(Vatican Radio) At a briefing in the Vatican on Tuesday, Father Lombardi discussed some of the highlights of Pope Francis’ interview with journalists on the papal plane returning from the Holy Land.
Listen to this report by Susy Hodges:
During his remarks the Pope had said a member of the clergy who sexually abuses children is comparable to somebody carrying out a satanic mass which is a sacrilege. Father Lombardi explained that for a believer, equating the crime of sexually abusing a child with the sacrilege of celebrating a satanic mass, is arguably the strongest possible condemnation. The Director of the Vatican Press Office also explained that contrary to what Pope Francis said on the plane, no firm date has yet been fixed for him to meet with sex abuse victims in the Vatican. The Pope had said during the news conference on the plane that such meeting was expected to take place in early June.
When asked by a journalist about the wide-ranging nature of the Pope’s press conference on the plane, Father Lombardi said he too was struck by the Holy Father’s willingness to answer whatever question was put to him by the journalists.
Turning to the issue of Jerusalem, Father Lombardi reiterated that the Holy See seeks for this holy city an internationally guaranteed special status giving freedom of worship and right of access for residents and pilgrims from across the world, with no one party claiming exclusive rights.
Father Lombardi said the prayer service attended by many Christian leaders in Jerusalem’s Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre was one of the spiritual highlights of this papal visit along with the Mass celebrated in the Cenacle.
On a final note, Father Lombardi pointed out that the Pope wished to make clear that the upcoming special Synod on the Family is not the synod on whether or not divorced people should be able to receive communion. By narrowly focusing on this undoubtedly delicate and painful question of communion for divorced people, Father Lombardi continued, there is a risk of narrowing the viewpoint of a synod whose task is to reflect on the wide-ranging issue of the family and how to protect it .
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