Monday, July 6, 2015

In Equador, Pope Francis appeals for more inclusive church

Phillip Pullella and Yury Garcia
July 6, 2015

Pope Francis used his first Mass in Ecuador on Monday to ask for support in his efforts to reach out to Catholics who feel shunned by the Church when the world's bishops gather at the Vatican in October.

Speaking to 800,000 people on the first leg of his "homecoming" tour of South America, the 78-year-old pope weaved his homily around the theme of the family, which will be the subject of the month-long synod at the Vatican.

The meeting is expected to discuss ways to reach out to Catholics who have divorced and remarried outside the Church. Under current rules, they are prohibited from receiving communion unless they abstain from sexual relations.

The gathering is also expected to discuss how the Church should reach out to homosexual Catholics.

The pope said the synod "would consider concrete solutions to the many difficult and significant challenges facing families in our time."

He asked for prayers for the synod "so that God can take even what might seem to us impure, scandalous or threatening and turn it ... into a miracle. The family today is in need of a miracle."

Conservative bishops oppose any changes regarding the divorced and remarried. At a preparatory meeting last year they botched conciliatory language on the pastoral care of gay couples.

Asked about the pope's words on the synod, the Vatican spokesman said Francis was not referring to specific controversies but that he wanted the synod to find ways "to help people move from a situation of sin to a situation of grace."

The Argentine-born pontiff delivered his remarks in Ecuador's second city Guayaquil, a steamy port sometimes referred to as the world's "banana capital."

In line with his simple style, Francis rode into the city in a small silver Fiat marked for the occasion with Vatican City number plates - "SCV 1" - standing for Stato della Citta del Vaticano or State of Vatican City.

Tens of thousands of people lined the route from the airport, at times rushing police to touch the car and throw flower petals before it.


read full article at Reuters

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