Pope Francis Hub

Pope Francis Accepts Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien's Resignation Following Gay Relationship Scandal

Former Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the anti-gay crusader who stepped down in 2013 after being accused of "inappropriate acts" with other priests, and later admitted having a long-term relationship with one of the priests whose accusations led to him getting sacked, will play no further public church role, the Vatican confirmed today.

The Guardian reports:

O'brienO’Brien will retain his title, but he will be reduced to a strictly private life. The resignation followed the decision by the pope to send a personal envoy, archbishop Charles Scicluna, to Scotland last year to investigate the allegations.

Francis reached his decision based on the inquiry. Its contents are fully known only to the pontiff and Scicluna. O’Brien’s decision followed a private discussion with the pope.

“I wish to repeat the apology which I made to the Catholic church and the people of Scotland some two years ago now on 3 March 2013,” O’Brien said in a statement. “I then said that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me. For that I am deeply sorry.

“I thank Pope Francis for his fatherly care of me and of those I have offended in any way. I will continue to play no part in the public life of the Church in Scotland; and will dedicate the rest of my life in retirement, praying especially for the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, for Scotland, and for those I have offended in any way.”

The BBC has more on how the scandal went down here

Pope Francis Hints At Early Retirement: 'I Have a Feeling That My Pontificate Will Be Brief'

Pope Francis has indicated he may not be head of the Catholic Church for much longer, UK's Independent reports:

PopeSpeaking in an interview with Mexican network Televisa, marking the second anniversary of his election, he said: “I have a feeling that my pontificate will be brief. Four of five years; I do not know, even two or three.

“I feel that the Lord has placed me here for a short time, and nothing more.”

Referring to Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to become the first pope to step down in 600 years in 2013 he claimed: "An institutional door has been opened."

In the interview, Francis said that while he "did not mind being pope," he missed the anonymity of being a priest and being able to "go to a pizzeria for a pizza" without being recognized. 

New Film 'Owning Our Faith' Shares the Stories and Struggles of LGBT Catholics: VIDEO


Even with Pope Francis at the helm taking baby steps towards a more LGBT inclusive Catholic Church, there's still a long, long way to go before Catholicism catches up on sexuality and gender issues. 

In a new short film from filmmaker Michael Tomae, practicing LGBT Catholics and their allies share their stories and desires to see a more welcoming church for all.

From the film's website:

Owning2We want our stories to be a part of the discussion because LGBT people have unique gifts to contribute to the life of the Church. We hope the Church recognizes that God is working through our life stories. We want to inspire change that will strengthen families, encourage acceptance of LGBT people, foster an inclusive community, and promote an open and accepting dialogue among Catholics across the world. Most of all, we want everyone to know they are loved and not alone.

Watch the documentary short, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "New Film 'Owning Our Faith' Shares the Stories and Struggles of LGBT Catholics: VIDEO" »

Pope Francis: Transgender People are Like Nuclear Weapons and Defy 'The Order of Creation'

Pope Francis has come out against gender theory in a new book, comparing the idea that gender identities can exist along a spectrum to the destructiveness of nuclear weaponry, according to The Catholic Reporter:

Pope_francis...[he] says that every historical period has "Herods" that "destroy, that plot designs of death, that disfigure the face of man and woman, destroying creation."

"Let's think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings," he continues. "Let's think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation."

"With this attitude, man commits a new sin, that against God the Creator," the pope says. "The true custody of creation does not have anything to do with the ideologies that consider man like an accident, like a problem to eliminate."

"God has placed man and woman and the summit of creation and has entrusted them with the earth," Francis says. "The design of the Creator is written in nature."

The book, Pope Francis: This Economy Kills, "recounts and analyzes the discourses, documents and interventions of the pope on the themes of poverty, immigration, social justice, and safeguarding of creation" according to the paper.

Pope Francis met with a transgender man in late January. The man had written the pontiff after being rejected by fellow parishioners. The meeting was seen as a significant gesture by human rights groups.

Gay Catholic Group: Vatican Welcomed Us With Open Arms for First Time

Sister Jeannine Gramick (pictured) of the American gay Catholic group New Ways Ministry tells Reuters that when she brought her group of 50 gay Catholics to an audience with the Pope on Wednesday, they were not shunned as they had been before, but given prime seats with all the other groups.

Reuters describes it as 'VIP treatment'.

Reuters adds: Gramick

They told Reuters in an interview afterwards that when the group came to Rome on Catholic pilgrimages during the papacies of Francis's predecessors John Paul and Benedict, "they just ignored us."

This time, a US bishop and a top Vatican official backed their request and they sat in a front section with dignitaries and special Catholic groups. As the pope passed, they sang "All Are Welcome," a hymn symbolising their desire for a more inclusive Church.

A list of participants released by the Vatican listed "a group of lay people accompanied by a sister" but did not mention that they were a gay rights organization.

Gramick sees the move as a sign of movement within the Church.

While Pope Francis gave signs early on in his papacy that the Church would be more open to gay people, asking "who am I to judge?" at an audience with reporters, there have been no official signals from the Vatican that any policies are changing.

In fact, Francis recently endorsed Slovakia's referendum to ban gay marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples, and has warned of "insidious attacks" against the family, in Manila, saying gay marriage threatens to make family "disposable."

Pope Francis Endorses Slovakia's Referendum to Ban Gay Marriage And Adoption Rights for Same-Sex Couples

Pope Francis

Pope Francis has been a remarkable change for the Catholic Church, particularly compared to his predecessor, but even amidst the calls for reasoned debate and 'zero tolerance' for pedophile priests and just generally behaving more like an actual Christian, the Pope is still of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church is generally skeeved out by the very idea of homosexuals.

Slovakia will be voting on a referendum this Saturday that, if passed, would ban marriage and adoption rights to homosexual couples in the country. Last June the country added language to the constitution that banned recognition of same-sex couples, so the referendum will not be adding anything new on that front, but the denial of adoption rights is salt in the wound of same-sex couples. Enter Pope Francis who this past Wednesday in Rome said,

I greet the pilgrims from Slovakia and, through them, I wish to express my appreciation to the entire Slovak church, encouraging everyone to continue their efforts in defense of the family, the vital cell of society.

This comes as a mighty endorsement in a country that is approximately 2/3 Catholic. Confusingly, Father Martin Kramara, the spokesperson for the Conference of Slovak Bishops, told BuzzFeed that,

We would be very unhappy if [the referendum] generates any animosity against homosexually oriented people.

Denial of the basic right to marry and reduced to "other" status that is implied to be unfit for raising children? Why on earth would any animosity arise from that?


Towleroad - Blogged