Loading
Doubts increase over Pope's alleged phone call on divorce
Father Federico Lombardi. Credit: CNA.
Father Federico Lombardi. Credit: CNA.

.- Media frenzy over an alleged phone call Pope Francis made to a divorced and remarried woman allowing her to receive Communion has seen a rise in conflicting details – and has been lamented by the Vatican as causing “confusion.”

Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said today that the Holy See will not officially comment on the alleged phone call Pope Francis made to an Argentinean woman this week, as the pontiff's “personal pastoral” relationships “do not in any way form part of the Pope's public activities.”

“That which has been communicated in relation to this matter,” he stressed in an April 24 statement, “and the consequent media amplification, cannot be confirmed as reliable, and is a source of misunderstanding and confusion.”

The story of a woman in Argentina that allegedly received a phone call from Pope Francis on Easter Monday, giving her “permission” to receive Communion since she is married with a divorced man, has become more complex and doubtful in some of its details.

The situation involves Jaquelina Lisbona, 47, and Julio Sabetta, 50, of San Lorenzo – a small city 185 miles North West from Buenos Aires.

Sabetta was married into the Catholic church in 1985, but got legally divorced in 1992. In 1994, he was re-introduced to Jaquelina – they had been boyfriend and girlfriend in their teens – and the two started to live together in a civil union. Since then, they had two children, Candela and Josefina, aged 17 and 14, respectively.

Six years ago, during Candela's preparation for her confirmation – both daughters have been baptized, received first Holy Communion and have been confirmed – the local pastor at that time, who has been erroneously described as having left the priesthood by some news sources, told Jaquelina that she could not receive Communion because of her marital status.

Last September, encouraged by a friend, she decided to write Pope Francis about her situation and her desire to receive Communion.

The story of the Pope's “permission” to Jaquelina to receive Communion was first posted on Monday evening by Sabetta on his Facebook Page when he wrote: “Today one of the most beautiful things happened to me since the birth of my two daughters, I got a call in my home from none other than Pope Francis, it was a big emotion, we cannot figure it out yet, this call was originated by my wife who sent him a letter and he took his time to call her and talk to her and I can assure you that when he talks, he gives you total peace. Thanks God for this blessing!”

The story was originally picked up by local radio station “La Red,” and local newspaper “La Capital.” It was then mentioned by the national Argentinean News Agency TELAM and by Wednesday the news story spread globally, including the Drudge Report.

What the Pope exactly told Jaquelina is a matter of controversy. Speaking to La Red, Jaquelina said that after talking for about ten minutes with the Pope, he allegedly told her that there are some priests that are “more Papist than the Pope” and that she should “go to confession and start taking Communion at a different parish.”

In a second interview, overwhelmed by the international attention and the phone calls from around the world, she stated that she received “permission” to receive Communion by the Pope, but she complained: “this was supposed to be discrete, now I don't think I will be able to go anywhere now.”

Since Wednesday, Jaquelina has not been available for comments.

A call from CNA at their home was responded by her daughter Candela, who confirmed that “Pope Francis called, we are overjoyed and humbled as a family.” But she said that her mother was overwhelmed and was neither taking calls nor working at the small grocery store that the family owns across the street.

Sabetta instead has been happy to respond to the press. According to his version: “Francisco told my wife that she was free from all sin, that she should go to communion, that she should go with peace of mind, since a divorced who goes (to Communion) is doing nothing wrong.”

“He only told her to go to communion to another parish to avoid frictions (with the pastor.)”

But the pastor of San Lorenzo's church, Fr. José Ceschi, said late on Wednesday that the alleged “permission” to receive communion given by the Pope is “absurd.”

Speaking to local radio station La Ocho, Fr. Ceschi said that “first of all, I am very happy to know that the Pope called someone in San Lorenzo, the Pope surprises with these calls and people are so surprised, and that makes me happy. I do believe in the call, but what is hard to believe is that he gave her permission to go to Communion.”

“The Pope would never do that, (it) is impossible. If he is coming from a previous sacrament and they are living together (it) is absolutely impossible,” Fr. Ceschi told the radio station.

“What happens is that the Pope, like all bishops and priests, needs to be father, mother and teacher, always with an open heart, while telling things as they are.”

Speaking of his predecessor, who told Jaquelina that she could not receive communion, the priest noted that “Fr. Sergio was right, if a previous sacrament of marriage is involved, the Church cannot go beyond what Jesus has taught.”

“If Fr. Sergio would have given absolution, it would have been like someone writing you a check for an empty bank account, (it) is worthless!” he said.

“Again, I believe that the call happened, I just don't believe the Pope would go over the head of the (local) bishop – it is absurd,” he reiterated.

Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi concluded his statement Thursday emphasizing that “consequences relating to the teaching of the Church are not to be inferred from these occurrences.”

Tags: Divorce, Pope Francis


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Aug
27

Liturgical Calendar

August 27, 2014

Saint Monica

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 23:27-32

Gospel
Date
08/27/14
08/26/14
08/25/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 2 Thess 3: 6-10, 16-18
Gospel:: Mt 23: 27-32

Saint of the Day

St. Monica »

Saint
Date
08/27/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 23:27-32

Homily
Date
08/27/14
08/26/14
08/25/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: