Family summit not about communion for divorcees: Pope

Vatican City, Oct 7 (IANS/AKI) Debate over a longstanding ban on divorcees who remarry taking communion should not be the sole focus of the Catholic church’s synod on the family, Pope Francis has said.

“We should not let ourselves be conditioned and reduce the horizon of our synod work, as if the only problem were that of communion for remarried divorced people,” Francis said in the meeting on Tuesday.

“We need to take into account of the broadness of the issues,” Francis added, quoted by Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.

The pontiff also told the 270 Catholic church leaders attending the summit that Catholic doctrine on marriage had remained unchanged since the last synod, Lombardi said.

During a mass at the Vatican earlier on Tuesday, Francis urged Church leaders to show “mercy” and to overcome “rigidity”.

Catholics should air their differences on divisive issues but should not compromise, Francis said at Monday’s opening of the synod – the most highly anticipated meeting of Catholic church leaders since the Second Vatican Council half a century ago.

Besides the ban on Communion for divorcees who remarry, other flashpoint issues at the summit are likely to include the church’s treatment of gay Catholics and unmarried couples who cohabit, according to observers.

The three-week meeting is unlikely to change Catholic doctrine on the family but will focus instead on how the Church’s teachings can be adapted to modern lifestyles, observers say.

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