Vatican: Pope isn't hinting at new divorce policy by encouraging Argentine woman's communion

The Vatican's spokesman says that what Pope Francis reportedly tells Catholics in private conversations doesn't reflect church policy.

An unusual statement issued in Italian, English and Spanish on Thursday comes after days of speculation that the pope wants to change Roman Catholic Church rules and allow people who remarry after getting divorced to take communion.

The question arose after Francis reportedly called an Argentine woman who wrote to him saying her priest denied her the sacraments because her spouse had been previously married. The spouse, Julio Sabetta, said Francis told his wife she was free of sin and should take communion anyway.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi said "consequences related to the teaching of the Church are not to be inferred" from the pope's phone calls.