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Pope Francis Endorses Same-sex Civil Unions, Says They Have Rights To Be In A Family|The Republican News

Pope Francis

Pope Francis endorsed same-sex civil unions for the first time as pontiff while being interviewed for the feature-length documentary “Francesco,” which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival. The papal thumbs-up came midway through the film that delves into issues Francis cares about most, including the environment, poverty, migration, racial and income inequality and the people most affected by discrimination.

“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,” Francis said in one of his sit-down interviews for the film. “You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”

While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. However, he had never come out publicly in favor of civil unions as pope.

The Jesuit priest who has been at the forefront in seeking to build bridges with gay people in the church, the Rev. James Martin, praised the pope’s comments as “a major step forward in the church’s support for LGBT people.”

“The Pope’s speaking positively about civil unions also sends a strong message to places where the church has opposed such laws,” Martin said in a statement.

Catholic Church teaching holds that gay people must be treated with dignity and respect but that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.” A 2003 document from the Vatican’s doctrine office stated that the church’s respect for gay people “cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.” That document was signed by the then-prefect of the office, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI and Francis’ predecessor.

Patrick Hornbeck, a professor of theology at Fordham University, said on CBSN that he didn’t expect to see church teaching change anytime soon because of Francis’ endorsement of civil unions.

“What the pope has done today in these comments is he’s given a permission slip to Catholics and to Catholic leaders who want to take that extra step, who want to be pastoral, as he’s been, in affirming LGBT people and their families and their loves, and that’s no small thing,” Hornbeck said. “We have to remember that there are places all around the world where to be gay is to be thrown out of your family, where it’s to be beaten, where to be trans is to take your life in your hands, and so the pope’s statements, I think, will have an important effect and need to be celebrated that way.”

One of the main characters in the documentary is Juan Carlos Cruz, the Chilean survivor of clergy sexual abuse whom Francis initially discredited during a 2018 visit to Chile.

Cruz, who is gay, said that during his first meetings with the pope in May 2018 after they patched things up, Francis assured him that God made Cruz gay. Cruz tells his own story in snippets throughout the film, chronicling both Francis’ evolution on understanding sexual abuse as well as to document the pope’s views on gay people.

Director Evgeny Afineevsky had remarkable access to cardinals, the Vatican television archives and the pope himself. He said he negotiated his way in through persistence and deliveries of Argentine mate tea and Alfajores cookies that he got to the pope via some well-connected Argentines in Rome.

“Listen, when you are in the Vatican, the only way to achieve something is to break the rule and then to say, ‘I’m sorry,'” Afineevsky said in an interview ahead of the premiere.

The director worked official and unofficial channels starting in early 2018 and ended up so close to Francis by the end of the project that he showed the pope the movie on his iPad in August. The two recently exchanged Yom Kippur greetings; Afineevsky is a Russian-born Jew now based in Los Angeles. On Wednesday, Afineevsky’s 48th birthday, the director said Francis presented him with a birthday cake during a private meeting at the Vatican.

But “Francesco” is more than a biopic about the pope.

Wim Wenders did that in the 2018 film “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. “Francesco,” is more a visual survey of the world’s crises and tragedies, with audio from the pope providing possible ways to solve them.

Afineevsky, who was nominated for an Oscar for his 2015 documentary “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” traveled the world to film his pope movie: The settings include Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh where Myanmar’s Rohingya sought refuge; the U.S.-Mexico border; and Francis’ native Argentina.

“The film tells the story of the pope by reversing the cameras,” said Vatican communications director Paolo Ruffini, who was one of Afineevsky’s closest Vatican-based collaborators on the film.

Ruffini said that when Afineevsky first approached him about a documentary, he tried to tamp down his hopes for interviewing the pope. “I told him it wasn’t going to be easy,” he said.

But Ruffini gave him some advice: names of people who had been impacted by the pope, even after just a brief meeting. Afineevsky found them: the refugees Francis met with on some of his foreign trips, prisoners he blessed, and some of the gay people to whom he has ministered.

“I told him that many of those encounters had certainly been filmed by the Vatican cameras, and that there he would find a veritable gold mine of stories that told a story,” Ruffini said. “He would be able to tell story of the pope through the eyes of all and not just his own.”

Francis’ outreach to gay people dates to his first foreign trip in 2013, when he uttered the now-famous words “Who am I to judge,” when asked during an airborne news conference returning home from Rio de Janeiro about a purportedly gay priest.

Since then, he has ministered to gay people and transsexual prostitutes and welcomed people in gay partnerships into his inner circle. One of them was his former student, Yayo Grassi, who along with his partner visited Francis at the Vatican’s Washington, D.C., embassy during the pope’s 2015 visit to the U.S.

The Vatican publicized that encounter, making video and photos of it available, after Francis was ambushed during that same visit by his then-ambassador, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who invited the anti-same-sex marriage activist Kim Davis to meet with the pope.

News of the Davis audience made headlines at the time and was viewed by conservatives as a papal stamp of approval for Davis, who was jailed for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. The Vatican, however, vigorously sought to downplay it, with the Vatican spokesman saying the meeting by no means indicated Francis’ support for her or her position on same-sex marriage.

However, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was fervently opposed to same-sex marriage when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires. Then, he launched what gay activists remember as a “war of God” against Argentina’s move to approve same-sex marriage.

The pope’s authorized biographer, Sergio Rubin, said at the time of his 2013 election that Bergoglio was politically wise enough to know the church couldn’t win a straight-on fight against same-sex marriage. Instead, Rubin said, Bergoglio urged his fellow bishops to lobby for same-sex civil unions instead.

It wasn’t until Bergoglio’s proposal was shot down by the conservative bishops’ conference that Bergoglio publicly declared his opposition, and the church lost the issue altogether.

Francis, in the new documentary, confirms Rubin’s account of what transpired. Of his belief in the need for legislation to protect gay people living in civil relationships, he said: “I stood up for that.”

Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, an organization of LGBT Catholics, praised Francis’ comments as a “historic” shift for a church that has long been seen as persecuting gay people.

“At the same time, we urge Pope Francis to apply the same kind of reasoning to recognize and bless these same unions of love and support within the Catholic Church, too,” he said in a statement.

However, more conservative commentators sought to play down Francis’ words and said that while secular civil unions are one thing, a church blessing of them is quite another.

In a tweet, conservative U.S. author and commentator Ryan Anderson noted that he and some of his colleagues had gone on record a decade ago saying they would support federal civil unions for any two adults who commit to sharing domestic responsibilities. Such an arrangement, Anderson said, would leave churches the option of refusing to recognize these unions as marriage.

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Police Arrest Murderers Of Enugu Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Offu, After Protest By Catholic Priests

Rev. Fr. Paul Offu

The police in Enugu state has on Saturday arrested suspected killers of Enugu State Catholic priest, Rev Fr Paul Offu

The state Commissioner of Police, Sulieman Balarabe, disclosed this on Saturday, but refusing to disclose the number of suspects arrested.

Offu was killed along Ihe-Agbudu Road in Awgu Local Government Area of the state on Thursday night.

His killing came barely five months after Rev Fr Clement Ugwu, the parish priest of St Mark Catholic Church, Obinofia Ndiuno in Ezeagu Local Government Area of the state was killed.

The recent Offu’s killing on Friday sparked a protest by Enugu Dioceses priests, who marched to the office of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, demanding justice.

Before his death, Offu was serving at St. James Greater Parish Catholic Church, Ugbawka, Enugu State. (Journalist101)

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Sex Orgies, Prostitution, Porn Allegations Shake Catholic Church In Italy

Josephine McKenna

ROME (RNS) — Lurid accusations of priests involved in sex orgies, porn videos and prostitution have emerged from several parishes in Italy recently, sending shock waves all the way to the Vatican and challenging the high standards Pope Francis demands of clergy.In the southern city of Naples, for example, a priest was recently suspended from the parish of Santa Maria degli Angeli over claims he held gay orgies and used Internet sites to recruit potential partners whom he paid for sex.The allegations concerning the Rev. Mario D’Orlando were brought to the attention of the diocese when an anonymous letter was sent to a Naples bishop. D’Orlando denied the charges when he was summoned by the city’s archbishop, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, but is now facing a formal inquiry conducted by local church officials.

In the northern city of Padua, a 48-year-old priest, the Rev. Andrea Contin, is facing defrocking as well as judicial proceedings amid accusations he had up to 30 lovers, some of whom he took to a swingers’ resort in France.

Contin was removed from his parish of San Lazzaro after three women came forward with complaints against him in December. Bishop Claudio Cipolla of Padua cut short a visit to Latin America to deal with the scandal.

“I am incredulous and pained by the accusations,” Cipolla said at a news conference last month. “This is unacceptable behavior for a priest, a Christian and even for a man.”

One woman, who claims to have been Contin’s lover for more than three years, claimed the priest carried sex toys and bondage equipment, prostituted his lovers on wife-swapping websites and also invited other priests from the area to sex parties.

“Even if, at the end of this affair, there are no legal consequences, we have a duty by canon law to take disciplinary action,” said Cipolla.

Pope Francis sits on a bus as the Bernini colonnade is reflected on the windscreen, at the Vatican, Sunday March 5, 2017.© AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia Pope Francis sits on a bus as the Bernini colonnade is reflected on the windscreen, at the Vatican, Sunday March 5, 2017.

He also revealed Pope Francis telephoned him personally at the end of January to offer his support and urge him to stay “strong.”

Since his election the pope has taken a tough line on ethical behavior in the church, though he has also recognized the reality of human imperfection and personal flaws.

In recent weeks the pontiff has spoken out many times against “temptation,” and last week he told a gathering of clergy at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome that faith could not progress without the challenge of temptation.

“Temptation is always present in our lives. Moreover, without temptation you cannot progress in faith,” he said.

Alberto Melloni, professor of church history at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, said there is nothing unusual about scandals in the priesthood.

“There is no sin that a cleric doesn’t commit. Scandals to me seem quite normal,” he said.

“And I think the illusion of stopping scandals through better selection of personnel is not very promising and has not yielded great results. ”

Francis has frequently called for a more rigorous screening process for seminarians, and he has taken direct action when scandals erupt in Italy.

A case in point: When reports of “playboy priests” surfaced in the Italian diocese of Albenga-Imperia in the northern region of Liguria in late 2014, the pope sent a special envoy to investigate claims that clerics had posted nude photos of themselves on gay websites, sexually harassed the faithful and stole church funds.

Two years later the pope replaced the leader of the diocese, Bishop Mario Oliveri.

Austen Ivereigh, commentator and author of The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, said the pope distinguished between sinfulness and corruption and was intent on “rooting out” corruption inside the church.

“The remedy for those who succumb to temptation is forgiveness and a fresh start,” Ivereigh said. “The problem is when priests turn their backs on the people, lead hidden lives and end up justifying their conduct. That’s corruption.

“And it’s only possible in the priesthood because of clericalism. That’s why the pope is so intent on rooting it out.”                                 (USA Today)

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