Pope Francis declares support for same-sex civil unions for the first time as pope
Extract from Michael J. O’Loughlin October, A,erica, The Jesuit Review, 21 October 2020
Gay couples deserve legal protections for their relationships, Pope Francis said in a new documentary. Also in the film, which premiered in Rome on Oct. 21, less than two weeks before the U.S. presidential election, the pope condemns the Trump administration’s child separation policy at the U.S.-Mexico border, which he calls “cruelty of the highest form.” The filmmaker, Evgeny Afineevsky, asked Pope Francis during an interview for the documentary about the place of L.G.B.T. Catholics in the church. Francis reemphasized his belief that L.G.B.T. people should be made to feel welcome in the church.
“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family,” the pope said. “They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable because of it.” But Francis said for the first time as pope that gay couples deserve legal recognition for their relationships. Before he was elected pope, Francis served as archbishop of Buenos Aires, and in that role, he advocated for same-sex civil unions in an attempt to block a same-sex marriage law. Argentina legalized same-sex marriage in 2010, which then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio called a “destructive attack on God’s plan.” But in meetings with other Argentine bishops, Cardinal Bergoglio urged them to support civil unions as a way to keep marriage distinctly heterosexual. Bishops rejected the idea, but an L.G.B.T. activist in Argentina said the cardinal called him to say he personally supported the idea of civil unions. The comments in this new documentary represent his most public declaration of support for same-sex unions since becoming pope.....(More)
Appreciating and discovering hope in Pope Francis' 3rd Encyclical Fratelli Tutti: Seeking the common Good
John Costa, 16 October 2020
When human values around the world become increasingly diluted and polarised both by extreme 'Left wing' and extreme 'Right wing' politics, it's very timely to receive Pope Francis' 3rd encyclical Fratelli Tutti: Seeking the Common Good. For all peoples of the world regardless of beliefs trying to make sense of increasing conflict and confusion and looking for ways to move collectively towards something more morally and humanly based amidst the realities around us this encyclical offers a hopeful way forward. We can immediately start reading Fratelli Tutti as it's very accessible, however a little prior background reading can provide further context and fuller sense of its direction. I can suggest two background papers on the encyclical as a helpful lead-in. The first 'Saving liberalism from itself' is by Jesuit Damian Howard SJ and can be accessed HERE , from Thinking Faith. The Second, 'Pope Francis’s new encyclical On Human Fraternity and Social Friendship' is by Fr Bruce Duncan and can be accessed HERE from Peals & Irritations. Finally the (3rd) Encyclical Fratelli Tutti itself (with Index added) can be accessed HERE. The two prior Encyclicals of Pope Francis are Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith, June 2013), and Laudato si (On Care For Our Common Home, May 2015). The Cardijn Institute and Social Policy Connections invite you to a (free) Zoom Seminar on Fratelli Tutti by Fr Bruce Duncan & Danusia Kaska on Thursday 22 October from 7:30 - 8:30 pm. Details and registration above or HERE
The first virtual Nuns on the Bus tour begins, highlighting voting rights, poverty and pro-life policies
Extract from Dan Stockman, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter Project, 24 September 2020
Saying they could not stay silent, the Nuns on the Bus began their virtual tour of the country Sept. 23 with a range of speakers talking about the need for a government that serves everyone. The online event by Catholic social justice lobby Network featured House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Cory Booker as well as several activists and clergy from various religious denominations. Social Service Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, began the event by noting it was being held in the shadow of more than 200,000 deaths caused by COVID-19 and the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She added that the kickoff also began as President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr were honored at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. "Our politicians are once again attempting to wrangle Catholics with the all-too-flawed, narrow and politically opportunistic view of our faith," Campbell said. "We need to be multi-issue voters in our complex reality."....(more). Photo: Nancy Pelosi virtual 2020 Nuns on Bus kickoff Netwok Screenshot Globa Sisters Report 20200923
Can we save Jesus from the Church?
Consumatum est was reportedly, the last expression of Christ on the Cross— “it is finished”. The same expression could be applied today to the Catholic Church in Australia as we know it. This is a hard truth to accept, and an even greater challenge ”to practise resurrection”. How do we imagine a new Church in Australia for our times? Has the Church become incapable of sensing its own reality? Many books and articles have been written about a future Church. Journalists, scholars, and arm-chair critics have contributed. Much of these contributions has been helpful. However, I suspect that too little attention has been paid to the words of a former teacher of mine: “90% of solving a problem is to be found in properly understanding the problem“. I am not a sociologist, nor an anthropologist, but I wish I were. Even being a novelist would help. At present I am reading a novel in which Faith, in the guise of the Abbess of the convent, is challenged by science, in the guise of a medical examiner. They see the problem, two suspicious deaths , differently. The reader is forced to wonder whether they can understand each other and work together to solve the problem. In one sense, the problems of today’s Church in Australia cannot be solved just by looking inwards. A heart surgeon is as much concerned about the state of the artery, as he or she is concerned about the obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption and lack of exercise, of the patient. The artery and those other aspects of the body have to function together for the heart to be effective. Years ago, the World Council of Churches used to proclaim: “The world sets the agenda for the Church”. In essence, the reason for a church to exist, is to be on mission to its world. If you don’t understand your world, then you definitely will not be able to shape your mission effectively. This is good sociology as well as wise theology.....(more)
One of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was that the Catholic Church in Australia conduct a review of diocesan and parish governance and management. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia accepted that recommendation and the Implementation Advisory Group was tasked with conducting and presenting that review.
The Implementation Advisory Group established the Governance Review Project Team to lead the review. The GRPT presented a version of the report to the Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia in May 2020. That version, which was not the final version, was leaked and published.
That version was subsequently amended, making a number of corrections and clarifications. The final version of the report, entitled The Light from the Southern Cross: Promoting Co-Responsible Governance in the Catholic Church in Australia, was presented to the Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia in mid-August 2020. The report was published online on August 21, 2020, along with an accompanying Reading Guide.
Re: The Next Pope: the Office of Peter and a Church in Mission. George Weigel
Extract from Letter, Rose Marie Crowe, 9 August 2020
George Weigel, in his new book, The Next Pope: the Office of Peter and a Church in Mission, purports to outline the tenor of the next pontificate, effectively dismissing the validity of our present pope, Francis, who, Weigel hints, is hostage to something he labels pejoratively as ‘Catholicism Lite’. Curiously, he proposes as a template the tactics of evangelicals and fundamentalists who maintain “clarity of teaching and strong moral expectations”. In reality, these groups espouse the literal interpretation of the Bible and derive their ethos from the most punitive verses in Scripture, applying them to justify the condemnation of others. Weigel equates truth with doctrine and mercy with the “purification” of those who “acknowledge that they have squandered their human dignity.” Though he cites the parable of the Prodigal Son to support this theory, he misses the central message of the parable: that the Father runs to meet his son, embraces him and celebrates his return without requiring that he debase himself. It is a story of unconditional love—Justice Lite, surely?.........(more)