SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

April 25, 2014

Vatican: Pope's private calls don't reflect policy

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — What Pope Francis may tell Catholics in private telephone conversations doesn’t reflect church policy, the Vatican’s spokesman said yesterday.

An unusual statement from the Rev. Federico Lombardi came after days of speculation that the pope wants to change Roman Catholic Church rules barring communion for faithful people who remarry after getting divorced.

The question arose after Francis reportedly called an Argentine woman who had written to him for guidance, saying her parish priest had denied her access to the sacraments because her spouse’s previous marriage had not been annulled.

The woman’s husband, Julio Sabetta, said Francis told his wife that she was free of sin and should take communion anyway.

Sabetta said he took the call from Argentina’s former archbishop, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, on Monday afternoon at their home in San Lorenzo, in the Argentine province of Santa Fe.

“The man asked for my wife. I said, ‘Who’s calling?’ And he said, ‘Father Bergoglio,’... just like he’s another member of the family,” Sabetta told the Cadena3 radio station.

Sabetta said his wife, Jacqui Lisbona, then took the call and spoke directly with the pope.

“He said that she has been freed of all sin, that he blessed the whole family, that she’s free to take communion from here on out, and he asked that we pray for him,” Sabetta said, adding that after they hung up, the whole family hugged and wept together. “It was something amazing,” he said.

Word spread after Sabetta posted on Facebook that the pope had called. Then came news stories speculating that Francis will do away with the ban on divorcees — or even their spouses — accepting the wine and bread that represents the blood and body of Christ, and full membership in the church.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Police: Excessive speed may have been factor in Route 1 crash in Peabody

    Saturday morning at approximately 6 a.m., troopers from the Massachusetts State Police Danvers Barracks responded to a three vehicle crash on Route 1 north in the vicinity of Route 114 in Peabody.

    July 26, 2014

  • Driscoll Gordon College flap nets local LGBT group $12K

    SALEM -- The conservative uproar over Mayor Kim Driscoll's decision to terminate Gordon College's contract to operate Old Town Hall has turned into a cash cow for a local group supporting gay and lesbian youths.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • 140725_SN_DLE_HOUSE4 Middleton builder rescues First Period house in Danvers from demolition

    DANVERS -- Built before 1730, the First Period Benjamin Holten home at 52 Centre St. was a tear down that did not get torn down, the builder who preserved and restored the house said. "They had holes in the roof this big," said builder Michael Panzer

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Tisei Tisei's political funds seek to balance Republican, LGBT loyalties BOSTON -- As Republican Richard Tisei makes a second run for Congress, he has teamed up with other GOP challengers across the country to broaden his support. Earlier this year, he created a joint fundraising committee, the Equality Leadership Fund, w

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Market Basket board to consider Arthur T.'s offer BOSTON -- Market Basket's board of directors announced Friday that it will consider offers to buy the company -- including one from ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. His offer will be considered "along with any other offers previously received and to be

    July 26, 2014