Pope Francis has made changes to remarriage customs for Catholic heads of state. The new rules come as more sweeping marriage and divorce guidelines are anticipated to be announced in coming weeks.
“From now on, Catholic heads of state in irregular marital unions will be able to meet the Pope along with their spouse and the latter will also be able to appear in official group photos when gifts are exchanged,” said Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli, according to Religion New Service.
In the past, if a Catholic political leader was divorced and remarried without receiving an official annulment, the pope would meet with the head of state and spouse separately.
Pope Francis reportedly asked for the change to protocol after meeting with a Latin American head of state who had previously remarried, and then met the leader’s wife in a separate meeting.
The new customs were used in practice for the first time on the new President of Argentina Mauricio Macri and Juliana Awada, his third wife.
The announcement of changes to remarriage rules is only the most recent of an array of changes made by Pope Francis since taking the head position at the Catholic Church, reports The New York Times.
The pope criticized the global financial system, calling for more ethics in finance in a 2013 speech.
“The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any humane goal,” said Francis.
The pope has also undertaken efforts to replace church traditionalists with more moderate officials, in an attempt to move the church in a new, progressive direction.
The pope has also recognized the "State of Palestine," becoming the first pope to invite the presidents of Israel and Palestine to a prayer summit after he visited the West Bank and referred to the territory as “Palestinian.”