The following comes from a March 12 Catholic News Agency article by Andrea Gagliarducci:
With an eye toward divorced-and-remarried Catholics, Pope Francis has recently changed protocol for heads of state who are visiting the Pope at the Vatican.
Catholic heads of state who are in an irregular marital situation may now take part in an official visit to the Pope as a couple, accompanied by their irregular spouse.
The Pope made the change in February. By chance, the first to benefit from the new protocol was Argentina’s President Mauricio Macrì. He made an official visit to Pope Francis February 27, accompanied by his third wife, Juliana Awada.
Before the change in protocol, the Catholic head of state in an irregular marital situation could not be accompanied by his or her irregular spouse during the visit.
The new spouse waited in another room and was not included in the official picture. The Pope later greeted the irregular spouse separately.
In this previous understanding, the source maintained, the Pope “could not silently approve an irregular marital situation by acknowledging it, though indirectly, in an official visit.”
The new protocol does not fully take this issue into consideration. Rather, it is aimed to emphasize the need to “integrate” divorced-and-remarried persons in the life of the Church.
The Prefecture of the Pontifical Household is the Vatican body in charge of organizing visits of heads of state for the Pope. According to CNA‘s ource, the prefecture was not consulted on the decision to change the protocol.
Well, this is Pope Francis for you. We need to pray for the Pope but also point out the outrages of his time in the Chair of St. Peter.
Reminds me of the old joke:
“Is the pope catholic?”