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

December 13, 2018

Top Advisor to The Pope, Cardinal Pell, Found Guilty of Historical Sexual Offenses



Australian Cardinal George Pell leaves the Melbourne Magistrates Court Oct. 6. 
(CNS photo/Mark Dadswell, Reuters)

Gerard O’Connell
American Magazine

An Australian jury has found Cardinal George Pell, 77, guilty on five charges of “historical child sexual offenses” that go back decades, according to various media reports and confirmed by America. The 12-member jury gave their unanimous verdict in the County Court of the State of Victoria in Melbourne on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
The judge decided that the sentencing will take place in early February 2019 and released the cardinal on bail.
Little is known about the nature of the charges on which Cardinal Pell has been condemned because the entire trial and a second trial that has yet to take place are covered by a strict suppression order issued by the presiding judge, Peter Kidd. The order prohibits reporting on the case in any of the country’s media until the second trial has taken place to avoid prejudicing his case in both instances. The judge has prohibited the publication of the number of complainants in either of the two trials as well as the number and nature of the charges, except for the fact that the charges relate to “historical child sexual offenses.” 
An Australian jury has found Cardinal George Pell, 77, guilty on five charges of historical sexual offenses. 


The cardinal is the most senior churchman yet to be convicted of such offenses, though he is not the third-ranking Vatican official, as some media have reported. His conviction is a grave blow not only to the church in Australia but also to the Vatican and to Pope Francis, who placed great trust in him by nominating the Australian prelate to his nine-member Council of Cardinal Advisors (he was the only cardinal from Oceania at that time, and Francis chose one cardinal from each continent) and by appointing him as prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy with a sweeping mandate to reform Vatican finances.
Cardinal Pell made great headway in those reform efforts, but he has not finished that work when he decided to return to Australia to respond to the allegations of historical sexual offenses. The cardinal has always maintained his innocence. Committal hearings were held in May at the end of which the presiding magistrate while dismissing some of the most serious charges, ordered him to stand trial on the other charges.
His lawyers and the Victoria State public prosecutors agreed to split the charges against him into two trials: one relating to alleged sexual offenses committed at the cathedral in Melbourne (the first trial known as “the cathedral trial”) and the other for abuse said to have been committed in Ballarat, reportedly at a swimming pool (known as “the swimmers trial”). Yesterday’s verdict comes from the first trial. That trial began in September but the jury could not reach a verdict, and so a new trial began in November which resulted in yesterday’s verdict. The second trial is expected to take place early in 2019, probably around mid-February or early March, after the sentencing related to the first verdict has taken place. 
Cardinal Pell’s conviction is a grave blow not only to the church in Australia but also to the Vatican and to Pope Francis. 


The Vatican has not commented on the news of the cardinal’s conviction out of respect for the suppression order. On Wednesday, Dec. 12., the director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, responding to a question at a press brief in the Vatican about whether the cardinal would remain as prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy in the light of his judicial situation told reporters, “That is a good question.”
He then added, “The Holy See has the utmost respect for the Australian judicial authorities. We are aware there is a suppression order in place and we respect that order.”
Pope Francis told journalists in an airborne press conference earlier this year that he would speak only after the judicial process (which includes the possibility of appeal after sentencing) had run its course. Sources say the cardinal, who has always insisted in this innocence, will appeal.
The conviction of another Australian archbishop, Philip Wilson, was overturned by an appeals court, and sources believe the case of Cardinal Pell could follow suit. 
Pope Francis has said he would speak only after the judicial process had run its course.  


Pope Francis “granted Cardinal Pell a leave of absence so he could defend himself from the accusations” on June 29, 2017. Since then, the cardinal has been unable to carry out his responsibilities as prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy, a senior position in the Vatican, and as a member of the pope’s council of nine cardinals advisors.
Prior to his leave of absence—when allegations became public and some thought the pope should have removed Cardinal Pell from office—Francis applied the principle of law known as “in dubio pro reo” (“doubt favors the accused”), insisting that a person is to be considered innocent until proven guilty. The pope did not remove Cardinal Pell from his Vatican posts then because he believed to do so would be equivalent to an admission of guilt. Francis explained his stance in a press conference on the return flight from World Youth Day in Poland, July 31, 2016. He said: “We have to wait for the justice system to do its job and not pass judgment in the media because this is not helpful. ‘Judgment’ by gossip, and then what? We don’t know how it will turn out. See what the justice system decides. Once it has spoken, then I will speak.” 
Pope Francis’ words make clear that he does not intend to speak until the judicial process, including a possible appeal, has ended. He has, however, terminated Cardinal Pell’s membership of the council of nine cardinal advisors, Mr. Burke, indicated on Dec. 12. Mr. Burke revealed that at the end of October, the pope sent a letter thanking Cardinals Pell, Francisco Javier Errazuriz (Chile) and Laurent Monswengo Pasinya (the Democratic Republic of the Congo) for their work in his council of cardinal advisors over the past five years.
Cardinal Pell could decide to hand in his resignation as Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, since it is unlikely that his second trial and an eventual appeal will have taken place by the time his five-year term as prefect expires on Feb. 24. The cardinal, who will be 78 in June, could also resign from his other roles in various Roman Curia departments and offices. Currently, he is a member of the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.
Regardless, Cardinal Pell is not allowed to carry out any pastoral ministry in public until the whole judicial process has ended, and then only if the verdict is in his favor. 

December 4, 2018

"It is better that they leave the priesthood life rather than live a double life," The Pope Said

                    Related image


By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be admitted to the Catholic clergy, and it would be better for priests who are actively gay to leave rather than lead a double life, Pope Francis says in a new book.
While he has previously spoken of the need for better screening of candidates for the religious life, his comments suggesting that priests who cannot keep their vows of celibacy should leave are some of his clearest to date.
Francis made the comments in a book-length interview with Spanish priest Fernando Prado called "The Strength of Vocation", in which he discusses the challenges of being a priest or nun today.
Francis said in the book that homosexuality in the Church "is something that worries me". It is due to be published this week in several languages. An advance copy of the Italian version was made available to Reuters.
"The question of homosexuality is a very serious one," he said, adding that those entrusted with training men to be priests must be certain that candidates are "humanly and emotionally mature" before they can be ordained.
This also applied to women who wanted to enter female religious communities to become nuns. In the Catholic Church, priests, nuns and monks all take vows of celibacy.
The Church teaches that homosexual tendencies are not sinful in themselves, but homosexual acts are.
Francis said there was "no room for this" in the lives of priests and nuns, adding that the Church had to be "demanding" in choosing candidates for what is known as the consecrated life.
"For this reason, the Church urges that persons with this rooted tendency not be accepted into (priestly) ministry or consecrated life," he said.
"BETTER TO LEAVE"
He urged homosexuals who are already priests or nuns to be celibate and responsible to avoid creating scandal. "It is better that they leave the priesthood or the consecrated life rather than live a double life," he said.
The interview was conducted in mid-August. Less than two weeks later, on Aug. 26, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Vatican's former ambassador to the Vatican, threw the Church into turmoil with a bombshell statement against the pope and Vatican officials.
Vigano said a "homosexual network" existed in the Vatican, whose members helped promote each other's careers in the Church.
He also accused the pope of having ignored alleged sexual misconduct with adult male seminarians by former American cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 88.
The Vatican said Vigano's accusations were riddled with "calumny and defamation".
The Catholic Church has been haunted for more than two decades by evidence of thousands of cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy around the world, in countries ranging from the United States to Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Germany and Chile.
In July, McCarrick became the first cardinal to resign in nearly 100 years after U.S. Church officials said allegations made in a separate investigation that he had sexually abused a 16-year-old boy almost 50 years ago were credible and substantiated.
McCarrick has said he had no recollection of the alleged abuse of the minor, but has not commented on the allegations of misconduct with the seminarians, which allegedly took place decades ago.
(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

May 22, 2018

When The Pope Said to A Gay man "God Made You and Loves U As You Are" Indicated A New Level on The Church and Gays



 The Pope Visit to NYC, No Limos for the head of the church

 Pope Francis has reportedly told a gay man that "God made you that way and loves you as you are," apparently pushing the pontiff's acceptance of homosexuality to a new level.
Francis made the comments to Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean victim of priestly sexual abuse who recently spent days with the pope at the Vatican to discuss his ordeal as the pontiff moves to tackle decades of coverups and ostracism of victims in the Chilean church, according to the Spanish newspaper El Pais. Cruz was quoted as having discussed his homosexuality with Francis. "He told me: 'Juan Carlos, I don't care about you being gay.

 God made you that way and loves you as you are and I don't mind. The pope loves you as you are, you have to be happy with who you are.' " 
A spokesman at the Vatican on Sunday declined to confirm or deny Francis' comments, stating, "We don't normally comment on the pope's private conversations." 

In 2013, Francis famously said, "If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with goodwill, who am I to judge?" when asked for his views on homosexuality, signaling a sea change in Catholic views on sexual orientation. 

That year he also told an interviewer, "A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality," adding, "I replied with another question: 'Tell me: When God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?' " 

His reported remarks based on Cruz's account go further, however, by suggesting he believes people are created gay by God — a position likely to anger Catholic conservatives.
"This is a big deal, I cannot remember the pope making a comment about gay people being born that way," said Father James Martin, an American Jesuit priest, whose 2017 book "Building a Bridge" urged greater ties between the church and the LGBTQ community.
"Pope Francis has repeated what all reputable biologists and psychologists say — you don't choose your sexual orientation. And that is a great comfort to many gay and lesbian Catholics who have been told by priests that they have chosen their orientation and are therefore guilty," he said.
The comments do not suggest a change to church teaching, Martin said.
The Catholic Church's catechism currently states the "psychological genesis" of homosexuality "remains largely unexplained."
"Basing itself on sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,' " it states, but adds that gay people "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity" in the church.
Martin stressed that the pope's comments were reported, not announced. "We have to distinguish between something the pope said on the record and a conversation," he said.
Cruz endured sexual abuse as a youth in Chile by prelate Fernando Karadima, who was sentenced by the Vatican in 2011 to a lifetime of penance.
The Vatican did not, however, believe his claim that the abuse was witnessed and covered up by Chilean Bishop Juan Barros. Francis appointed Barros bishop of the town of Osorno in 2015, hugged him publicly during his visit to Chile in January and dismissed accounts by Cruz and other victims as "slander."
But as public fury in Chile grew, Francis in February dispatched an abuse investigator to interview the victims, inviting them to Rome, admitting he had made "serious mistakes."
Summoning Chile's bishops to Rome, he accused them of destroying evidence of abuse and putting pressure on church investigators to downplay accusations.
On Friday, all 33 bishops in Chile offered to resign.
In his interview with El Pais, Cruz said Francis had been told that Cruz was "deranged" by his detractors before the meeting at Casa Santa Marta, the residence used by the pope at the Vatican.
"The pope treated us like kings in Santa Marta and the bishops as children," Cruz was quoted as saying. "It is clear that he believed us."

 



November 22, 2017

The Pope Also Needs to Come Around on Transgenders


For your average person, information and a little science are all it takes to understand what a transgender is and why is so inhuman to discriminate against them.

 Pope Francis in NYC 




Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has caused much ink to be spilled in evaluating his stand on LGBT issues. Now, a gay Catholic offers his latest thoughts after the pope's remarks on gender identity last month, suggesting the pope's record will remain weaker until he comes around to transgender equality.


Xorje Olivares, a gay Catholic writing for Vice, called on Francis to welcome the entire LGBTQ community after the pope decried the "biologic and psychological manipulation of sexual difference" in early October.

Olivares opened his column saying this comment is "yet another example of how Pope Francis has completely missed the mark on displaying full acceptance of his queer flock, including our transgender brothers and sisters." He described the pope's handling of LGBT issues these past few years as "a bundle of contradictions," and wrote further:
"It's that kind of inconsistency that continues to puzzle LGBTQ Catholics, who are still looking for their rightful place within a Church that has discriminated against them for decades. It also begs the question: who is the real Pope Francis, and what are his true feelings towards the LGBTQ community? . . .

"Which is why I, and other LGBTQ Catholics, are conflicted about our approach towards Francis. Are we holding him to an unreasonable standard, given the gulf between the Church he inherited and the incredibly queer-inclusive society [at least here in America] we live in? Or should we continue holding his feet to the fire of Scripture's burning bush in the hopes that it ignites change from the top-down?"

Dawn Ennis, a transgender journalist who is Catholic, told Olivares that while Francis is "appealing to progressive Catholics who are hanging onto our Church by a thread," he's also "adhering to outmoded, outdated, and antiquated dogma that please those on the right by reinforcing transphobic, misogynist and anti-LGBTQ teachings."

For Olivares, who participated in the Owning Our Faith video about LGBT Catholics ( produced by people fro St. Paul the Apostle parish, Manhattan ) that was presented to Pope Francis by the pastor, there are clear positives and negatives in his papacy when it comes to gender and sexuality. But what is unacceptable, and what LGBT Catholics need to be in solidarity against, is the disparaging of any person because of their sexual and/or gender identity. He wrote:

"Like any good politician, [Pope Francis is] navigating the inner workings of the Vatican by trying to please both pro- and anti-LGBTQ elements within the Church all at once.
"But the sad part of that impossible arrangement comes when it prompts him to disparage the lives and existence of trans people ( Catholic or not ), who are just as vital and integral to the LGBTQ community as any other cisgender person. After all, injury to one of us ultimately hurts us all ( even if the LGBTQ movement doesn't always adhere to this mentality ). Yes, Francis can endorse civil unions and claim he's not one to judge, but until he tightly embraces ALL of God's children, including our trans peers, I'd be reluctant to call him 'Advocate of the Year'—at least not yet."

Ennis offered an even stronger critique of the pope's failure to reach out positively towards trans individuals, commenting specifically on the pope's most recent critical remark about gender-affirming surgeries:

"Francis, like all popes before him, is clinging to a doctrine that will burn the bridges we have built between the Church and its laity. Those bridges need reinforcement, and all Francis has done with these new, disturbing pronouncements is weaken them."
The concept of bridge building has been prominent in Catholic circles due to Fr. James Martin, SJ's new book, Building a Bridge, which addresses LGBT issues in the church. In the eyes of many people, the pope is doing precisely that, building a bridge. But Olivares and Ennis are important, critical voices that remind us there is much work to be done. A bridge built without transgender equality as a constitutive part of it will fail.

by Robert Shine, Associate Editor New Ways Ministry
Robert Shine is the associate director of New Ways Ministry and has been with the organization since 2012. The original article, published Nov. 15, is at www.newwaysministry.org/blog .

Windy City Times


July 7, 2017

Pope Francis Wants a Bridge Between Gay Catholics and The Church but The Bishops??May be Not





 Pope Francis Represents changed in an organization that fears it 



On a recent Sunday, a Catholic cardinal in New Jersey welcomed gay and lesbian Catholics to a special Mass at his cathedral in Newark. "I am your brother," Cardinal Joseph Tobin told the congregation, "as a disciple of Jesus."

Weeks later, a Catholic bishop in Illinois instructed priests not to offer Holy Communion or funeral rites to anyone engaged in a same-sex union, unless they had "given some sign of repentance" before their death. Bishop Thomas Paprocki said he has a duty to warn wayward Catholics, with charity, but also "without compromising the truth."

Many of this country's bishops -- who are free, more or less, to follow their own priorities -- linger somewhere between Tobin's welcome and Paprocki's warning. But if the bishops are divided on LGBT issues, there is a greater gulf between church leaders and gay and lesbian Catholics themselves, church experts say. 

 Into that breach steps the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and popular author with a large following on social media. In a new book, called "Building a Bridge," Martin calls on LGBT Catholics and their bishops to begin conversations rooted in mutual respect, compassion and sensitivity.

Those conversations can be difficult in a church that calls homosexual acts "intrinsically disordered," and, in some dioceses, fires employees who have same-sex partners or advocate for LGBT rights. One conservative website called Martin "a wolf in sheep's clothing (or a Roman collar)."

But Martin's book has won endorsements from high places. Three bishops contributed favorable blurbs, including the head of the Vatican's office of Laity, Family and Life, who called it "welcome and much-needed." Martin himself was recently named a consultor to the Vatican's communications team.

Martin spoke to CNN recently about homophobia, why gay priests stay in the closet and what he tells LGBT Catholics who want to leave the church. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What prompted you to write this book?

After the massacre at the gay nightclub in Orlando last year, only a few Catholic bishops expressed their sympathy or reached out to the LGBT community, and even fewer used the words "LGBT" or "gay" in their statements. That was revelatory to me. Even in death, LGBT people are largely invisible in the church.

Why do think so few bishops explicitly mentioned LGBT people after Orlando?

That is a great question. I'm hoping it's not homophobia. I assume it's because for some of them acknowledging the LGBT community is a kind of tacit approval of everything the community says and does, which is certainly not true. And I think there may be a certain amount of fear of the unknown. In my experience, not many bishops know, as friends, LGBT people who are public about their identity or sexuality. That unfamiliarity may lead to a certain amount of fear and suspicion.
One bishop, Robert Lynch in Florida, said that religion is partly to blame for attacks on LGBT people.

He is absolutely right. That doesn't mean that church teaching caused the shooting, but the ways in which religious leaders speak about the LGBT community influences the way the culture at large talks about them. Oftentimes it can give people cover for simply being homophobic, and they can use church teaching as a mask for their homophobia.

Your book doesn't mention much about the church's strong opposition to same-sex marriage, including several bishops' dire responses to the Supreme Court decision legalizing it. Why is that?
For two reasons. First, I'd rather not focus on areas where the LGBT community and the institutional church are still miles apart; I'd prefer to focus on possible areas of common ground. And second, I really didn't want to single out any individual bishops for criticism. But it was mainly the first issue, because they are so far apart on that issue.

You call the firings of gay Catholics by church officials unjust. But aren't they causing "scandal," as the church defines it, by flouting Catholic teaching?

You could make the "scandal" case about a whole raft of people: people who are divorced; people who are divorced and remarried without an annulment; women who have given birth to, or men who have fathered, a child out of wedlock; an unmarried couple who are living together. All these things are very public and we chose not to thunder over them. That, to me, is classic discrimination. Either you require everyone to adhere to church teaching -- on everything, not just sexual morality -- or not. But you don't put one person's life under a moral microscope simply because they are LGBT.
A bishop in Illinois recently said that Catholics in same-sex unions should be denied Holy 

Communion and funeral rites. Is that new?

That is relatively new. And, again, if the church wants to discriminate against LGBT people, it also has to focus on the moral and sexual behavior of straight people. And we should remember that burying the dead is one of the traditional "corporal works of mercy." It's not a punishment. I find statements like that [from the Illinois bishop] to be needlessly cruel.

Is there any theological justification for denying burial rights to a person in a gay marriage?
Any person prepares himself or herself to enter into the sacraments. So before we go to Mass, for example, we are hopefully in a "state of grace" and have gone to Confession. But to single a group out and target them with statements like this is discriminatory. No other group have their lives put under a microscope like this. None. It's like giving a homily at Mass and, rather than talking to all of us, singling out one person in the pew. And this is a group that has already felt marginalized enough. The place where they should feel most at home is often the place where they feel most excluded. And that is not the way that Jesus operated. When Jesus met people who were seen as on the outskirts of society, he welcomed them. The welcome comes first, and we're not doing that if we call people sinners before we even shake their hands.

OK, but what happens after the church welcomes LGBT people? Is there a Part II, when you have honest conversations about church teaching on homosexuality?

I'm just inviting people to take the first steps, and for many LGBT people those conversations can't even happen, because they don't feel like they are even welcome to step foot in a church.
Catholic church changing tone on gays?
 
I'll give you an example. I've been getting a torrent of messages and requests for help through my public Facebook page recently. Probably 50 a day. And I had one from a woman who asked me if I knew a priest in her city, because she worked in a hospice and the priest assigned to the hospice was refusing to anoint a man who was dying — because he was gay. That's the kind of stuff that LGBT people face every day in the church. Another man told me that he decided to go back to church, and it was Easter, and the homily was on same-sex marriage. We tend to speak about the LGBT community only as problems, rather than people.

A number of surveys show that many, if not most Catholics support gay rights, especially young Catholics. 
Do you get the sense that this is a generational thing, and that in 20 or 30 years the church hierarchy won't be talking about or treating LGBT people in the same way?

I don't think the church will ever change its position on same-sex marriage, but there is a sea change happening in their approach to LGBT Catholics in general. You have someone like Cardinal Joseph Tobin of New Jersey who is not advocating changing church teaching but is welcoming LGBT people, listening to them and trying to inculcate what Pope Francis calls a "culture of encounter."
There are two reasons for this shift. One is Pope Francis. His saying "Who am I to judge?" about gay people; his public meeting with Yayo Grassi, his former student who is gay, during his papal visit to the United States; his comments in Amoris Laetitia [a papal document in which he opposes gay marriage but says that gay Catholics should receive "respectful pastoral guidance."] And the bishops who Pope Francis is appointing in the United States are much more LGBT friendly.

The second thing is the increased number of LGBT Catholics who are coming out and making LGBT issues much more important for the church as a whole. At St. Cecilia's Church in Boston recently we had 700 people at a talk, and I stayed afterward signing books for two hours. LGBT people are so hungry for a place in what is, after all, their own church, and they are grateful that someone in a collar would bring this up.

You write that there are hundreds, if not thousands of gay and lesbian Catholic clergy. Why aren't they "out"?

Several reasons. One, their bishops or religious superiors ask them not to come out. Two, they fear reprisals from parishioners. Three, they fear it would be divisive. Four, they are private people. Five, they are not fully aware of their sexuality. And lastly, people have mistakenly conflated homosexuality and pedophilia, and so priests don't want to come out because they fear they'll be labeled a pedophile.

Would it make a difference if more clergy came out?

Of course it would. It would help to show Catholics in the pews what a gay person is like and, incidentally, how gay people can live chastely. The great irony is that these men and women are living out exactly what the church asks of LGBT people -- chastity and celibacy -- and they are not allowed to talk about it. They are doing great work under a strange cloud that should not exist.
It seems the "T" in LGBT raises such different and complex questions for the church. Transgender advocates have taken issue with the Pope, particularly his comments comparing the danger of gender theory to nuclear war.

This phenomenon is the leading edge of reflection on human sexuality, even in our American culture. So it is not surprising that the church is still grappling with this. It is something that people have only been grappling with publicly for about 10 years.

The other night in Boston, a couple came up to me. The husband was transgender, and had become a woman, and the woman had stayed with her spouse. That is, she married someone who was a man and who was now a woman. I was amazed and had a hard time even processing it. I said to the wife, "How are you able to do this?" And she said, "Love is love." I thought, here is a new kind of love, a new kind of fidelity, to consider and ponder, as some sort of expression of God's love for us. The church needs to reflect on that.

What do you say when someone asks, "Father Jim, why should I stay in a church that doesn't welcome me?"

I say: Jesus Christ called you into this church at your baptism, and it is just as much your church as it is the Pope's, the local bishop's and mine. You have just as much right to be in the church as anyone else. Don't let anyone ever push you out of your church.
I'm very clear on that.

Are people surprised to hear that from a priest?

They're sometimes surprised but on reflection they understand it. The other day I was at a baptism in New York and at the end of the baptism the priest lifted the child up and the organ boomed out "Alleluia," and it sent chills down my spine. I thought: This is the most sacred moment in a person's life. This is entrance into the Christian community and it should never be forgotten. That child is in the church now and forever. Straight. Lesbian. Gay. Transgender. Bisexual. And no one should ever seek to kick that person out of the church.

(CNN)


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.

POPE'S DIARY

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".

VATICAN CITY 

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.

GetReligion.org, 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 Quartz.com 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.


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