Archbishop Nichols adamant Pope Francis will not change doctrine on priestly celibacy, homosexuality and divorce

Archbishop Nichols has told BBC Radio Wales that he doesn’t think for one minute that Pope Francis will ‘reconfigure’ Church teaching on priestly celibacy, homosexuality and divorce.

The Tablet reports:

‘Meanwhile, Archbishop Nichols said this week that Pope Francis’ remarks about Catholic moral teaching had changed the way that the Church was perceived, but emphasised that he had not changed church teaching on priestly celibacy, homosexuality or divorce.

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales – while in Wales to address the Muslim Council – he said: “I don’t think for one minute either from his track record or his office that he’s about to reconfigure Catholic teaching. He is creating a different culture around how the Church faces the world and how it sees the world and maybe how the world sees the Church, maybe through clearer eyes than it used to.”

Protect the Pope comment: It would be good to see this strong statement from Archbishop Nichols  widely disseminated in this country in order to put the dissent movement  A Call to Action back in its box. These dissenters are attempting to create a ‘spirit of Pope Francis’ onto which they are projecting all their twisted wishes to secularise and protestantise the Catholic Church. Archbishop Nichols is very clear that the Holy Father is not open to their calls to change the Church’s doctrine on married priests, active homosexuality or divorced and re-married.

18 comments to Archbishop Nichols adamant Pope Francis will not change doctrine on priestly celibacy, homosexuality and divorce

  • Joseph Matthew

    In practical terms, this very good news must impact on the pastoral care offered to homosexuals in his archdiocese.

  • BJC

    And of course none of this will appear on the BBC website.

    Still waiting to see if the Tablet will publish the story that Pope Francis backed Archbishop Muller’s strong statement on no communion for divorced and remarried from 23rd October, but of course they never will. It doesn’t chime with their propaganda. Even if they do, it will be at least a week late, whilst they try to figure a way out of burying the story behind their own twisted narrative.

  • Chrysostom

    Good news, but let us be clear the even the Pope has no power to change the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and divorce, so clearly laid down in the Holy Bible and taught for 2000 years by all his predecessors.

    The requirement for celibacy for priests is a rule of the Church to which exceptions can be made, as we have seen in England. But, in practical terms, many of us would see that a change to this discipline would complete the job of empting our churches started soon after the Second Vatican Council.

  • Sonja

    Would be great if the BBC and other media channels made more of this insight from such a senior leader of the Catholic Church in the UK. Since presumably they or the Tablet won’t — let the Catholic bloggers and tweeters do it for them!

  • William

    Anything is possible with this pope so I don’t put much importance on the bishop’s remarks. The real shame in all this is that this pope has been built up by the media as a living saint and the majority of people believe what the media says, this pope could make real steps in stopping the heresy taught in “Catholic” institutions and religious orders….but he will never do that. If Francis did nothing more than reform the entire Jesuit Order, what a contribution that would be considering the Jesuits were/are responsible for causing mass confusion in the Church. It’s mind numbing to think that while the entire Church is crumbling that the successor of Peter puts more effort into driving a second hand car than correcting error and teaching the Faith with clarity. He has reduced the Faith to just making people feel good, advertising agencies do that. Catholicism in not only about the heart but the mind. It’s about Truth and Tradition. But what we are enduring is because and old Jesuit is insisting that his personal views and opinions are more important than 2000 years of Doctrine, Tradition and yes Charity. Pope Pius XII wore the tiara as did all the popes before him, yet somehow this didn’t stop him from trying to save thousands of people from being murdered by the Nazis (who were Socialists by the way, not conservatives). Francis’ constant PUBLIC displays at being more humble than Christ is getting cartoonish.

    • Michael B Rooke


      Is 53

      3 – Despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed him not.
      4 – Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted.
      5 – But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed.
      6 – All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
      7 – He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth: he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth.
      8 – He was taken away from distress, and from judgment: who shall declare his generation? because he is cut oh out of the land of the living: for the wickedness of my people have I struck him.
      9 – And he shall give the ungodly for his burial, and the rich for his death: because he hath done no iniquity, neither was there deceit in his mouth.

    • Wake up England


      Presumably the increased security risk of The Pope’s “new” car has occasioned a vast increase in plain-clothes police/bodyguards etc.

      Personally I like the very solid look of The Queen’s bullet-proof Bentley. Safer and, in the long run, probably cheaper.

  • Martin

    All I will say is look at his audience. This bishop is very good at tailoring what he is saying to whom he is addressing. With another audience, he may say something else. I’m not sure I trust him very much.

  • Lynda

    Depends on his audience, I guess.

  • Augustine

    Archbishop Nichols is a complex character.

    He entered the seminary straight after school and studied in the Venerable English College Rome from 1963 until 1970 – and so would have experienced the excitement of the Second Vatican Council at first hand. But one wonders what effect this had on his overall theological education – especially as the Professors at the Gregorian University had to suddenly modify their courses.

    When he left Rome he then studied for an MA at the University of Manchester specialising in the theology of St. John Fisher – a rather unlikely choice for a true “liberal”. He has recently published a book on St John Fisher – who he clearly has a deep admiration for.

    When Derek Worlock (to his lasting disappointment)in 1976 was appointed Archbishop of Liverpool rather than Westminster, he launched a charm offensive amongst the younger clergy. And in 1980 he appointed Fr Nichols as director of the Upholland Northern Institute. Shortly afterwards in 1984 Fr Nichols became General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales – when he worked closely with Cardinal Hume.

    In 1993, he became Auxiliary Bishop in Westminster – almost certainly on the recommendation of Cardinal Hume. But Archbishop Worlock and Cardinal Hume did not always see eye to eye. (Famously, Archbishop Worlock referred to Cardinal Hume in his diaries as “GBH”.) Cardinal Hume was also regarded as being rather conservative by some groups in the Church – which says quite a lot about the views of those groups.

    Then on Cardinal Hume’s death it was Worlock’s former protégé and private secretary, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, who became Archbishop of Westminster rather than Nichols (who was supposed to be Cardinal Hume’s personal choice). More recently, on the retirement of Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, the Daily Telegraph (14 Mar 2009) reported that Nichols was not the favoured successor of Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor(or of a number of other unnamed bishops).

    So who does Archbishop Nichols take as a role model: Archbishop Worlock, Cardinal Hume – or St John Fisher?

    I hope that his recent experience of praying in St Thomas More’s cell in the Tower of London will have a good and lasting influence on him.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    Excellent news. ++VN is to be congratulated.

  • Sonja

    As Catholics we should show more faith in Pope Francis if we believe the Holy Spirit guided the Cardinals in his selection and that he is being guided by the Holy Spirit and the billions of prayers that he eternally asks for. The World is in a bad state — and he is a very good Pastor. We cannot always second guess the future.

    • Andrzej


      That is my strategy in interpreting Francis. If fact, the strange things Francis has be doing only can make sense if one tries to explain them in the light of the end which is coming. The reason it is hard to understand Francis is because he is preparing the Church for the end – and this requires choices/words that under normal circumstances might seem wrong.

      I don’t really understand what he is doing, but if it is guided by the Holy Spirit as preparation for the end, then he choices will have to seem and perhaps remain puzzling.

      In order not o despair, that’s how I am interpreting this pontificate.

      • Augustine


        I am sure that the Holy Spirit continues to guide the Church – and that history will judge that the Church has been served by outstanding Popes over the last 150 years.

        Pope John Paul II’s legacy is breath taking: the new Code of Canon Law, the new Catechism and a series of encyclicals that provides an authoritative hermeneutic for the interpretation of the Documents of the Second Vatican Council. In addition he preached the Gospel to more people than anyone else in history.

        At the beginning of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate, the likes of Hans Kung and Charles Curran were regarded as leading Catholic theologians and their teaching was widely accepted as a legitimate variation. Since their licenses to teach Catholic theology were removed, this has no longer been the case – and the results of this can be seen in the many young orthodox men who have been ordained to the Catholic priesthood in recent years.

        I suspect that future generations will see that while Pope John Paul II’s pontificate was mainly focussed on the authentic interpretation of Vatican II, Pope Benedict XVI was mainly concerned with cleansing the filth from the Church.

        But the harm done to the Church’s mission by the wickedness of immoral priests and incompetent bishops has been immense. It must have turned many Catholics away from the Church – and put off many non-Catholics from listening to the Church’s message.

        Almost certainly, both Pope Francis sees (and the vast majority of the Cardinals who elected him saw) that his main task is to detoxify the brand – not to gain any cheap popularity but to enable people of good will to hear the message of Christ once more.

  • Carlos Gabriel

    The celibacy law has been “broken” already…
    There always heve been married priests in the roman catholich church, not just the recently accepted anglican converts…
    The previous popes did that.
    What is Archbishop Nichols thinking?

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