Pope Bends Divorce Rules for Woman: Reports

But Vatican says it's not a shift in church policy on taking communion

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 25, 2014 8:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – Word has it that the pope told a woman in Argentina it was OK to take communion, even though she was married to a man who'd been divorced. The reports have prompted questions about whether the Catholic Church is changing its teachings on the matter—but the Vatican says it was a personal call and "consequences relating to the teaching of the church are not to be inferred." As NPR recounts, Jacquelina Lisbona had written to the pope seeking clarification on whether she was eligible for communion.

The pope called Lisbona, her husband tells CNN, and "said she was absolved of all sins and she could go and get the Holy Communion because she was not doing anything wrong." According to the Daily Mail, the pope's call came seven months after the letter; he apologized for the lateness and said her question was one "that we are discussing at the Vatican, because a divorced person who takes communion is not doing any harm." More from the church:

  • While the Vatican says the call occurred, the conversation "is between the pope and the woman," says a spokesman, via CNN. "The magisterium of the church is not defined by personal phone calls."
  • The church is preparing for some serious crowds this Sunday as popes John Paul II and John XXIII are canonized, NPR reports. Rome's mayor says the city can cope, but a tour manager isn't so sure. "In a city which is nearly 2,800 years old and with a population—some say 2.5, some say 4 million—if 3 million people are coming in a city like this, there will problems without doubts." St. Peter's Square and its surroundings can handle some 250,000, a Vatican spokesman says.

Pope Francis arrives outisde at St. ’ Ignazio church in Rome Thursday.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis leans towards faithful as he leaves at the end of his weekly general audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, April 23, 2014.   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
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