Damian Thompson Damian Thompson

Is the Catholic Church changing its line on divorce?

Cristina Odone, former editor of the Catholic Herald, is encouraged to receive Holy Communion in one Kensington parish but not allowed to do so in another. And she says Pope Francis has made her situation worse, by hinting – but only hinting – that Catholics like her, married to a divorced partner, can make up their own minds about receiving the sacrament.

Speaking on the verge of tears, she explains her dilemma in our second Holy Smoke religion podcast, which asks: is the Catholic Church changing its line on divorce?

What emerges from our very frank discussion, in which we’re joined by the moral theologian Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith, is the ghastly pastoral mess created by the Pope.

Francis wanted to relaxed the rules for divorced-and-remarried people but was opposed by the world’s bishops, who voted against change. Now he seems determined to get the result he wanted by a circuitous route – leaving not just divorced-and-remarried Catholics but also priests thoroughly confused.

Note the observation by Fr Lucie-Smith at the end of the podcast. The controversy hasn’t damaged Francis’s popularity with the outside world – but it is eating away at the authority of the Catholic Church.

You can listen to the episode here:

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