If I was not the pope, i would be in jail - Pope Francis Revealed



Pope Francis reveals how the Roman Catholic Church’s debates over issues such as divorce have impacted even on his own family in a major new book in which he also sets out his personal thoughts on issues such as homosexuality and corruption.
In his first book published as Pope, he offers the most vivid glimpse yet of his thinking on the struggles facing the Church in the 21st Century.

Setting out effectively to redefine Catholicism by shaking off its centuries-old image as a stern moral judge, he insists it “does not exist to condemn people” but to share a message about the “infinite mercy of God”.
Mercy, rather than condemnation is, he says emphatically, the “most important message” of Christianity and “God’s identity card”.
He offers what will inevitably be read as a hint of his thinking on the Church’s high-profile dilemma over admitting remarried divorcees to Holy Communion, by discussing how one of his nieces had been in that situation when she married a man who had been married before.
Pope Francis also goes further than ever before in explaining his thinking on homosexuality, insisting that gay people should be welcomed into the life of the Church and that people should not be “defined” by their sexuality.
He urges Christians to “overcome prejudice and rigidity”.
In a marked departure from the style of his predecessors’ publications, the book
“The Name of God is Mercy” – which takes the form of an extended conversation with Andrea Tornielli, the Italian journalist and Vatican watcher – is peppered with references to his own life and those of people he knew.
In exclusive extracts in today’s Sunday Telegraph, he describes himself as a sinner and remarks that he believes he might have ended up as a prisoner rather than Pope had the circumstances of his life been different.
It also includes vivid accounts of what Francis sees as God at work in what might be viewed as scandalous situations – including a young prostitute who had found love with a man who came to her brothel.
By contrast he condemns corruption, pride and hypocrisy in the Church with an attack on “clericalism”.
He offers examples of clergy requesting bribes and priests asking intrusive and lurid sexual questions in the confessional.
Francis also acknowledges how large numbers of people are turning away from formal religion to other forms of spirituality, with unprecedented numbers seeking answers from fortune-tellers and modern-day sooth-sayers.
The publication comes just weeks after Francis inaugurated a special jubilee year, in which the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics are being urged to rediscover the idea of mercy – an initiative he sees as the centrepiece of his pontificate.
But it also comes ahead of a landmark papal teaching document in which Francis is expected to attempt to resolve the fraught issue of when, if ever, divorcees who remarry against the teachings of the Church can be allowed to receive Holy Communion.
The Catholic Catechism teaches that, because marriage vows are intended to be for life, those who divorce and have a civil remarriage are in a situation of “public and permanent adultery” and cannot receive Communion.
Because it does not recognise divorce, only those who have obtained an annulment – a legal declaration from the Church that the couple’s marriage was not valid in the first place – can remarry in a Catholic Church.
It has led to fierce accusations from some quarters that the Church is alienating many of its own members and punishing those who suffered the heartbreak of a marital break-up through a rigid adherence to dogma.
Some senior clerics including Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, have previously signalled support for a form of relaxation in which some people could be received back into full Communion on a case by case basi s .
But a high-profile two-week Synod of bishops from around the world in Rome late last year, stopped short of supporting a full relaxation. It gave its backing only to a compromise statement which said that that those in new relationships need to be reintegrated into the Church, instead of advocating full communion.
The Pope is now due to publish what could be a historic papal document in the next few months setting out his decision on the issue.
The tone of his remarks on mercy in the book will be read closely for signals about his 
intentions in that area.
Culled from Signalng 

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