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Sep 23, 2020

On September 17, two Vatican stories broke that illustrate the difference in style between Pope Francis and the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Pope Francis met a group of parents with L.G.B.T. children, telling them “God loves your children as they are” and “the church loves your children as they are because they are children of God.”

The same day, news broke that the Irish priest Tony Flannery, who had been suspended from ministry in 2012 after speaking out in favor of women’s ordination to the priesthood, had been told by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that he could be restored to ministry if he signed an affirmation of church teaching on four hot-button issues including women’s ordination, homosexuality and gender theory.

The Vatican has stated that it has been in dialogue with Father Flannery; however, Father Flannery says he has never been contacted directly by anyone from the C.D.F. As in past cases of the C.D.F. disciplining theologians, all communication has come through the priest’s superiors in what veteran Vatican reporter Gerard O’Connell calls an “impersonal” and “dehumanizing” process which seems at odds with Pope Francis’ hallmark strategy of personal accompaniment and dialogue.

This week on “Inside the Vatican,” Gerry and producer Colleen Dulle discuss why the C.D.F. appears out of step with the pope. After senior Vatican sources told Gerry that Pope Francis should intervene to change the culture in the C.D.F., the hosts discuss how that might be done.

Links from the show:

Pope Francis to parents of L.G.B.T. children: ‘God loves your children as they are.’

Suspended Irish priest Tony Flannery calls Vatican inquiry ‘unjust’