A small but revolutionary change: the laity translate for the first time the weekly catechism lesson of Pope Francis.

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ROME (AP) – Pope Francis on Wednesday called for streamlined adoption procedures and urged couples to have more children as he presides over his first New Year’s General Audience with a new supporting cast highlighting his call for a less clericalized Catholic Church.

For the first time, a layman and a nun provided English and Spanish translations of Francis’ weekly catechism lesson rather than a masked monsignor, a small but revolutionary change for the Vatican.

Vatican Monsignors of the Secretary of State have always provided the summed up translations during Wednesday’s general audience. On Wednesday, the clerics read only the translations in French, German, Portuguese, Arabic, Polish and Italian.

For the first time, a layman and a nun provided English and Spanish translations of Francis’ weekly catechism lesson rather than a masked monsignor, a small but revolutionary change for the Vatican.

The Vatican announced the change in advance, declaring that from Wednesday “men and women, religious and lay employees from several dicasteries of the Roman Curia, will be present at the general audience for the reading of the greetings in different languages ​​”.

During his nearly nine-year pontificate, Francis often criticized the element of Catholic culture that puts priests on a pedestal and pleaded for the “people of God” to take their rightful place in the church. .

He especially called on women to take up positions of governance and appointed a handful of nuns to important positions in the Vatican, though none lead a Vatican congregation. He is currently chairing a two-year consultation with lay Catholics around the world to understand the needs and wants of ordinary people and how the church can best serve them.

With the novelty of non-priests reading the two translations on Wednesday, Francis’ catechism lesson focused on the figure of Joseph, the “foster father” of Jesus.

With the novelty of non-priests reading the two translations on Wednesday, Francis’ catechism lesson focused on the figure of Joseph, the “foster father” of Jesus. François reiterated his call for couples to have more children to cope with “demographic winter” in much of the West. And he called on couples who cannot have children to be open for adoption.

“This kind of choice is among the highest forms of love, fatherhood and motherhood,” he said. “How many children in the world are waiting for someone to take care of them!

He pleaded for the simplification of adoption procedures “so that the dream of so many children who need a family, and of so many spouses who want to give themselves in love, can come true”.


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