Pope's phone call stirs debate among N.O.-area Catholics - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Pope's phone call stirs debate among N.O.-area Catholics

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

At the Catholic Book Store on Carrollton, manager Anne Komly says many customers are interested in learning more about Pope Francis.

"(The Pope is) spreading a good message of mercy and wanting to include everyone, even other religions," Komly said.

A recent phone call from the Pope to a woman in Argentina - reportedly, to discuss her marriage - is raising many eyebrows.

According to the woman's husband, the Pope told the woman she can receive communion even though she's married to a divorced man.

The Vatican has confirmed that the call did happen, but officIals would not discuss the details of the conversation.

"I'm delighted that the Holy Father reaches out to people who are troubled," said New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond.

Aymond said the phone call is another sign of the Pope's compassion.

However, Aymond points out that reading too far into what may have been discussed would be speculation.

"All we know is that (Pope Francis is) concerned. He wants to do something," he said.

Under Catholic Church doctrine, people who are divorced and then remarried may not receive communion without an annulment. Vatican officials said any comments made by the Pope should not be construed as a change in the doctrine.

But Aymond encourages people in that position to not give up on the church.

"We care about anyone in that position," he said. "We want to help them through pastoral counseling and also we do have the annulment process which has become less cumbersome than it has in the past and we will provide for them any means possible, and I mean that personally, any means possible that will be of help to them to try to correct that situation and have them invited to be in a marriage that would be within the church."

Meanwhile, parishioners in the metro area have strong feelings on the matter.

Jamie Bryant said she believes it's time for the church to modernize.

"Times are changing and things need to change in the church," she said.

Emilie Kelley chimed in on our FOX 8 Facebook page, writing: "You're continuing with the sin if you're married again after divorcing without an annulment or you marry a divorcee. You can be divorced. That's not the sin. Remarriage is."

Pope Francis has said the issue will be discussed at a gathering of bishops from around the world in October, while Aymond also expects the issue to come up at a local Archdiocese meeting this summer.

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