Pope’s Phone Call: the Murmuring Continues…..

It’s Friday, and speaking of substance, we know nothing more than we did 24, or 48 hours ago, yet the murmuring continues. The Vatican (Fr. Lombardi) admitted that Pope Francis did call Ms. Lisbona, and told us, in VatiSpeak, that the content of the conversation was a private pastoral matter and has nothing whatever to do with making a change to the Church’s teachings.

Pat Archbold on Creative Minority Report lauds himself for waiting a whole two days before commenting:

We know that the phone call took place and the topic was divorce/remarriage and communion since that is the topic of the letter that prompted the call. [We know the phone call took place. We know what Ms. Lisbona and her husband said it was about. That’s it.]

We know what the woman alleges that the Pope said, namely that it is OK for her to return to Communion. [We know what the woman alleges. Every allegation commands a response from the Supreme Legislator? I missed the part where he owes us an explanation.]

We know that as a result, many many people now think, rightly or wrongly, that the Pope has signaled that it is legitimate for the divorced and remarried to return to communion. [We know that many people are idiots, and many others are hellbent on mischaracterizing the Church and its leaders at every turn. Shall we conform our conduct to combat this reality? Even our Lord, who could have opened every heart and mind with one word, sometimes declined to explain Himself. Seems to me that prudential judgment is available to His vicar, too. Wait for the Synod.]

We know that the Holy See knows this and we know that the Holy See refuses to comment, to confirm or deny, the context of the situation thus leaving in place suppositions of many as a result of the call. [This is pure surmise, and indicative of an attitude of presupposition. The Holy See is not a “normal” “person”. We have no right to think that further comment is owed by the Holy Father to us. The pope isn’t responsible for dissuading us from our suppositions. God gives us an intellect for that. Wait for the Synod.]

We know that the Holy See has done nothing to re-iterate in anyway the Church’s doctrine on this matter in the wake of the scandal caused by the reporting on the call. [One idea — somewhere between rejecting a rumor out of hand and treating it as imminently trustworthy — is to simply admit the truth of the fact that *nothing* has been verified or confirmed. Two people (one of whom admitted he was not a participant in the call) have given their version. What someone says the pope said does not automatically constitute a scandal; rather, the real scandal is to hype rumor at the expense of the Holy Father. Wait for the Synod.]

We know that at the invitation of the Pope, Cardinal Kasper proposed just such a solution to the consistory. [More surmise, which seeks to create the appearance of Francis agreeing with Kasper’s proposal simply because the Pope invited Kasper to articulate it and explain the bases for it. How easily we forget that Eusebius of Nicomedia attended (and probably gave the welcoming address) at the Council of Nicaea. Wait for the Synod.]

We know the Pope effusively praised Cardinal Kasper for his proposals. [No, we don’t. Thanking a Cardinal for outlining a proposal which, for the record, received a generally unfavorable response from other Cardinals, many of whom have spoken out against Card. Kasper, does not seem to be anything other than that: a thank you for taking an unpopular position, not an imprimatur on the position itself. Wait for the Synod.]

…..The image of God is the married couple: the man and the woman; not only the man, not only the woman, but both of them together. This is the image of God: love, God’s covenant with us is represented in that covenant between man and woman. And this is very beautiful! We are created in order to love, as a reflection of God and his love. And in the marital union man and woman fulfil this vocation through their mutual reciprocity and their full and definitive communion of life.

1. When a man and woman celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony God as it were “is mirrored” in them; he impresses in them his own features and the indelible character of his love. Marriage is the icon of God’s love for us. Indeed, God is communion too: the three Persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit live eternally in perfect unity. And this is precisely the mystery of Matrimony: God makes of the two spouses one single life. The Bible uses a powerful expression and says “one flesh”, so intimate is the union between man and woman in marriage. And this is precisely the mystery of marriage: the love of God which is reflected in the couple that decides to live together. Therefore a man leaves his home, the home of his parents, and goes to live with his wife and unites himself so strongly to her that the two become — the Bible says — one flesh.

2. St Paul, in the Letter to the Ephesians, emphasizes that a great mystery is reflected in Christian spouses: the relationship established by Christ with the Church, a nuptial relationship (cf. Eph 5:21-33). The Church is the bride of Christ. This is their relationship. This means that Matrimony responds to a specific vocation and must be considered as a consecration (cf. Gaudium et Spes, n. 48: Familiaris Consortio, n. 56). It is a consecration: the man and woman are consecrated in their love. The spouses, in fact, in virtue of the Sacrament, are invested with a true and proper mission, so that starting with the simple ordinary things of life they may make visible the love with which Christ loves His Church, by continuing to give his life for her in fidelity and service.

3. There is a truly marvellous design inherent in the Sacrament of Matrimony! And it unfolds in the simplicity and frailty of the human condition. We are well aware of how many difficulties two spouses experience…. The important thing it to keep alive their bond with God, who stands as the foundation of the marital bond. And the true bond is always the Lord. When the family prays, the bond is preserved. When the husband prays for his wife and the wife prays for her husband, that bond becomes strong; one praying for the other. It is true that there are so many difficulties in married life, so many, when there is insufficient work or money, when the children have problems. So much to contend with. And many times the husband and wife become a little fractious and argue between themselves. They argue, this is how it is, there is always arguing in marriage, sometimes the plates even fly. Yet we must not become saddened by this, this is the human condition. The secret is that love is stronger than the moment when there is arguing, and therefore I always advise spouses: do not let a day when you have argued end without making peace. Always! And to make peace it isn’t necessary to call the United Nations to come to the house and make peace. A little gesture is sufficient, a caress, and then let it be! Until tomorrow! And tomorrow begin again. And this is life, carrying on, carrying on with courage and the desire to live together. And this is truly great, it is beautiful! Married life is such a beautiful thing and we must treasure it always, treasure the children. On other occasions in this Square I have mentioned something else which is so helpful for marriage. There are three words that always need to be said, three words that need to be said at home: may I, thank you, and sorry. The three magic words. May I: so as not to be intrusive in the life of the spouses. May I, but how does it seem to you? May I, please allow me. Thank you: to thank one’s spouse; thank you for what you did for me, thank you for this. That beauty of giving thanks! And since we all make mistakes, that other word which is a bit hard to say but which needs to be said: sorry. Please, thank you, and sorry. With these three words, with the prayer of the husband for the wife and vice versa, by always making peace before the day comes to an end, marriage will go forward. The three magic words, prayer and always making peace. May the Lord bless you, and pray for me.

Wait for the Synod. The Barque has Her Captain.


“The holiness and indissolubility of Christian matrimony, often disintegrating under tremendous pressure from the secular world, must be deepened by clear doctrine and supported by the witness of committed married couples,” Pope Francis said.

“Christian matrimony is a lifelong covenant of love between one man and one woman; it entails real sacrifices in order to turn away from illusory notions of sexual freedom and in order to foster conjugal fidelity.”
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