Archive | Theology

Rev. Barber takes us to church

Rev. William J. Barber II at the Democracy Awakening rally at U.S. Capitol

This morning, Joy Reid said what many of us were thinking this week: “After this week’s shooting in a GOP congressional baseball practice left Democrats and Republicans calling for unity, rallying around Congressman Steve Scalise, who still remains in the hospital, in critical condition,” she said. “But despite the current kumbaya, the political divisions are still… Continue Reading →

Living your faith

Happy to see so many Notre Dame grads walk out during Mike Pence’s commencement speech:

Dalai Lama: Don’t pray for Paris, solve it yourself

The Dalai Lama says praying for Paris will do no good, since the problem won’t be solved by prayer or God. “We cannot solve this problem only through prayers,” the spiritual leader said. “I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve… Continue Reading →

Change is gonna come

Prayer Vigil ahead of Synod on the Family with Pope Francis
Much like it is with our own politics, most of what this pope can accomplish is incremental. But he’s headed in the right direction:

Pope Francis, ending a contentious bishops’ meeting on family issues, on Saturday excoriated immovable Church leaders who “bury their heads in the sand” and hide behind rigid doctrine while families suffer.

The pope spoke at the end of a three-week gathering, known as a synod, where the bishops agreed to a qualified opening toward divorcees who have remarried outside the Church but rejected calls for more welcoming language toward homosexuals.

It was the latest in a series of admonitions to bishops by the pontiff, who has stressed since his election in 2013 that the 1.2 billion-member Church should be open to change, side with the poor and rid itself of the pomp and stuffiness that has alienated so many Catholics.

In his final address, the pope appeared to criticize ultra-conservatives, saying Church leaders should confront difficult issues “fearlessly, without burying our heads in the sand.”

He said the synod had “laid bare the closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families”.

He also decried “conspiracy theories” and the “blinkered viewpoints” of some at the gathering, and said the Church could not transmit its message to new generations “at times encrusted in a language which is archaic or simply incomprehensible”.

The outcome of the gathering, over which the pope presided, marked a victory for conservatives on homosexual issues and for progressives on the thorny issue of remarriage.

The final synod document restated Church teachings that gays should not suffer discrimination in society, but also repeated the stand that there was “no foundation whatsoever” for same-sex marriage, which “could not even remotely” be compared to heterosexual unions.

The 94-article document indicated that the assembly had decided to avoid overtly controversial language and seek consensus in order to avoid deadlock on the most sensitive topics, leaving it up to the pope to deal with the details.

The synod is an advisory body that does not have the power to alter church doctrine. The pope, who is the final arbiter on any change and who has called for a more merciful and inclusive Church, can use the material to write his own document, known as an “apostolic exhortation”.

Just so we’re clear

Krzystof Charamsa

This priest wasn’t fired for being gay. He was fired for publicly and blithely ignoring his vows of celibacy, and announcing it at a press conference designed to cause maximum PR problems for the pope:

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican on Saturday dismissed a Polish priest from his Holy See job after he came out as gay and called for changes in Catholic teachings against homosexual activity on the eve of a major Church meeting on the family.

Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, a theologian, had worked at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s doctrinal arm, since 2003, and taught theology at pontifical universities in Rome, which have also dismissed him.

Charamsa, 43, told Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper and Polish media that he was gay and had a partner. The Church teaches that homosexuality is not a sin but homosexual activity is, and priests, whether heterosexual or gay, take vows of celibacy.

Charasma followed up his media interviews with a packed news conference with his partner and gay activists at a Rome restaurant. They had planned a demonstration in front of the Vatican but changed the venue several hours before it was due to have started.

Women as Roman Catholic priests? Opinions are divided, and fiery

If I had a chance to talk to Pope Frank, I would say, “If women can’t be priests because all the apostles were men, well, they were all Jewish, too. So shouldn’t priests have to be Jewish?

PHILADELPHIA — The passing crowd’s responses to the banner outside the World Meeting of Families and the women in priest’s collars holding it ranged from revulsion and anger to confusion and praise. “Amen!” a middle-aged woman cried, nodding her head and smiling, while another said, “Maybe in heaven, but not here.” “That’s just wrong!” another woman… Continue Reading →

Pope Frank: If you don’t use property for religious purposes, pay your taxes

Pope Francis

Way to lay it out there, Pope Frank!

ROME — On the eve of a trip to the United States, Pope Francis has called himself a “son of immigrants” and confirmed the point by issuing a blunt warning to any religious orders in Europe that spurn his recent call to open their doors to refugees because they want to make money off their properties instead.

Go ahead, the pope said, but be ready to pay taxes just like everybody else.

“Some religious orders say ‘No, now that the convent is empty we are going to make a hotel and we can have guests, and support ourselves that way, or make money,’” the pontiff said.

“Well, if that is what you want to do, then pay taxes! A religious school is tax-exempt because it is religious, but if it is functioning as a hotel, then it should pay taxes just like its neighbor. Otherwise it is not fair business.”

Renting space to help with operating expenses is a common practice among religious orders in Europe. For example, in Rome, a pensione operated by an order of nuns just outside St. Peter’s Square offers a room, breakfast, and Mass at 7 a.m. each day for $90 a night. They also rent their rooftop to CBS during major papal events.

The pope also announced that the two refugee families he plans to take in at the Vatican have been identified, and that they will remain “as long as the Lord wants.”

His comments came in an interview with veteran Catholic journalist Aura Miguel of Portugal’s Radio Renascença.

In the interview, Francis once again blasted what he called “a bad and unjust socioeconomic system” in the early 21st century that he faults for Europe’s current refugee crisis.

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