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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Just In: Theresa May Calls For Same-Sex Marriage In Nigeria, Commonwealth Countries


President Muhammadu Buhari with British Prime Minister, Theresa May

British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has called for same-sex marriages in Nigeria and all other countries within the Commonwealth.

While speaking at the first joint forum at Commonwealth Head of Government Meetings, in Westminster, on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said there should be no laws criminalising same-sex relationships across the Commonwealth.

She said she understood that most of the laws against same-sex marriages in the Commonwealth nations were made by the UK, adding that ‘those laws were wrong then, and are wrong now’.   (The Sun)

Details later…

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SAME SEX ISSUE: Why Obama worked with APC, Buhari to destory Nigeria


Excerpts from chapter one of Facts Versus Fiction: (The True Story of Jonathan Years, Chibok, 2015 and The Conspiracies)

Culled from Goodluck Jonathan

This is not the full chapter. It is an excerpt. It will be continued tomorrow and on subsequent days until the chapter is concluded. Facts Versus Fiction: (The True Story of Jonathan Years, Chibok, 2015 and The Conspiracies) by Reno Omokri will be released on the second week of July 2017.


The recent revelations from Segun Adeniyi’s book, Against the Run of Play: How an incumbent president was defeated in Nigeria, have promoted reactions and counter reactions to some of the more astounding accounts detailed in that book.

Former President Jonathan in his interview with Segun Adeniyi, gave some detail of a conspiracy to remove him from office due to patriotic policies and actions he undertook which might have set him at variance with foreign powers.

Amongst other things, Adeniyi quotes Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as saying “I got on very well with Prime Minister David Cameron but at some point, I noticed that the Americans were putting pressure on him and he had to join them against me. But I didn’t know how far President Obama was prepared to go to remove me until France caved into the pressure from America.”

Since these revelations came to light, a former Governor of Niger state, Mr. Babangida Aliyu has also been quoted making comments in Segun Adeniyi’s book that corroborate the statements by Dr. Jonathan.

According to Mr. Aliyu, the Obama administration had invited twelve governors from Northern Nigeria to sound them out on their commitment to the plot to unseat Dr. Jonathan.

Mr. Aliyu is quoted in Segun Adeniyi’s book as saying “I have no proof of course, but I think the idea was to ascertain what the disposition of the north would be to the idea of another term for President Jonathan. That was my reading of the situation. I believe it was all about the 2015 election for which the Americans had resolved not to support Jonathan. They just wanted to size us up for the level of commitment to regime change.”

Mr. Aliyu was referring to a series of meetings that twelve Northern governors had in the U.S. in March 2014.

Why did the Obama administration organize those meetings? What occurred at those meetings? Who said what, where, when and why? The answer to those questions will help throw light on whether or not there was a conspiracy by the Obama administration (not the United States) to remove then President Jonathan from office.

I tracked down Mr. Matthew T. Page who until his resignation in 2016 was the U.S. State Department’s top intelligence analyst on Nigeria. Matthew Page also served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Africa with the National Intelligence Council. He sat in on each of the meetings the twelve Northern Nigerian governors attended, beginning from their meetings at the United States Institute for Peace and thereafter their meetings at the State Department.

In 2016, Mr. Page left the State Department and moved to Cambridge in the United Kingdom from where he spoke to me. He was adamant that Mr. Babangida Aliyu’s version of the events at those meetings where not accurate and was keen to set the records straight.

According to Mr. Page, the meetings were attended by twelve Northern governors of whom the most vocal was the then governor of Adamawa state, Admiral Murtala Nyako. Others at the meetings who voiced anti Jonathan sentiments were then Kano governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Aliyu Wammako of Sokoto and Kashim Shettima of Borno. The then governors of Kwara and Kogi were in attendance but were non-committal.

Mr. Page noted that the meetings at the United States Institute for Peace were innocuous but that when the governors proceeded to the closed-door sessions at the US State Department, things changed.

According to Mr. Page, present at the State Department meetings were Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield who was then the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs. Also present at the meeting was the then number three man at the State Department, Ambassador Thomas Alfred “Tom” Shannon Jr., acting Deputy Secretary of State of the United States and the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

At that meeting, Admiral Murtala Nyako read out a memo he had written itemizing the case against Jonathan. He was so openly and almost violently against the Jonathan administration in his speech that he had to be openly rebuked at the meeting by the then Nigerian ambassador to the US, Ambassador Adebowale Adefuye of blessed memory.

Admiral Nyako’s belligerence against the Jonathan administration was so venomous that it prompted a rebuttal from the Gombe state governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, who showed loyalty to the then Nigerian President. According to Mr. Page, this prompted most of the other Northern governors present to turn on him.

In my interview with him, Mr. Page revealed to me that after the anti Jonathan tirades by these governors, they were shepherded to the White House on March 18, 2014 for more meetings. Even though Mr. Page attended the reception at the White House for the Northern governors, he did not make me privy to who were at that particular meeting other than stating that the governors met with then National Security Adviser, Susan Rice. Ms. Rice is however a known Nigerian specialist and was the person who on July 7, 1998, allegedly made the tea that the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 Nigerian Presidential election, chief MKO Abiola, drank minutes before passing away after reportedly foaming at the mouth.

After the meeting, the Obama White House released a statement which said, amongst other things;

“Rice and the governors discussed the need to bring an end to the violence and insurgency in northern Nigeria; create broad-based economic opportunity in the north and throughout Nigeria; protect and respect human rights; strengthen democratic governance; and ensure that the 2015 election in Nigeria are free and fair.”

What the White House statement did not say, but which I verified from other sources, was that at that meeting, Admiral Nyako accused then President Jonathan of being behind Boko Haram, the Islamic terrorist group that is behind the insurgency in Nigeria’s Northeast (the same accusation was publicly made by Nasir El-rufai in 2014. El-rufai was one of a handful of All Progressive Congress party officials that related directly with David Axelrod’s firm as AKPD Message and Media prepared the APC for the 2015 elections).

One question arises though. When sub national officials from a nation that is friendly to the United States espouse comments that undermine the President of that friendly nation, why would such persons be honored with very high level meetings that stretched from the State Department to the White House?

When I asked Mr. Page if he thought that the Obama administration was opposed to the re-election of the then Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, he paused and said “my objective opinion is that it was not as if the administration was against Jonathan. There were a few issues. The Obama administration was a bit disappointed (I know that sounds paternalistic) but there were some issues they felt let down on, and you have to remember that the Obama administration supported the transfer of power to Jonathan in 2010. The issues were the human rights situation in the Northeast which has still not changed under Buhari and Diezani Alison-Madueke who they felt should have been removed. Washington also took issue with some clauses in the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2013, even though they understood that Nigerian cultural values were more conservative on the issue than American ones”.

Mr. Page continuing said “the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria at the time was actually anti-Buhari, believing he failed to call his followers to order during the post-election violence of 2011.”

Although he listed three reasons why the Obama administration felt let down on by Dr. Jonathan, my conversation with Mr. Page gave me a sense that the first two reasons were just excuses and that the main reason was because of the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2013.

That issue was a deal breaker for the Obama administration because of the strong support they had from the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender) community for Mr Obama’s re-election campaign of 2012.

Per the New York Times, the gay vote was “crucial” to Obama’s re-election, whereas to CNN, the LGBT community not only made the difference in 2012 by trooping out to vote for Obama, they were also his top donors.

In Tracy Baim’s book, Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage, she details the influence that the former American President wields with the LGBT community. Very few voting blocs have the get out the vote power that the LGBT community has, being that they are great at organizing for the purpose of advancing their agenda.  (Oblong media)

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