Rocco whispered the National Geographic feature on Pope Francis. It’s a smartly written piece, and it asks the question will PF change the Vatican or will it be the other way around? I suspect we have the answer to that.
A quote from the article:
(T)he preliminary Synod on the Family that Francis convened last October produced no sweeping doctrinal changes, which mollified conservative Catholics who had feared exactly that. But the actual synod this October could produce a different outcome. On the issue of lifting the ban on Communion for divorced Catholics whose marriages were not annulled, (Father Juan Carlos) Scannone, the pope’s friend and former professor, says, “He told me, ‘I want to listen to everyone.’ He’s going to wait for the second synod, and he’ll listen to everyone, but he’s definitely open to a change.”
This is less a doctrinal issue than one of practice. Yes, I know: the long interpretation has been that second marriages are a persistent experience of sin, but that’s not the only orthodox practice in the Christian tradition. I suspect that the human struggle and the human relationship with God will get center stage in this discernment, and not a particular Western interpretation of the Gospel.
Similarly, (Rev. Norberto) Saracco, the Pentecostal pastor, discussed with the pope the possibility of removing celibacy as a requirement for priests. “If he can survive the pressures of the church today and the results of the Synod on the Family in October,” he says, “I think after that he will be ready to talk about celibacy.” When I ask if the pope had told him this or if he was relying on intuition, Saracco smiles slyly and says, “It’s more than intuition.”
Celibacy outside of monasticism and vowed religious life is certainly a matter of discipline, not doctrine.
Check the piece online–worth a bit of your time.