What is Pope Francis’ intent for divorced and LGBT Catholics? We may be about to find out.


Michelle Boorstein | Washington Post | March 18, 2016


Pope Francis leaves at the end of a mass to mark the closure of the synod on the family in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, October 25, 2015. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

 

Pope Francis has a reputation for opening the Catholic Church’s doors when it comes to concepts of family. The next few weeks may clarify just how far he intends to open them.

On Saturday, the Vatican says, Francis will finalize a highly-anticipated teaching document on family issues that has been 1 ½ years in the making — including two closely-watched meetings of top bishops. The document isn’t expected to be released to the public for a few weeks, but pundits, priests and laypeople will be flipping through furiously as soon as possible to see how Francis proposes bringing more fully into church life Catholics who are LBGT, divorced-and-remarried, and cohabiting outside marriage.

Based on recent hints dropped by the pope and other top advisers, expert church-watchers believe Francis will attempt the papal version of skating’s triple-axle: not changing orthodox doctrine on anything but altering practice and rules enough to give different types of Catholic families new affirmation that they are a legitimate part of the Church.

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