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Tags: pope | benedict | marriage | francis

Report: Popes Benedict, Francis at Odds Over 'Indissolubility' of Marriage

By    |   Tuesday, 09 December 2014 04:43 AM EST

Press reports noting that former Pope Benedict had "broken" his self-imposed silence to speak with a German newspaper may have missed the big story: a growing rift between the two pontiffs.

Pope Benedict XVI indicated in a Sunday interview with the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine that his views on marriage and divorce sharply diverged from those of his successor Pope Francis, and the Italian press was quick to report friction between the two.

The German-born Benedict is releasing a new volume of his writings.

In 1972, Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict, wrote a paper about the indissolubility of marriage, and suggested that divorced and remarried Catholics might be readmitted to the church.

But for his new collection of writings, Benedict said he "chooses to reformulate the conclusions and reiterate what I said as a cardinal and then as pope, namely the inviolability of the doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage, with its consequence in terms of admission to communion."

That indicates a clear rift between Benedict and Pope Francis, who has been more liberal on this subject, according to reports by the Italian publications Libero and Vatican Insider.

A recent Church synod floated the idea of changing rules for divorced Catholics and gays, but the Bishops voted to oppose such changes. Cardinal Raymond Burke, a leading critic of the changes, was demoted by Pope Francis shortly after the synod.

In a recent interview with an Argentine paper, Pope Francis said that claims Burke was demoted because of the synod were "not true." Francis removed Burke, an American, from the Vatican’s highest court and made him the head of the Knights of Malta, a ceremonial position.

Francis said he did that because Burke was "smart" and is a man who "does a lot of traveling."

Supporters of Burke say that while the Pope has encouraged dissent in the Church, he has little patience with criticism that comes from conservatives.

Burke had been an early critic of the Pope’s efforts to modify church teachings relating to the family and marriage.

Before a session of the Synod of Bishops in October, Francis said the meeting would explore a "somewhat deeper pastoral care of marriage," including the question of the eligibility of divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

Pope Francis added at the time that church law governing marriage annulments also "has to be reviewed, because ecclesiastical tribunals are not sufficient for this. It is complex, the problem of the pastoral care of marriage."

Such problems, he said, exemplified a general need for forgiveness in the church today, the Catholic Telegraph reported.

The German newspaper reported on Sunday that Benedict said he is trying to be "as quiet as possible" and insisted he has "very good contact" with Francis, dismissing talk of a rift as "complete nonsense."

But the Italian press quickly noted that his clear comments about Church teachings regarding marriage put him at odds with the Pope.

Benedict also said that he would have liked to be known after his resignation as "Father Benedict" to distinguish himself more clearly from the current pontiff.

He has been known as Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI since his retirement last year.

The Germany newspaper reported that Benedict made that disclosure during a recent visit, saying he would have preferred being addressed as "Padre Benedetto" but was too tired at the time to insist on that designation.

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Press reports this weekend noting that former Pope Benedict had "broken" his self-imposed silence to speak with a German newspaper may have missed the big story: a growing rift between the two pontiffs. Pope Benedict XVI indicated in his Sunday interview with the German...
pope, benedict, marriage, francis
Tuesday, 09 December 2014 04:43 AM
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