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New Pope Francis a Veteran at Dealing with Anger Over the Church's Anti-Gay Stance: His Quotes in Context

Yesterday I posted some quotes from Cardinal Jorge Borgoglio, now known as Pope Francis I, related to his thoughts on same-sex marriage and gay adoption.

FrancisThe latter set of quotes, in which Bergoglio called same-sex marriage "the destructive attempt to end God's plan," came from a letter he wrote to a group of nuns that was never supposed to be made public, though when it did, the church drew backlash from Argentina's secular population, Buzzfeed's J. Lester Feder explains in an excellent piece bringing context to these quotes.

After the letter was exposed, and its damage evident, this happened, Feder explains:

When it became clear that stopping the marriage law would be impossible, the church may have tacitly given its backing to a civil union law as a way to head off the marriage bill. Senator Liliana Negre de Alonso, a member of Opus Dei and one of the politicians most closely linked to the Catholic Church, sponsored the civil union bill. (This would be like Rick Santorum having endorsed a civil union law in the United States.) It went nowhere. During the debate, the leader of the majority party reduced her to tears while calling her a "Nazi" for backing legislation that would create a "separate-but-equal" status for same-sex couples.

After that, the church noticeably moderated its tone when fighting social issues. During a debate over changes to the civil code in 2012, which included sensitive reproduction issues like surrogacy and the handling of fertilized eggs, the church tread far more lightly — making their case but avoiding the strong language that cost them support in 2010.

"Today they come with a stance that is much more receptive to another point of view," said the chairman of the committee leading the civil code reforms back in August 2012.

How much this experience has moderated Bergoglio himself remains to be seen. He was replaced as the leader of the Argentine church by Archbishop José María Arancedo, who is known for having a far less belligerent manner than Bergoglio.

We can hope that it has moderated Bergoglio, but, of course, that remains to be seen.

Feder notes that it has given Bergoglio a bit of practice in dealing with certain situations:

Bergoglio understands far better than his predecessor the challenges of opposing the tide in favor of same-sex marriage in countries where the church is embattled on many fronts...If the position of the church itself does not change, Bergoglio — now Pope Francis — may nonetheless have a more grounded sense of how to lead an institution in countries where its policy positions are dividing it from the people it hopes to reach.

We'll see.

In related news on character, David Mixner notes Bergoglio's silence during Argentina's "dirty war" in which "between 15,000 to 30,000 artists, writers, students, intellectuals, trade unionists and even priest were brutally killed, often tortured and their bodies thrown out of airplanes over the ocean."

He writes:

The Catholic Church at the best was silent about the 'missing' and supported the military junta when it was in power and conducting the mass killings from 1976 to 1983. In fact, the church handed over two priests who refused to adhere to the church's support for the military's dirty war and they became among the missing.

What we do know with certainty from that period is that the new Pope remained silent about the killing, torture and dumping.


Chile's Copahue Volcano Ready To Blow Its Top: VIDEO

Copahue

The Copahue Volcano in Southeast Chile is blowing off some steam this holiday season, and Chilean authorities are concerned enough about the temperamental volcano's disposition that they've issued a red alert, though aren't going so far as to order evacuations for the area.

In a statement, Chile's Geological and Mining Service stressed that no mandatory evacuations have been ordered around the remote volcano, which lies about 280 kilometers southeast (175 miles) of Concepcion, though the closest roads to it are in Argentina.

Even though the seismic activity suggests a minor eruption, the agency decided to raise the alert level because it could not rule out a major eruption. The service warned specifically about potentially dangerous mudslides within a 15-kilometer (9.3-mile) radius of the crater.

Alto Biobio, a community about 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of Copahue, is under the heightened alert. The governor and emergency officials in Biobio province met Sunday afternoon to discuss possible scenarios, including establishing a plan in case a mass evacuation is deemed necessary.

Minor eruptions were first detected around the mountain, which last erupted in 2000, on Saturday, and the plume of gas has spread steadily over the past few days, potentially providing the region's residents with a Christmas white with ash instead of snow.

Check out some video of the volcano doing its thing AFTER THE JUMP.

Volcanotrail

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Anti-Gay Ex-Gov. Mark Sanford Gets Engaged

The anti-marriage equality, anti-gay adoption, anti-civil union, pro-constitutional-amendment-defining-marriage-as-the-union-of-one-man-and-one-woman, Republican former governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, is getting married again.

Nm_mark_sanford_110127_mnGov. Sanford proposed to his girlfriend, Maria Belen Chapur, in Argentina on Wednesday. Argentina, please recall, is where Gov. Sanford really was when he disappeared from the governor's office for several days in 2009, after telling a few staffers he was going to "hike the Appalachian trail." He wasn't hiking. He was visiting Ms. Chapur, a commodities broker, with whom he'd been carrying on an affair for at least a year. After the affair became public, Gov. Sanford was nearly impeached, and his wife divorced him.

Gov. Sanford's proposal reportedly came as a surprise to Ms. Chapur, arriving in the middle of lunch at a restaurant called Bella Italia Grill, in Buenos Aires. From The Daily Caller:

... [the] restaurant [is] a favorite of journalists and business executives. Sanford reportedly arrived early and handed the ring in a bag, or pouch, to one of the servers. Sanford then hid himself in the handicapped bathroom for more than an hour before Chapur arrived.

The server approached Chapur and presented her with the pouch, saying that she had won an award for being the hundredth customer of the day. Chapur reportedly opened the pouch and found the ring, and looked confused. Sanford then appeared from his hiding spot and declared his love for her.

... the couple then kissed, cried and promised to love each other forever.


Argentina to Register Gay Couple as Fathers for First Time

Alejandro Nasif Salum, Secretary for International Relations at LGBT rights group Federación Argentina (FALGBT), sent out the following email yesterday:

ArgentinaTomorrow morning, in Buenos Aires, the first inscription of the birth of a baby with two fathers will be done in Argentina. Tobías is a boy who was born a few weeks ago in India after a surrogacy process. He's now arrived to Argentina and both his fathers will be registered with no distinction between the biological one and the other one.

Although Marriage Equality Act states that no difference should be made between children of same or different sex couples, and besides the fact that many birth certificates with two mothers have already been made, it wasn't easy to get to this point as the Civil Registry was at first reluctant to do it, but the work of the Legal Staff of the FALGBT made it possible. I want to recognize my colleagues at that point.

Moreover, a modification to Argentina's Civil Code is being debated in the Congress which would made this kind of registrations standard in all the country. We'll keep you up to date about this process.


Massive Iceberg Flips Near Boat in Argentina: VIDEO

Iceberg

Here's the latest viral iceberg video, in which ecotourists appear remarkably calm while a massive piece of ice swings from under the ocean with potentially boat-eliminating force in Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park. Writes the videographer:

This Iceberg was "calved" by Argentina's Uppsala glacier. While we were passing by it with a catamaran, the huge berg lost a part of itself (look at the right side sinking) and then flipped over with a huge roar. In the process of melting this happens all the time, but it is seldom that it is captured on video WHEN it happens...

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Massive Iceberg Flips Near Boat in Argentina: VIDEO" »


News: Mt. Everest, 50 Cent, Tilda Swinton, Sexy Veggies

SeanAvery 6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi One Million Moms claims their boycott against JC Penney for their use of lesbian entertainer Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson has cost the department store $163 million. But the AP actually credits the store's new pricing system.

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi Hockey player and fashion icon Sean Avery flexes his pecs, and then some, for Terry Richardson.

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi Here's the teaser trailer for Anchorman 2.

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi A sickeningly fit New York man named Zachery has been named sexiest male vegetarian by PeTA. He deserves it.

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi Oh, baby... "Dozens of Roman Catholic dioceses, schools and other institutions sued the Obama administration Monday over a government mandate requiring most employers to provide birth control coverage as part of their employee health plans."

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa insists his country does not abuse human rights, but also says they'll never give up their institutionalized hate of gays. "We made it clear that in our law homosexual activities are criminalized and that any person who commits homosexual activities will be arrested," he said.

Everest6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi Did Marc Anthony get custody of Victoria and David Beckham in his divorce from J. Lo?

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi The New Yorker cartoon caption contest this week deserves your submission.

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi A curious explanation for why gay Virginia judicial nominee Tracy Thorne-Begland was rejected. It "wasn't" the Republican opposition.

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is still uber-popular.

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi Rapper 50 Cent supports gay marriage: “I think everyone should be happy. I think a fool is going to go against same sex marriage at this point... I’m up for it. If everyone else is for it, then hey, to each his own. I don’t have personal feelings towards it because I’m not involved in that lifestyle. I want people to be happy. It makes for everything to be better.”

NYerTED6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt on Cory Booker walking back his critique of the president's campaign's attack on Mitt Romney's past at Bain Capital: "These are his own views in the video. He made absolutely clear that the discussion of Mitt Romney's private sector tenure was legitimate... He released that video of his own volition. We did not ask him to do so."

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi Anyone who doubts Tilda Swinton can transform herself into legendary character Auntie Mame should take a look at this picture.

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi Three climbers are dead and two are missing after a Mount Everest climb went awry.

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi Stephen Colbert inspired an entire generation of college students to start their own super PACs. Democracy in action!

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi The new movie Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean, takes a look at the iconic actor's alleged gay past. "I sometimes suspect the mainstream press still believes queer people were invented in the 1970s, and that before that, everybody was straight and chaste. Well, officially, they might have been -- and studio publicists were tasked with maintaining the facade -- but we know better," says director Matthew Mishory.

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi Sarah Palin recorded a call urging Texas residents to vote for Ted Cruz for U.S. Senate. The call ran in Kansas.

ETaylor6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi The Pan American Health Organization last week came out against so-called "gay cures." "Since homosexuality is not a disorder or a disease, it does not require a cure. There is no medical indication for changing sexual orientation," said PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses Periago.

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin on the Manny Pacquiao controversy: "The gay-marriage mob is guilty — of the very ugly bigotry it claims to abhor. And left-wing media outlets are guilty — of stoking false narratives that shamelessly demonize religion in the name of compassion."

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi Lindsay Lohan has started fittings for her role as Elizabeth Taylor. Think she can pull it off?

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi Singer Nick Jonas took part in New York City's annual AIDS Walk.

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi Buenos Aires' city government just approved same-sex marriages for foreign nationals. Who's down for some Southern Hemisphere nuptials?

6a00d8341c730253ef01676542c07b970b-800wi Dolly and Kenny, because why not?


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