodox. The media will lose interest in hm after a few more decisions are formally made.


I’m not so sure. Pope John Paul II remained fairly popular throughout his papacy. Pope Francis could as well. Time will tell.

This is exactly what I hope happens, but I don’t think the media will give up easily, the super liberal Francis narrative is too valuable to them. I think if he quietly makes orthodox decisions they will just ignore it and continue with their narrative. I think he would have to do something fairly dramatic that forces them to give up.

I agree.

The comment about Paul VI is a good cautionary tale that should be remembered right now.

The common narrative is that Paul VI assembled an advisory commission on birth control to give him advice on what to do. Then he ignored their recommendations and wrote Humanae Vitae. This is a deceptive narrative. According to Fr. Ford, the reality is that Paul VI did what was the accepted practice up to that time before writing an encyclical on a troublesome topic: he asked people to provide him with the best arguments on BOTH sides of the issue for his consideration. And he was intellectually honest enough to invite intelligent and articulate people likely to endorse birth control to participate so that their arguments would be considered. The commission was NEVER authorized to make official recommendations to the pope. They did that on their own (and leaked their recommendations to the press) to apply pressure.

The dangerous part of this whole thing coming up is that if not handled correctly, the same outcome could result. You could have a rogue element of self-appointed people trump up their authority and berate the pope afterwards if he “fails to enact their wise and scholarly opinions.”

Hope the lesson hasn’t been lost!


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