Pope Francis says he has never denied Communion to anyone.
During the flight back from Slovakia on Wednesday, the Pope was asked about refusing the sacrament to politicians who appear to contradict Church teaching.
“I don’t know if anyone in that condition came,” he said. “But I never, never refused the Eucharist.”
However, there was one time he experienced “an interesting thing”.
“I went to celebrate Mass in a rest home and I said: ‘Raise your hand if you want to receive Communion.’
“Everyone, the old men, the old women, everyone wanted Communion, and when I gave Communion to one woman, she took me by the hand and said to me: ‘Thank you, Father, thank you: I’m Jewish.’
“I said: ‘No, the one that I gave to you is Jewish, too...’ The only strange thing, but the woman received Communion first, she said it after.”
Pope Francis said Communion “is not a prize for the perfect”. It is “is a gift, a present, the presence of Jesus in his Church and in the community. This is the theology.”
The Pope was asked about the European Parliament’s recent call for all member states to recognise same-sex marriage.
“This is important that these people are helped,” he said.
“If a homosexual couple wish to live together, the states have the possibility civilly to support them, to give them security regarding inheritance, health care, etc.
“But marriage is marriage. This does not mean to condemn them – they are our brothers and sisters, and we must accompany them.”