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Is Pope Francis Sending Ambiguous Messages About Marriage And Family?

PopePope Francis kicked off the Vatican's "traditional marriage" summit this week with a discussion on the state of marriage and the family in today's world - with some potentially mixed messages. In Francis' address, “The Complementarity of Man and Woman in Marriage,” he reinforces the idea of marriage and family, but it seems he might also be ambiguously referring to gay couples in several passages throughout the commentary, or at least one could deduce that he is from particular words used.

The basis of the address is based on the term "Complementarity," which means "situations where one of two things adds to, completes, or fulfills a lack in the other.” However, Francis puts the word in a Christian context.

He says:

"Christians find its deepest meaning in the first Letter to the Corinthians where Saint Paul tells us that the Spirit has endowed each of us with different gifts so that-just as the human body's members work together for the good of the whole-everyone's gifts can work together for the benefit of each (cf. 1 Cor. 12)."

Francis explains that the complementarity between women and men is the root of marriage and family, but the only other explicit mention of specific pairings between men and women doesn't occur until the very end of the address. Francis also seems to challenge traditional gender roles and recognize the suffering of women.

He continues:

"When we speak of complementarity between man and woman in this context, let us not confuse that term with the simplistic idea that all the roles and relations of the two sexes are fixed in a single, static pattern.

"Evidence is mounting that the decline of the marriage culture is associated with increased poverty and a host of other social ills, disproportionately affecting women, children and the elderly. It is always they who suffer the most in this crisis."

It's unclear what social ills Francis is referring to but with his support for civil unions and taking responsibility for sexual abuse scandals within the church, Francis' views on LGBT people and the church makes him the most progressive, socially responsible pope to take office thus far. The most telling passage of Francis' commentary is the discussion of future generations and the trappings of ideological concepts.

He says:

"It is important that they do not give themselves over to the poisonous mentality of the temporary, but rather be revolutionaries with the courage to seek true and lasting love, going against the common pattern: this must be done. With regard to this I want to say one thing: Let us not fall into the trap of being qualified by ideological concepts.

"Family is an anthropological fact - a socially and culturally related fact. We cannot qualify it with concepts of an ideological nature, that are relevant only in a single moment of history, and then pass by. We can't speak today of a conservative notion of family or a progressive notion of family: Family is family! It can't be qualified by ideological notions. Family has a strength of its own (per se)."

However, Francis ends his address with a reinforcement about marriage between men and women as a natural, unique and fundamental good, and it's unclear whether the statement about ideological trappings means Francis is willing to think beyond religious dogma, is just a simple contradiction on his behalf or an attempt to find a delicate balance between traditional ideological teachings and empathy toward the plights of LGBT people. Additionally, the fact that he invited hate leader Tony Perkins to the summit seems damaging to both his and the summit's credibility. 


Anti-Gay Hate Leader Tony Perkins Attends Catholic Conference On 'Traditional Marriage' - VIDEO

Tony Perkins, the president of anti-gay listed hate group Family Research Council (FRC), is to take part in a Catholic church summit on “traditional marriage” this week, reports Right Wing Watch.

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The conference comes just weeks after a meeting of Catholic bishops failed to provide clarity on the church's stance on homosexuality.

Due to start today, the "Complementarity of Man and Woman” conference - hosted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Inquisition - will include leaders from various other faiths including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism.

Organizers aim to "examine and propose anew the beauty of the relationship between the man and the woman, in order to support and reinvigorate marriage and family life for the flourishing of human society.”

Although not listed as a speaker, Perkins plans to attend the conference in Rome and expects the Catholic Church to provide “clarity” to the confusion coming out of the recent synod in relation to same-sex marriage.

Ensuring that the U.S. "export of hate" continues, Southern Baptist Convention’s Russell Moore and pastor Rick Warren are also listed as conference attendees. 

Continuing the church’s Christian message of inclusiveness and love, the conference will also include Nicholas Okoh, the Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria who has strongly voiced support for the country's severe anti-gay law.

Despite claims by some that Francis is a reforming pope with a somewhat liberal agenda, he will nonetheless address the conference and preside over its first morning session today.

Watch an official trailer for the conference, which pointedly entirely fails to recognize the existence of same-sex marriage, AFTER THE JUMP...

Last June, speaking about the Colorado bakery that was repeatedly found to have discriminated against gay customers, offensive wingnut Perkins suggested that such cases are one step further down the road to the inevitable anti-Christian Holocaust.

Continue reading "Anti-Gay Hate Leader Tony Perkins Attends Catholic Conference On 'Traditional Marriage' - VIDEO" »


Pope Francis Demotes Anti-gay U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke: VIDEO

Burke

As anticipated, Pope Francis has removed anti-gay U.S. cardinal Raymond Burke from his position as head of the Vatican's "Supreme Court."

Burke has been a vocal supporter of keeping social issues a primary focus of the Catholic Church, going so far as to say that discrimination against LGBT people is "perfectly just and good."

TIME reports:

The pontiff removed Cardinal Raymond Burke as the leader of the Vatican’s highest court and appointed him to a ceremonial position as chaplain of the Knights of Malta, a charity group, according to a press bulletin issued Saturday.

That is a significant demotion, according to the National Catholic Reporter. “The position of Patron of the the Order of Malta is usually given to a retired cardinal, or as a second task to an active cardinal,” Michael Sean Winters writes. “It has almost no responsibilities.”

The Associated Press adds:

Francis has said that church hierarchy should not focus so much on abortion and same-sex marriage but instead concentrate on making the church a more welcoming place. Meanwhile, Burke has said to a Catholic broadcaster that "we can never talk enough" against abortion and same-sex marriage.

He has also questioned Francis' denunciation of excesses of capitalism.

Watch Burke explain why it's "perfectly good and just" to discriminate against gay people, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Pope Francis Demotes Anti-gay U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke: VIDEO" »


Gay People, Pope Francis Will Win By Losing Catholic Church Battle For LGBT Inclusion - VIDEO

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6f551d6970b-250wiWriting for the Washington Post, Jonathan Capehart has argued that although conservative bishops may have won a battle last week when they voted against language that spoke of “welcoming homosexual persons” into the Catholic church, they have not won the bigger battle with Pope Francis.

Following protests from conservative bishops, the Vatican last week backtracked on reports that it had planned to be “welcoming to homosexual persons.”

However, according to Capehart, although headlines called it a “setback,” “the pope let the genie out of the bottle. And, as we all know, it’s difficult to put him back in once released.”

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb079d3a5e970d-800wiHe continues:

“What the synod did at the outset on paper, Pope Francis has been doing since ascending to the papacy. He’s been talking about gays and lesbians in the Catholic Church with an unheard-of humanity and care.

“I found it interesting that Francis insisted not only on publicizing the vote tallies for each paragraph, but also which paragraphs failed to pass. The pope said he was doing it for transparency. And that’s great. The added benefit to such openness is the signal it sends the entire church. If the pope and the bishops can engage in a rational and respectful discussion about same-sex relationships, so can the rest of the flock. That’s the genie that is out of the bottle.

“As Francis said [on October 19th] during his homily, ‘God is not afraid of new things! That is why he is continually surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways.’ By the time the bishops reconvene next October to finalize the synod document, we might be looking at a very different outcome.

“I’m not saying the church or the pope will become a champion of LGBT rights. And I’m definitely not saying they are going to support marriage equality. What I am saying is that by talking about the humanity of gay and lesbian Catholics and worrying about their place in the church, Pope Francis is openly recognizing them as children of God. After centuries of demonization, that’s a revolutionary act that can’t be undone.”

Watch a CBS report on the failure of the synod to adopt pro-gay language, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay People, Pope Francis Will Win By Losing Catholic Church Battle For LGBT Inclusion - VIDEO" »


Vatican Scraps Pro-Gay Language from Synod Document

A dramatic shift in tone from the Vatican regarding gay people that was evident in the draft of a document produced by Catholic leaders at its synod on the family has been scrapped and all evidence of it removed by conservatives in the Church, the Guardian reports:

VaticanIn the final report of an extraordinary synod on the family which has exposed deep divides in church hierarchy, there is no mention – as there had been in a draft version – of the “gifts and qualities” gay people can offer.

Nor is there any recognition of the “precious support” gay partners can give each other.

A paragraph entitled “pastoral attention to people of homosexual orientation” – itself a distinctly cooler tone than “welcoming homosexual persons” – refers to church teaching, saying there can be “not even a remote” comparison between gay unions and heterosexual marriage.

“Nevertheless,” it adds, “men and women of homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and sensitivity.” They should not suffer from discrimination, it adds.

But the shift in tone is clear. And even this watered-down passage failed to pass the two-thirds majority needed for it to be approved.

The other two paragraphs that failed to pass majority dealt with people who had divorced and remarried and whether they should be allowed to take communion.

The pro-gay text's rejection began shortly after the draft was released to the public. NYC Cardinal Timothy Dolan was among those who suggested the document needed "major reworking".


Pope Francis Demotes Anti-gay Conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke

Burke

Raymond Burke, the conservative American cardinal who in the past has said discrimination against LGBT people is "perfectly just and good," has been removed from his position as head of the Vatican's 'Supreme Court' by Pope Francis, Buzzfeed reports:

“I very much have enjoyed and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it,” Burke said, explaining that he hadn’t yet received a formal notice of transfer. “On the other hand, in the church as priests, we always have to be ready to accept whatever assignment we’re given. And so I trust by accepting this assignment I trust that God will bless me, and that’s what’s in the end most important.”

Burke, who has now been placed in the largely ceremonial role as head of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, also spoke out against the on-going "family synod" of Catholic bishops, saying the meeting seems to have been designed to "weaken the church's teaching and practice."

“The pope, more than anyone else as the pastor of the universal church, is bound to serve the truth,” Burke said. “The pope is not free to change the church’s teachings with regard to the immorality of homosexual acts or the insolubility of marriage or any other doctrine of the faith.”

Earlier today, we reported the Vatican had caved to conservative backlash to reports the church was planning on becoming "welcoming to homosexual persons" - revising the English-translation of the report to now say "providing for homosexual persons."

Head over to Buzzfeed HERE for the full account of the behind-the-scenes scuffle between conservatives and reformers within the Catholic hierarchy. 


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