‘This is Pope Francis calling…’

Tablet-2019-09-28This article was published in the British Catholic weekly, The Tablet, on 28 September 2019.

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In this year’s international bestseller, In the Closet of the Vatican, Frédéric Martel reveals that two years ago Pope Francis phoned a prominent gay priest and theologian ordered by the Vatican not to teach, preach or celebrate the Sacraments.

And then this: “I want you to walk with deep interior freedom, following the Spirit of Jesus. And I give you the power of the keys. Do you understand? I give you the power of the keys.”

More recently I have had the privilege of being able to ask a very distinguished canonist what this means, this immediate act of the Universal Ordinary sending me forth as a sort of clandestine mercy priest. He roared with laughter and said: “Canonically, it makes no sense at all, but … he does these things!”