Showing posts with label Religion-Pope. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Religion-Pope. Show all posts

July 9, 2016

Fmer Pope Benedict Says He was Not Pressure to Quit and Speaks of “Gay Lobby”


Former Pope Benedict says in his memoirs that no-one pressured him to resign but alleges that a "gay lobby" in the Vatican had tried to influence decisions, a leading Italian newspaper reported on Friday.

The book, called "The Last Conversations", is the first time in history that a former pope judges his own pontificate after it is over. It is due to be published on Sept. 9.

Citing health reasons, Benedict in 2013 became the first pope in six centuries to resign. He promised to remain "hidden to the world" and has been living in a former convent in the Vatican gardens.

Italy's Corriere della Sera daily, which has acquired the Italian newspaper rights for excerpts and has access to the book, ran a long article on Friday summarizing its key points.

In the book, Benedict says that he came to know of the presence of a "gay lobby" made up of four or five people who were seeking to influence Vatican decisions. The article says Benedict says he managed to "break up this power group".

Benedict resigned following a turbulent papacy that included the so-call "Vatileaks" case, in which his butler leaked some of his personal letters and other documents that alleged corruption and a power struggle in the Vatican.

Italian media at the time reported that a faction of prelates who wanted to discredit Benedict and pressure him to resign was behind the leaks.


The Church has maintained its centuries-long opposition to homosexual acts.

But rights campaigners have long said many gay people work for the Vatican and Church sources have said they suspect that some have banded together to support each other's careers and influence decisions in the bureaucracy.

Benedict, who now has the title "emeritus pope," has always maintained that he made his choice to leave freely and Corriere says that in the book Benedict "again denies blackmail or pressure".

He says he told only a few people close to him of his intention to resign, fearing it would be leaked before he made the surprise announcement on Feb. 11, 2013.

The former pope, in the book-long interview with German writer Peter Seewald, says he had to overcome his own doubts on the effect his choice could have on the future of the papacy.

He says that he was "incredulous" when cardinals meeting in a secret conclave chose him to succeed the late Pope John Paul II in 2005 and that he was "surprised" when the cardinals chose Francis as his successor in 2013.

Anger over the dysfunctional state of the Vatican bureaucracy in 2013 was one factor in the cardinal electors' decision to choose a non-European pope for the first time in nearly 1,300 years.

Benedict "admits his lack of resoluteness in governing," Corriere says.

In the book, whose lead publisher is Germany’s Droemer Knaur, Benedict says he kept a diary throughout his papacy but will destroy it, even though he realizes that for historians it would be a “golden opportunity".


February 19, 2016

Pope Suggests Trump is Not Christian and Trump says Criticism is Disgraceful

Inserting himself into the Republican presidential race, Pope Francis on Wednesday suggested that Donald J. Trump “is not Christian” because of the harshness of his campaign promises to deport more immigrants and force Mexico to pay for a wall along the border.
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” Francis said when a reporter asked him about Mr. Trump on the papal airliner as he returned to Rome after his six-day visit to Mexico.

The pope’s remarks came during a wide-ranging, midair news conference in which he also waded into the question of whether the Roman Catholic Church should grant an exception to its prohibitions on abortion and birth control in regions where the Zika virus is causing a public health emergency, including in much of Catholic-dominated Latin America.

Contraception, religion and a Virus

Researchers say pregnant women are especially at risk, noting that the virus may be responsible for a spike in cases of microcephaly, a condition in which newborns have unusually small heads and brains.
In answering the question, Francis made a distinction between abortion and birth control. He flatly ruled out condoning abortion, which he described as “a crime, an absolute evil.” But he seemed more open to making an exception for contraception, citing Pope Paul VI’s decision in the 1960s to make an emergency exception and permit nuns in the Belgian Congo to use contraceptives because they were in danger of rape.

“Avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil,” Francis said. “In certain cases, as in this one, as in that one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear. I would also urge doctors to do their utmost to find vaccines against these mosquitoes that carry this disease.”

Francis’ comments on Mr. Trump and the possibility of using contraceptives to prevent the spread of the Zika virus are certain to garner strong reactions. On Thursday, the World Health Organization advised the sexual partners of pregnant women to use condoms or abstain from sex if they live in Zika-affected areas or are returning from them.

The church has long opposed the use of artificial contraceptives, a ban reaffirmed by Paul VI in his 1968 papal encyclical, Humanae Vitae. Many Catholics across Latin America and elsewhere ignore the edict, however.
Donald Trump Calls Pope’s Criticism ‘Disgraceful’ 

Francis made his remarks about Mr. Trump barely three hours after he had concluded his Mexico trip by presiding over a huge Mass in the border city of Ciudad Juárez. He first walked to the edge of the Rio Grande — as American security officers watched from the other side — to lay flowers at a new memorial commemorating those who have died trying to cross the border.

Francis then celebrated Mass, as a crowd of more than 200,000 people stood barely a stone’s throw from the border and listened to the pope call for compassion for immigrants fleeing chaos, poverty and war.

Mr. Trump has staked out controversial positions on immigration, vowing to force Mexico to build a wall and also increase deportations. He has also made inflammatory comments accusing Mexican immigrants of being rapists and criminals.
Asked whether he would try to influence Catholics in how they vote in the presidential election, Francis said he “was not going to get involved in that” but then repeated his criticism of Mr. Trump, with a caveat.

“I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that,” Francis said. “We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.”

Mr. Trump responded immediately at a campaign rally in Kiawah Island, S.C. Discussing the Islamic State, “their primary goal is to get to the Vatican.”

“If and when the Vatican is attacked,” he said, “the pope would only wish and have prayed that Donald Trump would have been elected president.”

Pope Francis offered a prayer for migrants on Wednesday in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, near the fence at the border with the United States. Credit Gregorio Borgia/Associated Press
Earlier in his remarks, he said, “I like the pope.”

In the days before Francis arrived at the border, Mr. Trump criticized the visit, calling the pope a political person and accusing him of acting at the behest of the Mexican government. “I think that the pope is a very political person,” he said.

Mr. Trump, in an interview with Fox Business Network, said: “I don’t think he understands the danger of the open border that we have with Mexico. I think Mexico got him to do it because they want to keep the border just the way it is. They’re making a fortune, and we’re losing.”
I didn't know the pope could question one's faith and still be a respected.
Mr. Trump is a Presbyterian and has been trying to make inroads among evangelical voters as he seeks to win the coming set of Southern primaries.

Asked about the comments, Francis laughed. “Thank God he said I was a politician because Aristotle defined the human person as ‘animal politicus,’ ” he said.

“So at least I am a human person,” the pope said. “As to whether I am a pawn, well, maybe, I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to your judgment and that of the people.”

Francis criticizes Mexico’s drug violence

Throughout his appearances, he spoke repeatedly about the human costs of Mexico’s drug violence, yet he never met with the families of the 43 students who disappeared in Guerrero State, a case that has caused deep embarrassment for the government. Francis said that he had wanted to meet the families in Juárez, but that practicality and dissension among the families prevented a meeting from happening. Mexico’s drug violence, he said, is “a great pain that I’m taking with me, because this country doesn’t deserve this drama.”

Asked about the continuing problem of clerical sexual abuse, Francis defended his record despite criticism that he is not sufficiently focused on the issue. He listed the things he has done to speed up prosecution of cases in the Vatican’s judicial system, but agreed that “we need to work faster, because we’re behind with the cases.”

The pope made no mention of the recent controversy that erupted after an outspoken member was suspended from his duties on the special commission Francis appointed for the protection of minors. But he described clerical sex abuse as “a monstrosity” and said bishops who transferred abusive priests to protect them should resign. 

New York Times

December 5, 2015

The Pope Talks About Christian Martyrs inUganda but Forgot the Gays Which are Being Persecuted NOW

LGBT was not in the mind of this Pastor, teacher (as he calls himself) in Uganda

 This a Christian who may be gay may be not but was killed by ISIs. Uganda only wants it for Gays. Wouldn’t that be a nail on Christ when you judge your fellow h u m a n not by crime but by whom they are as humans.

(LifeSiteNews) – What our readers have been telling me they like about LifeSite is that nobody else is reporting what we report.

A great example was this week’s true story of the Ugandan martyrs, which came up when Pope Francis visited Uganda but which the Pope barely touched on. The true story is that the King Mwanga II of Buganda – what is today southern Uganda – killed 45 or 47 of the country’s first Christian converts (roughly half were Catholic and half Anglican) in his royal court because they rejected his homosexual advances.

Pope Francis isn’t the only one who left out this obvious but inconvenient truth. So did news organizations both liberal and conservative. The very liberal National Catholic Reporter glossed over the homosexual aspect, saying the martyrs were “burned alive for their faith under a persecution by a local king.” The National Catholic Register and the Catholic Herald in Britain, both conservative, also left out the homosexual aspect., which reports on the mainstream news media’s coverage of religious issues, found one secular news organization that  got it right: CBS-AP. Get Religion faulted two of the most reputable for leaving out the homosexual angle: the New York Times and the BBC.

Since it’s right there in Wikipedia for even a lazy reporter to find, and since a story mixing religion and aberrant sexuality ought to be an easy call for any journalist, and since the African Church’s persistent hostility to homosexuality is a hot issue currently, this omission begs for an explanation.

The reason, I believe, is that the story doesn’t fit the prevailing narrative, which is that Africa’s “homophobia” is an import from Evangelical America. This I first encountered in 2010 at a lecture on Uganda’s then unpassed but highly controversial anti-homosexuality legislation. Giving the talk was a local professor whose topic was “Politics and the ‘Word of God’: Tangled Webs of Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill.”

In a voice dripping with condescension, the professor portrayed Ugandan mainstream Christianity (Catholic and Anglican) as primitive, emotional, and childlike. Ugandan “Christianity seems to have bypassed the Enlightenment and the Reformation,” he told us, making it clear that this was definitely a Bad Thing, because it meant that Scripture, in Uganda, would not be subjected to Reason.

Because of the Ugandans’ alleged guileless immaturity, the professor continued, they were easy marks for Yankee Evangelical Christians peddling homophobia. And while it is true that several important American Evangelicals – Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries and Don Schmierer of Exodus did give workshops in Uganda warning religious leaders, quite justifiably, of the U.S.-led campaign to normalize homosexuality worldwide – what the learned professor left out was…well, the Ugandan martyrs.

Why? My guess is because those martyrs gave the lie to his presumption that the poor dear Ugandan Christians could not have come by their anti-homosexuality naturally or, more accurately, indigenously. It had to be an American import. This ignores not only the martyrs, but the inescapable fact that all across middle Africa, there has long been and is now a strong aversion to homosexuality in places the Americans never visited.

The professor had another putdown for Uganda. Noting that its leaders were vowing to set an example to the world by resisting the homosexual juggernaut with their tough law, he mocked them gently for thinking their little country could show the world anything.

So this professor not only left out the martyrs (as he later admitted to me, because he wasn’t sure it was important), but also somehow missed the Ugandan miracle: the country’s controversial success in turning back another juggernaut, not unrelated to homosexuality – the AIDS epidemic. Here Uganda had shown the world, and the world did its best to cover what the little country had to show.

While the rest of Africa adopted a three-part approach that was unsuccessful, based on risk reduction with condoms, testing, and drug treatment, Uganda developed its own ABC campaign, for abstinence, being faithful, and condoms if necessary.

The AIDS establishment, led by American homosexuals, pushed a methodology that stayed away from both traditional morality and behavior modification, because the Africans were deemed incapable of changing their innate promiscuity. But condom campaigns in Africa, honest observers were admitting, did not so much prevent infection as encourage multiple partners, whether or not condoms were worn (and frequently they weren’t, and aren’t, even available).

But in Uganda, the government teamed up with the churches and mosques and promoted behavior consistent with Christian and Islamic morality: no sex before marriage, and fidelity within it (“zero grazing” was how it was cleverly phrased for this pastoral people). Condoms were added as the final method not so much as an afterthought, but as a sop to the international aid agencies, for whom condoms had assumed sacramental status and who controlled the purse strings.

Uganda reduced AIDS prevalence in adults from 15% to 5%, a turnaround unparalleled in Africa. But with a third of the country’s GDP coming from foreign aid, it had to bow to the AIDS establishment eventually, sending its prevalence rate climbing to 9%.

Why is the AIDS establishment so opposed to behavior modification? Many homosexuals identify their sexuality with specific unnatural practices. They argue that giving them up would be an admission that there is something wrong with or abnormal about the practices (which certainly make it easier for men get AIDS).

This has turned into an article of faith: nobody should change his basic sexual practices to fight AIDS.

Just as the Iron Curtain once descended over Europe, in Winston Churchill’s immortal phrase, now a veil of silence is falling over public discourse, cloaking all negative references to homosexuality – in scholarship, in politics, in public health policy and foreign aid, and even in the Catholic press. No facts can stand in the way of the LGBTQ march toward normalization and celebrity.

October 12, 2015

France Backs Down While the Pope Shoots-down Appointment of Gay Ambassador to Vatican


Francois Hollande has reportedly abandoned his bid to appoint one of his senior officials as Vatican ambassador after opposition from the Holy See because the candidate is gay.
The claim comes a week after the Vatican fired a senior priest who came out as homosexual.
The Elysée declined to comment but Libération newspaper quoted official sources as saying the French president had finally given up after months of trying to appoint Laurent Stefanini, a senior diplomat who is currently Mr Hollande's chief of protocol.
“It’s dead,” a source close to the affair told the daily.
Mr Stefanini, who also has the backing of Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, the archbishop of Paris, was nominated as France’s envoy in January but the Vatican did not accept his credentials.
 Pres.Hollande on left and Laurent Stefanini, currently the president’s chief of protocol, was rejected by the Vatican because he is gay.

Normally a new ambassador’s credentials are accepted within a month and a half. The Vatican does not usually explicitly refuse an envoy’s credentials, but a prolonged official silence after a nomination is interpreted as a rejection.
Mr Stefanini is widely respected by many in the Catholic Church, following his previous stint as number two in the French embassy at the Vatican from 2001 to 2005.
Libération said the French government will likely not seek to put forward another candidate for the job at the Vatican before the next French presidential election in 2017.
Pope Francis has taken a far less judgmental position on homosexuality than his predecessor Benedict XVI.

Pope Francis
But that did not stop him criticising the current French socialist government passing a law in 2013 legalising gay marriage and adoption rights for gay couples, leading to mass protests from among the country's Catholics.
The Vatican was embarrassed last weekend by a senior Vatican official’s decision to come out publicly as gay, just as 270 bishops from around the world gathered in Rome to attend a synod on family issues. The priest was sacked
The row over the Vatican's attitude towards gay priests was stoked further by a claim this week that priests with “homosexual tendencies” are packed off to a religious retreat in order to be “cured”.
In its official doctrine, the Catholic Church insists that homosexuality is an  ntrinsic disorder", with conservatives continuing to maintain that it is a conscious choice, rather than something that people are born as.

Rory Mulholland, Paris

October 5, 2015

The Pope, Gay Marriage and a Publicity Seeking Clerk [What Really Happened]


There is no wondering where I am with this Pope, any Pope or the Catholic Church. I believe no matter who has been leader of the catholic church there is not much difference between them. Its has been whether the man was introverted or extroverted. The introvert would be the majority (they don’t travel much nor make many pronunciations on anything, be politics or doctrine)  but once in a while you get a Polish Pope that criticizes communism or what seem to be a humble people liking Uru-Argentinian Pope. As adults these two extroverts had very strong opinions of the politics of their respective countries and the world thus becoming more vocal on world politics once they came to the Vatican.

In the case of popular Pope Francis the issue of Gay marriage had already hit both Uruguay and Argentina in which found him in a position of power or strong voice within the church. He is on the records on gay marriage, civil Unions and adoptions by gays. Those positions have not change. What has change is the perception of this man and the speed in which those issued have been settled in the United States and other countries, as far as any decision is settled; which means the government backs it as most of the voters.

Now we have the incident of the County Clerk who refuses to obey both the Supreme Court and the order from the Governor to issue marriage licenses to gays and lesbians. There is no doubt she is breaking the law everyday and has done jail time for it. Had it been a Reporter protecting its sources he or she would still be in jail but it was decided this is what the woman wanted as well s those backing her in the extremes of the GOP political machine. Every day she spent in jail was a money making day for the anti gay machine to fight more [a settled law] same sex marriage and adoptions.

 Many including myself wished there was real change coming from a place that doesn’t change, the Vatican. There were fixed inclement changes like being open about giving Mass on other languages other than Latin that only the Priests understood and some form of relaxing dress codes particularly for nuns but those have been just dressing changes not changes on their or doctrine or the way they think. A bishop or a Pope is not someone that can come out of the streets and clean house. It is a long hard process that weeds out most. Only those who have shown real obedience and respect to the way things are done and to the past are those that grow in the church. The Pope most posses the qualities of a smart politician being that he has to convince others to vote for him as pope without openly asking for their vote.
Olivia Goldhill gives us on the site a summation going back to 2010 of what Pope Fracisco is said about these issues. 

You will see now how things happened with this pope, the clerk and as important why would any of this means the Pope is change his mind or not about gay, lesbians and marriage as it applies to the Catholic Church. 

Some American liberals were prepared to claim Pope Francis as one of their own after his hugely successful visit to the US last week. But the pope’s left-leaning image was shattered when it was revealed that the pontiff met with Kim Davis, a county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. 

News of the meeting stirred confusion over the pope’s attitude toward gay marriage. A battle of press releases between the Vatican and Davis’s lawyer—each seeking to portray a different interpretation of the meeting—only muddied the waters more.

As the country continues to debate whether the pope’s stance on gay marriage is more or less progressive based on recent events, it’s worth mulling over a timeline of some of his most noteworthy comments on the subject, including the breakdown of events over the past few days.

2010: He comments positively on civil unions. When Argentina was debating legalizing gay marriage, Francis—then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio—reportedly proposed civil unions as an alternative option. “We believe that we must propose more comprehensive civil union rights than currently exist, but no gay marriage,” Bergoglio’s spokesman, Federico Wals, told Argentina’s Infonews. Argentine bishops did not endorse the idea.

June 22, 2010: He opposes gay marriage and adoption. In a letter to the Carmelite Nuns of Buenos Aires in 2010 (pdf), Bergoglio made his opposition to gay marriage extremely clear. He called the political movement “the destructive attempt toward God’s plan,” and “the envy of the Devil.” He also said that gay adoption is a form of discrimination against children: “At stake are the lives of so many children who will be discriminated against in advance, depriving them of the human maturation that God wanted to be given with a father and a mother.”

July 29, 2013: He says, “Who am I to judge?” Francis made some of his most tolerant remarks while talking to a plane full of reporters on the way back from his first foreign trip as pope, to Brazil. “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” he said.

November 17, 2014: He advocates that children should be raised by a mother and father. Speaking at a Vatican colloquium called, “The Complementarity of Man and Woman”, Pope Francis re-iterated his belief that children should be raised by heterosexual parents. “The family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation,” he said. “Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity.” Pope Francis added that family is an anthropological fact that cannot be qualified “based on ideological notions or concepts important only at one time in history.”

July 10, 2015: He blesses a gay couple. Pope Francis wrote in response to a letter from Francesca Pardi, author of the children’s book Why do you have two moms?. Pardi summarized the letter on her Facebook page, saying the pope “hopes for an always more fruitful activity at the service of young generations and sharing authentic human and Christian values.” The pope ended the letter with his “apostle’s blessing” for Pardi and her partner, Maria Silvia Fiengo.

August 28, 2015: He clarifies that a blessing does not endorse “unfit behaviors.” statement from the Vatican insisted that the pope’s blessing was meant for the individual and was “not in line with the church’s doctrine on gender theory, which has not changed in the slightest.” The letter was not “meant to endorse behaviors and teachings unfit to the Gospel.”

September 29, 2015: He meets with Kim Davis. Davis’s lawyer, Matt Staver, revealed on Sept. 29 that Pope Francis had a private meetingwith the county clerk on Sept. 24. “I was humbled to meet Pope Francis. Of all people, why me?” Davis said in a statement. “Pope Francis was kind, genuinely caring, and very personable. He even asked me to pray for him. Pope Francis thanked me for my courage and told me to ‘stay strong.'”

September 30, 2015: The Vatican confirms his meeting. Eight hours after Davis’s statement, the Vatican finally confirmed the meeting took place. “I don’t deny that the meeting took place,” said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, “but I have no comment to add.”

October 2, 2015: His meeting ‘does not endorse Davis’s views.’ The Vatican issued an unusual statement attempting to downplay the pope’s meeting with Davis. The meeting was “brief” and dozens of people had been invited, said the Vatican. “The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects,” added the statement. A spokesman, the Rev. Thomas Rosica, minimized the event further, saying the invitation came from the papal nuncio’s office in Washington, not Rome. He also implied that Pope Francis didn’t know of Kim Davis’s recent political activism.

I would simply say: Her case is a very complex case. It’s got all kinds of intricacies. Was there an opportunity to brief the pope on this beforehand? I don’t think so. A list is given — these are the people you are going to meet.

Father Rosica added that the Vatican press office knew of the pope’s meeting with Kim Davis but “may not have been aware of the full impact of the meeting. It is very difficult sometimes when you are looking at things in America from here.”

The Vatican’s official statement also had an intriguing yet vague allusion to a significant meeting. “The only real audience granted by the pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family,” said the statement.

October 2, 2015: He confirms meeting with a gay couple. It turns out the pope’s “only real audience” was with one of his former Argentine students, Yayo Grassi, a gay man who brought his partner of 19 years to the meeting in the Vatican’s embassy in Washington. “He has never been judgmental,” Grassi told CNN. “He has never said anything negative.” The Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis met with Grassi on Sept. 23.

October 2, 2015: Davis’s lawyer contradicted the Vatican version of events. Matt Staver released a second statement, insisting that the meeting was initiated by the Vatican and the invitation was issued on the day Davis returned to work after her time in jail. Staver also said Kim Davis met privately with the pope. “This was not a meeting with other people in which Kim and Joe Davis were a part, but rather a private meeting with no other people in the room except Vatican security and personnel,” he said.

On Sunday (Oct. 4), the Vatican will begin a three-week meeting of bishops and laypeople to discuss the Catholic Church’s approach toward the family. Gay relationships may come up for discussion, but the working document (link in Italian) for the meeting suggests that they will be firmly rejected. The document reads:

There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.
Pope Francis may have a kindly attitude but, as head of the Catholic Church, he leads an organization with a long, firm history of opposing homosexuality.

October 1, 2015

The Pope Working Behind Scene Against Gays and Lesbians

The Antony & the Johnsons frontwoman also calls The Pope "shameful and pathetic" for meeting with Kim Davis


Antony Hegarty of Antony & The Johnsons has launched a social media attack on The Pope, in response to a meeting held earlier this week with controversial anti-gay marriage county clerk Kim Davis.

Vatican officials have confirmed Pope Francis met with Davis during his time in America. The clerk and her husband were snuck into the Vatican embassy for the meeting, and Davis' lawyer has claimed The Pope told Davis to "stay strong" and gave her rosaries. 

The move incensed Hegarty, who identifies as transgender. She wrote on her band's Facebook:

"Apparently Pope Francis was working behind the scenes to undermine gay rights in America. How shameful and pathetic of him. I have been so impressed with his approach to climate and his call to end the death penalty in the US. But for him to make insidious comments about how the "traditional family" is under threat (presumably from gay marriage) and then to secretly meet that poor misguided cretin Kim Davis..." 

"I am glad that he is mobilizing his flock to care about nature, but i would still prefer that they would all just go to their heaven now and leave the rest of humanity and nature in peace here on earth. Pope Francis seems still to be causing harm and burning witches in the name of Christ, just like his forefathers."
Antony Hegarty of Antony & The Johnsons
"Francis attempts to distract us from Catholic sexual predators with a smokescreen of fake moralizing about gay people and their rights to live as equals in society," Hegarty continued. "Pope Francis should line up one hundred gay, lesbian and transgendered people from around the world and wash and kiss their feet." 

"He should issue a formal apology on behalf of the Vatican for centuries of persecuting, torturing and killing gay and transgendered people in the name of their god. Or are we not worthy of his humility, unlike criminals, the American indigenous, and the poor? And he doesn't even have the political courage to speak of his bigotry directly. Knowing it would hurt his popularity, he slithers around in secret, watering the seeds of hatred and violence against gay, lesbian and transgendered people. Jesus Wept."

Antony and the Johnsons have been fairly quiet on the musical front recently, having not released a standard studio album since 2010's 'Swanlight', though they did launch the soundtrack to 'Turning' in 2013. The album 'Hopelessness' was announced in February, and will be the singer's first under the moniker 'Anohni'. There is no confirmed release date yet.

The Pope, bizarrely, announced a rock album release earlier this week.

ps: You may have noticed that Pope Francis is in the United States. The pontiff's arrival in Washington shut down streets, led to throngs of adoring crowds and a giddy reception from President Obama. He is cast by some as a transformational figure, a "liberal" custodian of the Holy See and an important moral voice on some of the world's most pressing political and social issues.
Of course, in the 2,000-year history of the Vatican, not all its popes have been as celebrated or righteous. There have been usurpers, greedy spendthrifts and warmongers. For centuries, the papacy was at the center of European power politics — and those who wore its mantle acted with fitting ruthlessness. Here's a brief sampling of some of the worst popes in history.


September 28, 2015

The Pope in New York City { with pictures and tweets}

The Pope Instructs The Bishops on Gay Marriage without mentioning it

“sounds a little bit like an Argentine tango” 

 In a powerful rebuke to the culture war mentality that has often marked the public witness of the Catholic hierarchy, Pope Francis told bishops gathered for a major church meeting on families not to blame others for the changes to marriage today, and said a church that constantly explains doctrines without providing real support to families “is dangerously unbalanced.”

“We need to invest our energies not so much in rehearsing the problems of the world around us and the merits of Christianity, but in extending a sincere invitation to young people to be brave and to opt for marriage and the family,” Francis told bishops gathered at a seminary here on Sunday morning (Sept. 27), the final day of the pontiff’s grueling nine-day visit to Cuba and the U.S.

“A Christianity which ‘does’ little in practice, while incessantly ‘explaining’ its teachings, is dangerously unbalanced,” Francis told dozens of churchmen from around the world. “I would even say that it is stuck in a vicious circle.” 

At the start of his 30-minute talk, Francis made a brief reference to the legalization of same-sex marriage that the American bishops have made a centerpiece of their public ministry and policy battles, with many of them casting the acceptance of gay relationships as the beginning of an era of exclusion and even persecution for Christians.

Francis, as he has done in his speeches to church leaders throughout this visit, his first to the U.S., refused to take that bait.

Without mentioning gay marriage, he noted that civil marriage and Christian sacramental marriage no longer share a common meaning, as they once did. Yet while recognizing the profound changes taking place, he warned bishops against pointing fingers at their flock or wallowing in nostalgia.

“Should we blame our young people for having grown up in this kind of society? Should we condemn them for living in this kind of a world?” Francis said. “Should they hear their pastors saying that ‘it was all better back then,’ ‘the world is falling apart and if things go on this way, who knows where we will end up?’ No, I do not think that this is the way.”

He said the church’s shepherds must accompany and help people, and he said they must be converted first to this approach: “For all the obstacles we see before us, gratitude and appreciation should prevail over concerns and complaints.”

“A pastor watches over the dreams, the lives and the growth of his flock. This ‘watchfulness’ is not the result of talking but of shepherding. Only one capable of standing ‘in the midst of’ the flock can be watchful, not someone who is afraid of questions, contact, accompaniment,” Francis said, joking at one point that it “sounds a little bit like an Argentine tango.” 

Francis is a native of Argentina and the first Latin American pope in history, and he spoke to the bishops in Spanish, adding occasional observations and asides as he went along.

For example, in talking about the problems of young people not leaving home to marry, Francis looked up from his prepared text, smiled and said:

“In Buenos Aires, many women would tell, ‘Me my son is thirty, thirty-four, and isn’t married. What should I do?’ I tell them, “Don’t iron his shirts anymore!”

In explaining the changes in marriage and family life, Francis compared them to the shift from the local neighborhood shop to the rise of supermarkets.

Today’s mega-store culture thrives on offering a huge selection of every option, “cleverly displayed” and encouraging consumerism in every aspect of life, but without a personal bond of trust or permanence, he said. Everything is devoted to increasing sales, and “the most important thing nowadays seems to be to follow the latest trend or activity,” Francis said.

“This is even true of religion. Today consumerism determines what is important. Consuming relationships, consuming friendships, consuming religions, consuming, consuming … Whatever the cost or consequences.”

“Running after the latest fad, accumulating ‘friends’ on one of the social networks, we get caught up in what contemporary society has to offer,” and that leads to “loneliness with fear of commitment in a limitless effort to feel recognized.”

Yet again, the pontiff stressed that the church’s leaders should not blame young people:

“Are today’s young people hopelessly timid, weak, inconsistent? We must not fall into this trap. Many young people, in the context of this culture of discouragement, have yielded to a form of unconscious acquiescence. They are paralyzed when they encounter the beautiful, noble and truly necessary challenges which faith sets before them. Many put off marriage while waiting for ideal conditions, when everything can be perfect. Meanwhile, life goes on, without really being lived to the full.”

While Francis was speaking to bishops from around the world who were attending the World Meeting of Families, a triennial event held in different cities around the globe, his approach stood in especially stark contrast to the public profile of the American bishops in recent years.

Notable among those culture warrior bishops is Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who has been Francis’ host for this final leg of the trip. But Chaput is also a bishop closely associated with conservatives in the hierarchy who have voiced reservations or even strong opposition to the pope’s new course for the church.

In brief remarks at the start of his talk, Francis told the prelates that earlier that morning he had met privately with five adults who had been sexually abused as children by priests, teachers or relatives. The meeting had been anticipated but details were kept under wraps. Many victims’ advocates were strongly critical of the meeting, and said the steps Francis has taken to fight abuse and hold bishops accountable are insufficient.

But in his remarks to the bishops, Francis vowed to hold accountable bishops who allow priests to abuse children, and he hailed the “survivors,” as he pointedly called them, as the real heroes of the abuse crisis and “heralds of hope and ministers of mercy.”

September 24, 2015

The pope Will be Talking to Congress about Something They would Rather not hear


This story appeared on Mother Jones and I think this is history being made at its best with the Pope telling Congress something they would rather not hear particularly from a religious entity that have never bothered with them before. Who would have thought that a Pope would be telling to those who pay lip service to god that they are on the wrong road to god and the problems that the Globe faces. Every time that honesty, intelligence and the heart get together in front of politicians, particularly Americans in Washington the globe shakes. Watch out for some knees shaking somewhere’s well.

Pope Francis is scheduled to address Congress on Thursday. There's a good chance he'll dwell on two of his signature issues: global poverty and climate change. These issues are not especially popular with congressional Republicans. So perhaps it’s a bit surprising that, so far, only one of them has publicly expressed trepidation about the speech.

Of course, no one knows exactly what the Holy Father will say. But here are few of his key ideas, quoted from his climate encyclical this summer, that will be hard for GOP legislators to brush off:

1. Climate change is real and caused by people. Here's a line from the statement that will play pretty poorly in a room where huge numbers of lawmakers dispute the science behind climate change:

It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the Earth's orbit and axis, the solar cycle), yet a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity.

The pontiff also isn't shy about pointing a finger directly at the deniers:

Many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms, simply making efforts to reduce some of the negative impacts of climate change.

2. We have to stop burning fossil fuels, and the government should crack down on emissions. Again, from the encyclical:

There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.

Conservatives have slammed President Barack Obama for giving too much support to renewable energy, even though the United States became the world's No. 1 producer of oil and gas for the first time ever under Obama. So the idea that we should cut back on fossil fuels probably won't get much support from congressional Republicans. Meanwhile, Obama's Clean Power Plan, which is precisely the kind of carbon-cutting policy the pope is advocating, has been the target of numerous Republican attacks since it was proposed:

3. Capitalism is at the root of the problem. The pope has been broadly critical of global consumer culture and has linked it to environmental degradation:

These problems are closely linked to a throwaway culture which affects the excluded just as it quickly reduces things to rubbish... We have not yet managed to adopt a circular model of production capable of preserving resources for present and future generations, while limiting as much as possible the use of non-renewable resources, moderating their consumption, maximizing their efficient use, reusing and recycling them.

He also takes issue with the idea (which some environmentalists embrace, as do many conservatives) that private-sector innovation can and/or should play a prominent role in adapting to climate change. According to the pope, the environment cannot be "safeguarded or promoted by market forces."

But there could be one topic on which the pope agrees with Republicans, if not for the same reasons: He is opposed to cap-and-trade policies that would set up a carbon-trading market, which many environmental economists say is the most efficient way to cut emissions. To the pope, "carbon credits" are just another financial market to be exploited by the rich to the detriment of the poor; to Republicans, they're job-killing government overreach.

In any case, it’s sure to be an awkward afternoon for Republicans on Capitol Hill.

September 23, 2015

What Would God Do? El Papa

 If this snapshot of the pope arriving at JFK NY after meeting Pres.Obama, does not tell you who this man is then nothing will.  For this site to put a pope in its pages on a positive note also tell us a lot.

[ Ozy Authors:Viva el papa]

He came from the slums of Buenos Aires, and now his flock is the whole wide world: This week, Pope Francis visits the United States, his popemobile snarling traffic all over the Eastern seaboard. Would Francis have wanted such a fuss? Likely not. Francis cultivates a winningly humble persona — a pope for the people.

The Pope, a Piketty-ian?

Within months of his moving to the Vatican, Francis was railing not just against inequality and poverty, but also against the global economic order itself. At its heart was a new idolatry, he said, of money, and its result was exclusion and a growing gap between rich and poor. Indeed, Francis’ November 2013 Apostolic Exhortation presaged a growing worldwide interest in combating economic inequality — a banner taken up shortly afterward by President Obama, Thomas Piketty and a host of others. Read more here.

 Past Popes’ car when traveling

Ideological Heirs Already

Francis also has his ideological heirs — among them, Carlos Osoro, the new Vatican appointee to the Madrid Archdiocese. He is liberal and chummy with his followers, even by warm Spanish standards, and (gasp!) he ignores protocol. Por ejemplo: During the oft-pompous processions in the Almudena Cathedral adjacent to the Royal Palace, he is the only one out of two dozen priests who smiles and throws benevolent Catholic gang signs to his flock, while the rest carry themselves regal and solemn. All of this in Madrid, a spot that has historically set trends for Spain and Latin America and influenced the direction of the church. Read more here.

But Can He Shatter the Church’s Glass Ceiling?

Pope Francis is trying to remake the world in different ways — from making it easier to get marriage annulments to brokering a relationship between the U.S. and Cuba — but one big question remains for the Pope of the people: Will we see women admitted to the priesthood during his papacy? A young German woman named Jacqueline Straub has been urging the pope along in that direction. It won’t be easy. Not only has the Roman Catholic Church specifically outlawed the possibility of women becoming priests, but it has also banned even discussing it formally. Read more here.

That giant Achilles heel on the Catholic Church? Yeah, she’s shaped like a woman.

There is no denying that the humble Pope Francis has changed some people’s opinions of the Catholic Church for the better, but for many in the Western world, there’s still the question of female equality in the Vatican. Namely, why can’t women be priests, too?

Pope Francis is touching the doorknob to see how hot the fire is on the other side.
Pope Francis has made a big point of repeatedly stating how important it is that women become leaders and decision makers in the Catholic Church and how Catholics need a deeper theology of women. He even pointed out that “Mary is more important than the apostles.” But some see that as lip service when combined with how he has made it abundantly clear that women cannot be ordained. The Sistine Chapel’s got nothing on that glass ceiling up there.

“With regards to the ordination of women, the church has spoken and says no,” said Francis while returning from Brazil. ”Pope John Paul [II] said so with a formula that was definitive. That door is closed.”

Robert McClory, a contributing writer to the National Catholic Reporter , says it is interesting how guarded Francis is being with his language, cautiously pinning it on John Paul II. “The door is closed and it’s locked,” says McClory. “But the pope can open the door, if he wanted to. He’s got the keys.”

So what gives? How is the pope going to enact change? S-l-o-w-l-y. (We are talking the Catholic Church here, remember?) 
“People say, ’Well, he’s not ordaining women, so therefore this is all irrelevant.’ I don’t think it is irrelevant,” says Lisa Cahill, a theology and ethics professor at Boston College and author of Sex, Gender & Christian Ethics . Cahill explains that what the pope is doing reflects a more ”holistic cultural shift within the Catholic Church.” He’s not changing official Catholic laws, but he’s changing customs, expectations and what’s seen as acceptable. Similar to how he’s transforming his bishops .

Perhaps Francis is serving women through his focus on global poverty and hunger. Is that enough?
What this entails is talking about women’s role in the Church and gathering people’s thoughts, or possibly appointing women to roles where traditionally there haven’t been women before. ”I think he’s testing the waters to see how are people reacting to some of these things,” says McClory.

He’s touching the doorknob to see how hot the fire is on the other side.

And he may be weighing global concerns, suggests Cahill : While women’s ordination is of high importance to Catholics in America and the Western world, where women are seen as equals, that isn’t the case in a majority of other countries where Catholicism exists.

 Theology professor Alice L. Laffey makes a similar point in her op-ed, saying: ”Throughout the world, women and their children make up the greatest percentage of human beings living in destitution. Their main concern is not women priests but food, health, education and physical safety. Francis’ genuine concern for the real lives of the poor and suffering warmly embraces women.” In other words, Francis is serving women through his focus on global poverty and hunger.

Is that enough? Wouldn’t it be better if more substantive, concrete official change could happen, like making a woman a cardinal (not going to happen ) or perhaps following in the footsteps of the early Catholic age and allowing female deacons? Of course it would be. In fact, Francis so often talks about the “service” of women that more than a few Church observers have noted it might be a hint at a possible (distant) future for women to become deacons, the title of which is derived from the Greek diakonos , meaning “servant.”

For now, though, Catholics have to settle for slow, subtle shifts, which, to give Francis credit, are already occurring. U.S. Cardinal Sean O’Malley recently said he and his colleagues are ”anxious to have more laypeople involved, particularly more women in positions of responsibility at the Vatican.”

Many lay or religious women are already stepping up to minister in place of a nonexistent resident priest.
Continued rhetoric from Francis and his cardinals about the importance of women will help make it less startling to see women in leadership roles, a shift which was under way even before Francis’ papacy. And while his call for a deeper theology of women indicates that he understands that the Church’s doctrine on women’s roles is out of step, his experience as a pastor has shown him that women are already running day-to-day operations of churches, religious schools, parishes and social-service organizations.

“If you walk into any parish office on a given day, if you were to snap your fingers and remove the female presence from there, nothing would [get done],” says Jesuit Post editor Timothy O’Brien. “Most of the places that I’ve worked as a Jesuit that are ministries of the Church, it’s run by women.” He says that female leadership is certainly missing at the highest levels, so that is where the conversation tends to focus. Along with many other Church observers, O’Brien argues that a priest shortage is exposing an even greater need for service in the Church — and many laywomen are already stepping up to minister in place of a nonexistent resident priest.

Such a shift in women’s leadership in the Catholic Church matters, especially to the future health of the Church. As Cahill says, having more women leaders would change the atmosphere. “There is a culture in this country around equality and an expectation of it,” says Cahill. “Because that isn’t as much reflected in the Church it turns women off, especially younger women.” Changing the conversation and the mindset of the Catholic Church’s view on women will attract more women, keep them in the church, and create an environment where women’s leadership is acceptable and expected.

It’s about time we started asking: What would Mary do?


September 22, 2015

Pres. Obama Invites GaY Rights Supporters to Meet with Pope Francis


      Glad-handing is a common political occurrence in Washington, D.C., but the official guest list for       Pope Francis' visit to the White House is causing the Vatican serious concern.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Vatican officials are concerned that photos featuring the pope greeting several prominent gay rights advocates and Roman Catholics who support same-sex marriage during his White House visit could be misinterpreted as the pontiff endorsing non-traditional views on the family and human sexuality.

According to the White House, retired (and now divorced) homosexual Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson will be a guest, as will Nicholas Coppola, a former Roman Catholic who started a petition calling for the church to be more inclusive of gays and lesbians after he was put out of his church parish in New York.

“I think, frankly, the Pope sets his own agenda and speaks his own mind and has his own pastoral mission. And we would not expect in any way the Pope to influence – we would not in any way want to create any expectation that the Pope is going to be a voice in U.S. domestic political issues.”
- Ben Rhodes, Communications Director
Frank DeBernardo, executive director of the dissenting Catholic activist group New Ways Ministry, and Sister Jeannine Gramick, S.L., the organization's co-founder, will also attend. New Ways Ministry has been shunned by both the Vatican and the U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops for its views on LGBT issues.

GLAAD, the largest gay rights lobby nationwide, is encouraging the media to speak with disaffected Catholics who believe LGBTs should be included in Catholic life. It also sent a letter to Pope Francis in advance of the visit, encouraging the leader of Catholics worldwide to open the church's doors to homosexuals.

"Currently, our Church's teaching and pastoral practices surrounding LGBT people are causing an enormous pastoral crisis,as well as upholding systemic, institutionalized discrimination against LGBT people and our families. In the U.S. and around the world, we are experiencing alienation from the Church, higher rates of poverty and violence, and discrimination in employment, housing, educational opportunities, and access to health care," the letter said.

"LGBT youth are particularly vulnerable, with nearly half of the LGBT young people in the U.S. considered to be at-risk. Lacking support at home, at school, or from faith communities, LGBT youth suffer bullying, experience depression, self-mutilate, attempt suicide, use drugs, become homeless or enter foster care at rates far higher than non-LGBT youth. This is a crisis that the church can help to address through effective pastoral care and programs that provides love and support for these youth."

GLAAD also issued a media guide for journalists who wish to interview the pontiff and write about homosexual issues.

During a press conference Sept. 17, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked if the guest list – which also includes a transgender woman and several abortion rights advocates – was meant to "send a message or make a statement."

Earnest said he believed it best not to draw conclusions "about one or two or maybe even three people who may be on the guest list, because there will be 15,000 other people there, too."

During a subsequent press call about the papal visit, Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, was asked by a reporter if Pope Francis would be weighing in on domestic policy issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion. Rhodes issued a veiled warning for the reporters who might be tempted to draw a connection between the pope's words and American politics.

"I think, frankly, the Pope sets his own agenda and speaks his own mind and has his own pastoral mission. And we would not expect in any way the Pope to influence – we would not in any way want to create any expectation that the Pope is going to be a voice in U.S. domestic political issues," Rhodes said.

"I think the Pope in many ways operates at a different plane of being a spiritual and moral leader. So I think we'd be very sensitive to not suggest that the Pope's visit and his words are inserted into our own domestic politics. He'll make his own determinations and I'm sure he'll speak his mind. And he's demonstrated himself to be a very candid and principled voice on a whole host of issues."

However, some gay rights advocates seem to think the papal visit is their opportunity to interject their views into the life of the church.

The Catholic News Agency reported that DeBernardo, of New Ways Ministry, told the Washington Blade – a newspaper for the LGBT community – Sept. 16 he thought the presence of LGBT Catholics and activists "sends a strong message that LGBT people are a great concern of this administration."

The news agency also said Mateo Williamson, a past transgender caucus co-chair with the dissenting group Dignity USA, will attend the White House ceremony.

According to the Blade, members of other gay rights groups will line the streets as Pope Francis passes in his motorcade.

Daniel Barutta, president of the Dignity Washington, an LGBT "Catholic" group, said his organization will be stationed outside the headquarters of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) with a banner that reads:

"Pope Francis: The Spirit is Speaking through Us – LGBT Catholics – Dignity Washington."

The newspaper also reported that HRC spokesperson Elizabeth Halloran said dozens of HRC employees will line the street since the organization is only blocks from the Cathedral of Saint Matthews, where Pope Francis will speak.

"We will be part of the crowd welcoming the Pope, and urging him to fully embrace the LGBT faithful," Halloran said.

Ernesto Zelayandia, an HRC global fellow, also wrote on the organization's website that the pontiff should lift the church's prohibition on gay marriage and stop discriminating against the LGBT community worldwide:

"It is important for the Catholic Church to stand on the right side of history and for Pope Francis to affirm that LGBT rights are human rights. He should praise the progress made by those countries that have recognized their LGBT citizens as equals and he should send an unambiguous message that punitive laws and violence against LGBT people have dangerous outcomes that devalue the dignity and humanity of all humans. Pope Francis should employ the message of love, upon which the Catholic Church was founded.

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