"No, we do not listen in on the Holy Father's phone calls
- check with United States NSA."*
The Pope called an Argentine woman married to a divorced man. The woman's husband was the first to inform the media - claiming the Holy Father told his wife she could go to Communion - that she was doing nothing wrong. The implication being it is now permitted that divorced and remarried Catholics may receive the sacraments. Even the Pope cannot say that a sin is not a sin. Tongues are wagging, but none of us know the details of the alleged conversation.
Did the Pope really say that? - The Vatican is not commenting.
"It's between the Pope and the woman," said the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a consultant for the Vatican press office. - CNNTake note - the husband alerted the media - not the wife. The Pope did not tell the husband what the wife claimed he said to her. Only the wife spoke to the Pope, because she had written a letter 6 months earlier. She only told her husband what the Pope had to say to her after she got off the phone. I suspect an excited somebody may have gotten a few things mixed up - or maybe heard what they wanted to hear. Perhaps the wife didn't tell her husband the whole story? Maybe the couple already lives together as brother and sister?
We don't know. We won't know unless the Holy Father makes a statement or someone in authority issues a clarification.
That said, the advice given to another penitent should remain confidential, between the pastor and the penitent. One size does not fit all. We just do not know what was said. Truth be told, what was said is none of our business nor is it our responsibility.
Just remember, Catholic doctrine on marriage and divorce cannot change.
St. John of the Cross wrote several precautions on how to be a good religious. Though they are directed more or less to cloistered religious, the 'spirit' of his doctrine may be helpful for ordinary Catholics to consider. Especially for those of us who can be distracted by sensationalized stories regarding the Pope and what he purportedly said in private conversations. The following precaution pertains to the attitude the subject should have towards his superior.
The second precaution
12. Let the second precaution be that you always look on the superior as though on God, no matter who he happens to be, for he takes God's place. And note that the devil, humility's enemy, is a great and crafty meddler in this area. Much profit and gain come from considering the superior in this light, but serious loss and harm lie in not doing so. Watch, therefore, with singular care that you not dwell on your superior's character, mode of behavior, ability, or any other methods of procedure, for you will so harm yourself as to change your obedience from divine to human, being motivated only by the visible traits of the superior, and not by the invisible God whom you serve through him.
Your obedience is vain and all the more fruitless in the measure that you allow the superior's unpleasant character to annoy you or his good and pleasing manners to make you happy. For I tell you that by inducing religious to consider these modes of conduct, the devil has ruined a vast number of them in their journey toward perfection. Their acts of obedience are worth little in God's sight, since they allow these considerations to interfere with obedience.
If you do not strive, with respect to your personal feelings, to be unconcerned about whether this one or another be superior, you will by no means be a spiritual person, nor will you keep your vows well. - Collected WorksOfficial Catholic teaching is not released over the phone or through social media.
*UPDATE: What Fr. Lombardi really said:
Several telephone calls have taken place in the context of Pope Francis’ personal pastoral
Since they do not in any way form part of the Pope's public activities, no information or
comments are to be expected from the Holy See Press Office.
That which has been communicated in relation to this matter, outside the scope of personal
relationships, and the consequent media amplification, cannot be confirmed as reliable, and is
a source of misunderstanding and confusion.
Therefore, consequences relating to the teaching of the Church are not to be inferred from
these occurrences. - Vatican Radio, 4/24/14
Jimmy Akin has the best analysis of this story, go here.
"Listen here! I've just about had it with your prank calls!"