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"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Animated Francis, Kung, Paul 6th a Saint? & Building Bridges

Animated Francis, Kung, Paul 6th a Saint? & Building Bridges
Here is the latest vomit coming from the Vatican II cult of man which is leading souls into the formalized one world religion...

There are many different ways of talking about the Catholic faith. That is why the website Catholic Link created cartoons to bring Pope Francis' words to young children.

"Hey! How many mothers did Jesus have?
-Hi there, Mary is Jesus' only mother, even if she holds many different devotions.
-Oh, like my wife, she uses a different dress for every place.”

The YouTube series "Pope Francis Minute” surfaces after the success of a four minute viral video about the life of the new Pope was made in 2013. It was translated in 20 different languages, even in Korean.

"But who is he? Where does he come from? How is he? Jorge Mario Bergoglio.”

Director 'Catholic Link'
"It's a place where we collect his words, try to be very faithful to what the Pope says in his homilies, in his speeches, and add characters to narrate how I believe the Pope would want to be narrated. It is closely linked to real life people, with many images of everyday life. The Pope's words have always provided that.”

Creatives from 16 different countries have collaborated to make these videos. Scripts are written by teams. The illustrations come from Costa Rica, and editing is completed in Ecuador. And the animation is a success that has even been noticed by the Vatican.

Director 'Catholic Link'
"I know that the videos are seen and sent to other members of the Curia. Some bishops and people from the Vatican Curia find the videos fun. They are entertaining, very lively.”

Besides getting praise from his peers, Pope Francis' videos have already been used as part of a religion curriculum in some schools.

Infallibility — Hans Küng appeals to Pope Francis

Next week, Hans Küng, the Catholic priest and Swiss theologian, will mark his 88th birthday. The fifth volume of his complete works, titled Infallibility, has just become available from the German publishing house Herder. In connection with the release of Infallibility, Küng has written the following “urgent appeal to Pope Francis to permit an open and impartial discussion on infallibility of pope and bishops.” The text of his urgent appeal is being released simultaneously by National Catholic Reporter and The Tablet.
It is hardly conceivable that Pope Francis would strive to define papal infallibility as Pius IX did with all the means at hand, whether good or less good, in the 19th century. It is also inconceivable that Francis would be interested in infallibly defining Marian dogmas as Pius XII did. It would, however, be far easier to imagine Pope Francis smilingly telling students, “Io non sono infallibile” — “I am not infallible” — as Pope John XXIII did in his time. When he saw how surprised the students were, John added, “I am only infallible when I speak ex cathedra, but that is something I will never do.”
I became acquainted with the subject very early in my life. Here are a few important historical dates as I personally experienced them and have faithfully documented in Volume 5 of my complete works:
1950: On Nov. 1, facing huge crowds in St. Peter’s Square and supported by numerous high church and political dignitaries, Pope Pius XII definitively proclaimed the Assumption of Mary as a dogma. “The immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” I was there in St. Peter’s Square at the time and must admit that I enthusiastically hailed the pope’s declaration.
That was the first infallible ex cathedra proclamation by the church’s senior shepherd and highest teaching authority, who had invoked the special support of the Holy Spirit, all according to the definition of papal infallibility laid down at the First Vatican Council of 1870. And it was to remain the last ex cathedra proclamation to date, as even John Paul II, who restored papal centralism and was always happy to seek publicity, did not dare to play to the gallery by proclaiming a new dogma. As it was, the 1950 dogma proclamation had been made despite protests from the Protestant and Orthodox churches and from many Catholics, who simply could not find any evidence in the Bible for this “truth of faith revealed by God.”

I remember German theology students, who were our guests in the Collegium Germanicum (German College) in Rome, discussing the problems they had with the dogma in the refectory at the time. Only a few weeks previously, an article by the then leading German patrologist, Professor Berthold Althaner, a highly regarded Catholic specialist in the theology of the Church Fathers, had been published in which Althaner, listing many examples, had shown that this dogma had did not even have a historical basis in the first centuries of the early church. It goes back to a legend in an apocryphal writing from the fifth century that is brimful of miracles.
We seminarians at the German College at the time thought that the students’ “rationalist” university teachers had kept the Pontifical Gregorian University’s general perception regarding this dogma from them. The general perception at the Gregorian was that the Assumption dogma had “developed” slowly and, as it were, “organically” in the course of dogma history, but that it was already ascertained in Bible passages such as “Hail (Mary) full of grace (blessed art thou),” “the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28), and although not “explicitly” expressed, it was nevertheless “implicitly” incorporated.
1958: Pius XII’s death marked the end of a century of excessive Marian cults by the Pius popes that had begun with the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854. Pius XII’s successor, John XXIII, was disinclined toward new dogmas. At the Second Vatican Council, in a crucial vote, the majority of the council fathers rejected a special Marian decree and in fact cautioned against exaggerated Marian piety.
1965: Chapter III of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church is devoted to the hierarchy but, oddly enough, Paragraph 25, which is on infallibility, in no way actually goes into it. What is all the more surprising is that in actual fact the Second Vatican Council took a fatal step. Without giving reasons, it expressly extended infallibility, which was confined to the pope alone at the First Vatican Council, to the episcopacy. The council attributed infallibility not only to the assembled episcopacy at an ecumenical council (magisterium extraordinarium), but from then on also to the world episcopacy (magisterium ordinarium), that is, to bishops all over the world if they were agreed and decreed that a church teaching on faith or morals should permanently become mandatory.
1968: the year the encyclical Humanae Vitae on birth control was published. That the encyclical was released on July 25 of all times, which was not only during the summer holidays but, on top of that, in the middle of the Czechoslovak people’s fight for freedom, is generally interpreted as Roman tactics so that there would be less opposition to it. Perhaps, however, it was quite simply because work on this sensitive document had only just been finished. Whatever the reason for the timing, the encyclical hit the world “like a bomb.” The pope had obviously greatly underestimated the resistance to this teaching. Isolated as he was in the Vatican, he had not envisaged that the world public would react quite so negatively.
The encyclical Humanae Vitae, which not only forbade as grave sins the pill and all mechanical means of contraception but also the withdrawal method to avoid pregnancy, was universally regarded as an incredible challenge. Invoking the infallibility of papal, respectively episcopal teaching, the pope pitted himself against the entire civilized world. This alarmed me as a Catholic theologian. I had by then been professor of theology at the Catholic theological faculty of Tübingen University for eight years. Of course, formal protests and substantive objections were important, but had the time not now come to examine this claim to the infallibility of papal teaching in principle? I was convinced that theology — or, to be more precise, critical fundamental theological research — was called for. In 1970, I put the subject up for discussion in my book Infallible?: An Inquiry. I could not have foreseen at the time that this book and with it the problem of infallibility would crucially affect my personal destiny and would present theology and the church with key challenges. In the 1970s, my life and my work were more than ever intertwined with theology and the church.
1979-80: the withdrawal of my license to teach. In Volume 2 of my memoirs, Disputed Truth, I have described in detail how this was a secret campaign carried out with military precision, which has proved to be theologically unfounded and politically counterproductive. At the time, the debate about the withdrawal of my missio canonica and infallibility continued for a long time. It proved impossible to harm my standing with believers, however, and as I had prophesied, the controversies regarding large-scale church reform have not ceased. On the contrary, during the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI they increased on a massive scale. That was when I went into the necessity of promoting understanding between the different denominations, of mutual recognition of church offices and celebrating the Lord’s Supper, the question of divorce, of women’s ordination, mandatory celibacy and the catastrophic lack of priests, but above all of the leadership of the Catholic church. My question was: “Where are you leading this church of ours?”
These questions are as relevant today as they were then. The decisive reason for this incapacity for reform at all levels is still the doctrine of infallibility of church teaching, which has bequeathed a long winter on our Catholic church. Like John XXIII, Francis is doing his utmost to blow fresh wind into the church today and is meeting with massive opposition as at the last episcopal synod in October 2015. But, make no mistake, without a constructive “re-vision” of the infallibility dogma, real renewal will hardly be possible.
What is all the more astonishing is that the discussion (of infallibility) has disappeared from the scene. Many Catholic theologians have no longer critically examined the infallibility ideology for fear of ominous sanctions as in my case, and the hierarchy tries as far as possible to avoid the subject, which is unpopular in the church and in society. When he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Ratzinger only expressly referred to it very few times. Despite the fact that it was left unsaid, the taboo of infallibility has blocked all reforms since the Second Vatican Council that would have required revising previous dogmatic definitions. That not only applies to the encyclical Humanae Vitae against contraception, but also to the sacraments and monopolized “authentic” church teaching, to the relationship between the ordained priesthood and the priesthood of all the faithful. And it applies likewise to a synodal church structure and the claim to absolute papal power, the relationship to other denominations and religions, and to the secular world in general. That is why the following question is more urgent than ever: Where is the church — which is still fixated on the infallibility dogma — heading at the beginning of the third millennium? The anti-modernist epoch that rang in the First Vatican Council has ended.
2016: I am in my 88th year and I may say that I have spared no effort to collect the relevant texts, order them factually and chronologically according to the various phases of the altercation and elucidate them by putting them in a biographical context for Volume 5 of my complete works. With his book in my hand, I would now like to repeat an appeal to the pope that I repeatedly made in vain several times during the decadelong theological and church-political altercation. I beg of Pope Francis — who has always replied to me in a brotherly manner:
“Receive this comprehensive documentation and allow a free, unprejudiced and open-ended discussion in our church of the all the unresolved and suppressed questions connected with the infallibility dogma. In this way, the problematic Vatican heritage of the past 150 years could be come to terms with honestly and adjusted in accordance with holy Scripture and ecumenical tradition. It is not a case of trivial relativism that undermines the ethical foundation of church and society. But it is also not about an unmerciful, mind-numbing dogmatism, which swears by the letter, prevents thorough renewal of the church’s life and teaching, and obstructs serious progress in ecumenism. It is certainly not the case of me personally wanting to be right. The well-being of the church and of ecumenism is at stake.
“I am very well aware of the fact that my appeal to you, who ‘lives among wolves,’ as a good Vatican connoisseur recently remarked, may possibly not be opportune. In your Christmas address of Dec. 21, 2015, however, confronted with curial ailments and even scandals, you confirmed your will for reform: ‘It seems necessary to state what has been — and ever shall be — the object of sincere reflection and decisive provisions. The reform will move forward with determination, clarity and firm resolve, since Ecclesia semper reformanda.’
“I would not like to raise the hopes of many in our church unrealistically. The question of infallibility cannot be solved overnight in our church. Fortunately, you (Pope Francis) are almost 10 years younger than I am and will hopefully survive me. You will, moreover, surely understand that as a theologian at the end of his days, buoyed by deep affection for you and your pastoral work, I wanted to convey this request to you in time for a free and serious discussion of infallibility that is well-substantiated in the volume at hand: non in destructionem, sed in aedificationem ecclesiae, ‘not in order to destroy but to build up the church.’ For me personally, this would be the fulfillment of a hope I have never given up.”
[Fr. Hans Küng, Swiss citizen, is professor emeritus of ecumenical theology at Tübingen University in Germany. He is the honorary president of the Global Ethic Foundation (www.weltethos.org). The sixth volume of his complete works, Church Reform, is expected later this year also from Herder. This article was translated from the German by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.]

Pope Calls Migrant Crisis ‘Arab Invasion’, Says Europe Must ‘Rediscover Its Cultural Roots’

Pope Francis has described the European migration crisis as an “Arab invasion”

Francis has described the European migration crisis as an “Arab invasion”. He said that “Europe weakens” by “forgetting its own history”, but, because of its low birth rate and colonial history, the mass migration could be beneficial.

“Today we can talk about an Arab invasion”, the Roman Catholic leader told the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano this Thursday. “It is a social fact”.
“How many invasions has Europe experienced in the course of its history?” he asked. “But [Europe] has always been able to overcome herself… increased by the exchange between cultures”, he answered.
Millions of migrants from the Muslim world walked into Europe last year, and more than 131,000 have arrived via the Mediterranean in the first two moths of this year alone – more than the total number who made it in the first half of 2015.
“There’s something that bothers me,” added Pope Francis, who has been considered a relatively liberal Pontiff. “Of course, globalisation unites us and thus has positive aspects. But, I think there are good and less good [aspects of] globalisation”, he said.
In his view, a good version of globalisation would allow humanity to remain “united, but, every people, every nation, retains its identity, its culture, its wealth”.
Read more.

Seattle priest, a known pedophile, was moved parish to parish

 The secret files on the Rev. Michael Cody show how the Seattle Catholic Archdiocese moved him from parish to parish, even after knowing he was a sick and dangerous pedophile.

They described his “deviant behavior,” recorded his “abnormal attraction toward young girls,” even warned “he will either blow his brains out or cause a major scandal in the parish.”
In letter after letter, supervising priests, the auxiliary bishop, even a noted psychiatrist alerted Seattle Archbishop Thomas Connolly that the Rev. Michael Cody was a sick and dangerous pedophile who posed grave threats to children and others in the Western Washington parishes he served during the 1960s.
“It is my diagnosis that he is suffering from a form of sexual deviation (Pedophilia) …,” Dr. Albert Hurley wrote in a letter to Connolly in March 1962. “It is my recommendation that he be removed from parish work as soon as possible.”
But instead of notifying police or removing Cody from his duties, Connolly’s response largely was to move him to unsuspecting parishes. First, within Seattle. Then, to Auburn. And finally, to Skagit and Whatcom counties, where Cody oversaw four different churches and a school into the mid-1970s.

When it placed him in Skagit County, the archdiocese provided Cody an isolated home where the unsupervised priest regularly brought youngsters, records and interviews show. All the while, he continued to prey on children.
The disturbing details about the archdiocese’s facilitation of the priest’s pedophilia are documented in internal correspondence, performance reviews and other records contained within what’s known as Cody’s “secret file.”
Portions of his decades-old file surfaced publicly last year in case filings for a lawsuit brought against the archdiocese by a Sedro-Woolley woman who, as a teenager, was sexually abused by Cody for two years.
Based on a consultant’s review of such secret files, the Seattle Archdiocese in January published a list identifying 77 clergy members who lived or worked in Western Washington and are known or believed to have sexually abused children.
When publicizing the list, Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain said in a statement he took the action “in the interest of further transparency and accountability,” but church officials offered no details about abuse incidents.
Since then, victims advocates, attorneys, even some prominent Catholics have called on Sartain to release the archdiocese’s secret files.
Archdiocese spokesman Greg Magnoni did not directly respond to questions about whether Sartain plans to disclose any files. In an email Friday, Magnoni said “we will continue to review our practices and protocols, including the published list, to determine if additional steps can be taken that will restore trust and promote healing.”
Secret archives on accused priests, which Roman Catholic Canon law directs bishops to keep under lock and key, can often detail a diocese’s wider, hidden complicity in clergy sexual abuse dating back decades, those familiar with such records say.
“These records illustrate a pattern of secrecy,” said Mary Dispenza, Northwest director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and herself a victim of clergy abuse. “Most bishops are still dragging their feet about releasing them because they’ll be embarrassed or ashamed, and past bishops might be implicated.”
Criminal investigations, lawsuits and legal settlements have forced public disclosure of large portions of confidential archives in “a couple dozen” of the more than 170 Catholic dioceses nationwide, said Terry McKiernan, president of the research group bishopaccountabilty.org, which is dedicated to tracking clergy abuse.
Cody’s secret file demonstrates the Seattle Archdiocese enabled his abuse for years. As late as 1988, Seattle Archdiocese officials were still trying to assess whether the retired priest posed threats in another state.
Exactly how many children he victimized “would only be a guess,” a then-82-year-old Cody said during a 2013 deposition. In 1988, Cody told mental-health evaluators in Florida that over 20 years, he’d sexually abused 20 to 40 girls between 8 and 12 years old, and one boy.
At least 10 known and alleged victims have claimed in lawsuits in Washington that Cody abused them years after Connolly and others knew the priest was a pedophile. The archdiocese has settled one case and faces trial in five others.
The archdiocese’s hand in Cody’s misdeeds might still be secret if Jeri Hubbard hadn’t broken her silence.

“Second to God”

Hubbard was a troubled 16-year-old runaway when her parents entrusted her to the care of a charismatic pastor at the St. Charles Parish in Burlington, Skagit County, in 1968.
Cody, in turn, groomed the physically immature teen for a sexual relationship that lasted two years.
“At a time when I didn’t feel special, he befriended me and made me feel special,” Hubbard, 63, said during an interview last week. “Instinctively, I kind of knew it wasn’t right. But I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t want him to get in trouble.”
The oldest of 12 children, the teenage Hubbard found refuge from a chaotic family life by walking to church to visit the 37-year-old priest. Hubbard’s father, retired from the Navy and a devout Catholic, agreed to let his daughter live at Cody’s rectory on rural Peterson Road.
“Father Cody was a godsend to me,” Hubbard’s father recalled in a June 2014 deposition. “I felt that the priest was second to God.”
At the home they shared for about a year, Cody plied Hubbard with wine, and sex became routine.
“What he had convinced me of was that God had made him a man first before he made him a priest, and that men have needs,” Hubbard recalled.
When Hubbard later became uncomfortable with their relationship, Cody “told me that I was an incorrigible child, that nobody would believe me over him. He was their priest and that they would always believe him first.”
Ashamed and afraid people would blame her, Hubbard kept silent about Cody for more than four decades. She suffered deep emotional trauma, marked by alcoholism, anxiety attacks, flashbacks, nightmares and suicide attempts.
In 2012, a friend who witnessed Hubbard paralyzed by a panic attack during a 12-step meeting arranged a surprise consultation between Hubbard and Mount Vernon attorney John Murphy. Hubbard reluctantly told her story.
Attorneys Michael Pfau of Seattle and Rand Jack of Bellingham joined the team, and Hubbard sued. As the case progressed, Hubbard learned about a confidential file kept on Cody.
“I was pissed,” she said. “The church knew he was a pedophile years before he ever came to Burlington. And they let that happen.”

Letters of alarm

The contents of Cody’s file provided a damning narrative that made Hubbard’s case.
By early 1962, just a few years into Cody’s career, the records show he told a psychiatrist about his perverse urges.
Dr. Hurley later informed Archbishop Connolly in a March 19, 1962, letter that Cody had “molested at least eight girls 12 years of age or younger.”
“He has sexual impulses which he fights against consciously and is unable to control voluntarily,” Hurley wrote.
Ten days later, Cody’s supervising priest at the Holy Family Parish in Seattle also warned Connolly that Cody was “mentally and emotionally sick.” In his letter, the Rev. Ailbe McGrath used Latin to cloak descriptions of Cody’s deviancy, referencing a violation of Catholicism’s Sixth Commandment: “Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery.”
“His de sexto abnormalities (which I will not mention here) may cause a major scandal in this parish, and if discovered, may result in a penitentiary sentence at Walla Walla,” McGrath wrote.
Less than two months later, McGrath wrote Connolly again, “urgently requesting” Cody be removed from the parish.
“I do not want a murder, a suicide, or a de sexto crime of violence in this rectory or in this parish,” McGrath wrote in the May 14, 1962, letter. “… When I read in the daily papers of crimes of murder and rape, I begin to wonder if Father Cody is involved.”
Three days later, Connolly responded that Cody would be sent to the Institute of Living, a psychiatric hospital in Connecticut.
“Personally, I do not hold out any great hopes for his improvement or that he will ever reassume his priestly career,” Connolly wrote.
Cody had been at the hospital for 10 months when a psychiatrist recommended in March 1963 that upon the priest’s return to Seattle, Connolly assign him to a position away from parishioners due to his mental state.
But when Cody returned in May 1963, Connolly put him to work as an assistant pastor at St. James Cathedral, and his problems resurfaced.
“It is not that he is not trying,” Bishop Thomas Gill wrote to Connolly, then in Rome, in October 1963. “There are manifest signs of deterioration in his mental health.”
For the next four and a half years, Gill supervised Cody and wrote annual reports about his work to Connolly, describing the priest’s problems. “The man is sick,” Gill wrote in a 1965 report. “ … While of superior intellectual capacity, he suffers from emotional states that make him unusable as an assistant.”
In September 1967, the archdiocese reassigned Cody to the Holy Family Parish in Auburn. Within three months, its pastor complained to Connolly about Cody’s “undue familiarity with the sixth and seventh grade girls.”
“His deviant behavior is a danger to the good of souls,” the Rev. John Duffy wrote in the December 1967 letter. “Before the people become involved in this priestly problem I consider it prudent to bring this matter to your attention.”
Nothing in Cody’s file indicates the priest received further mental-health treatment, behavioral monitoring or restrictions on his access to children, the archdiocese’s chancellor acknowledged in a deposition last year.
Six months after Duffy’s letter, the archdiocese moved Cody again — this time to Skagit County, where he would have no on-site supervision whatsoever.

Full story under wraps

From 1968 to 1972, Cody served as pastor of churches in La Conner, Burlington and on the Swinomish Indian Reservation.
Shortly after his arrival in Skagit County, the archdiocese also purchased the isolated rectory where Cody would live — and where he repeatedly abused Hubbard.
Last May, shortly after Hubbard took the witness stand to detail Cody’s abuse, the archdiocese settled her case for $1.2 million.
Before the trial, the archdiocese admitted negligence for “intentionally or recklessly” inflicting severe emotional damages on Hubbard by putting Cody in a position to abuse her. The admission prevented the secret records describing the archdiocese’s role in Cody’s abuse from being seen by a jury.
“I don’t think they wanted the jury to hear the full story, so they had to admit they acted both negligently and outrageously in order to keep out evidence regarding their fault,” Pfau said in a statement posted to his law firm’s website following the settlement.
After Hubbard sued, six more women accused Cody of abusing them as children while the priest served in Skagit County, and three people, including one man, claimed Cody abused them as kids while he served as pastor of Assumption Parish and School in Bellingham from 1972 to 1975. In all, the archdiocese now faces five lawsuits over Cody.
In 1975, after Connolly retired, new Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen brought Cody back to Seattle for an “in residence” assignment at St. Margaret Parish. He also arranged for Cody to be evaluated. Cody took a disability retirement and left Seattle in 1979.
He eventually moved to Florida and in 1988 helped with ministry in the Orlando Diocese. But Hunthausen declined to recommend Cody to that diocese’s leaders, and he paid for Cody to take another psychological evaluation.
During the exam, Cody admitted to victimizing up to 41 children and that he still fantasized about having sex with minors. Evaluators recommended Cody “not be allowed unsupervised contact with children.”
In 1989, Cody petitioned for laicization — or removal from the priesthood. The Catholic Church officially defrocked him in 2005.
Cody moved to Nevada in the 1990s to live with a brother. He volunteered at a national park. When lawyers deposed Cody for Hubbard’s case in 2013, he was still living there. Cody died at the age of 84, sometime after Hubbard’s trial last year.
In January, Cody’s name appeared on the archdiocese’s list of clergy offenders.
Without disclosing his or other offenders’ secret files, Hubbard calls the list meaningless.
“People should know the truth about what the church has done,” she said. “If they have nothing more to hide, then why aren’t they showing us?”


"Catholic" Church in Michigan may expand health care to gay couples

Catholic Church in Michigan may expand health care to gay couples
[Michigan Catholic Conference capitulates to the culture of perversion; other dioceses may follow suit, because AmChurch’s National Catholic Bioethics Center has “blessed” the arrangement]
Niraj Warikoo
Detroit Free Press
March 4, 2016
In a move praised by LGBT advocates, the Catholic Church in Michigan is making changes to its health care plan that could allow gays to get health care for their partners or spouses.
In a letter sent this week to pastors and employees of the Catholic Church in Michigan, the Michigan Catholic Conference said it is modifying its health care coverage to include legally domiciled adults (LDA), meaning those who are above 18, have lived with the employee for at least six months and are financially interdependent with the employee.
As long as the person meets those criteria, they will get health care coverage, regardless of their sexual orientation or activity, said a Michigan Catholic Conference official.
The move is being made to comply with changes in federal law, which now allows for same-sex marriage, and also to keep in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church, which opposes same-gender sexual acts and same-gender marriage. The Michigan Catholic Conference, based in Lansing, oversees the health care for Catholic employees in the state. A gay couple would not qualify under the current health insurance’s spousal coverage since the Catholic Church only defines a spouse as someone of the opposite gender.
The letter to employees from the Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) reads: “Due to recent changes in federal law regarding the provision of health benefits, Michigan Catholic Conference has adopted a modification to MCC benefits to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The inclusion of the LDA (Legally Domiciled Adults) benefit allows for the MCC health plan to be both legally compliant and consistent with Church teaching.”
The letters don’t mention gays or the issue of same-sex relationships, but state that the benefits will apply to anyone who meets the requirement of a legally domiciled adult. The changes effectively mean that someone who is in a sexual relationship with or married to someone of the same gender could get health benefits from the Church. It also would apply to a friend, cousin, sibling or parent who lives with the employee.
The Michigan Catholic Conference indicated that it will not investigate the sexual activities or behaviors of those applying for the new LDA coverage to find out whether someone is in a same-sex relationship.
“The Church’s teaching on marriage and human sexuality is not changing,” said Dave Maluchnik, director of communications for the Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC). “The only reason MCC is making this eligibility modification to its health benefit policy is to be consistent with Catholic teaching on marriage — one man and one woman. Going forward, relationship will not be an evaluative criterion for including another individual (LDA) as a recipient of MCC’s health benefit. And none of this changes Catholic teaching; it complies with federal law, as it is, in 2016. This is the world in which we now live.”
The only other options for the MCC to keep in line with the law as well as Catholic teachings would be to remove all health care coverage or remove spousal coverage, both of which would hurt employees, and so weren’t seen as viable.
The LDA option came about because the legalization of same-sex marriage last year put the views of the federal government in conflict with the Catholic Church.
“As such, sections of the IRS Tax Code, Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act and EEOC regulations all now have an impact upon the provision of health benefits,” Maluchnik said.
Currently, the health insurance plans for Catholic employees include coverage for spouses and children of marriages between one man and one woman, in accordance with Catholic teachings. By including the LDA coverage, the Catholic Church can keep in compliance with federal law, while not explicitly advocating same-sex relations.
For example, a gay employee of the Catholic Church in Michigan who is married to another man might be able to get health care coverage now under the LDA benefit. He would not be eligible to get it under the spousal benefit.
LGBT Catholic advocates praised the move by Catholic leaders in Michigan.
“This is a good step forward,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, a group in Maryland near Washington, D.C., which promotes equality and justice for LGBT people in the Catholic Church and society.
However, DeBernardo said the changes stop short of what their group is hoping for, the acceptance of same-sex relations and marriage, which the Church opposes.
“It’s not ideal,” DeBernardo said. “I wish the Catholic Church would recognize they could do this by explicitly supporting same-sex couples.”
The changes by the Catholic Church in Michigan comes as Catholic universities and hospitals also adjust their health care policies. In some cases, there are reports of gay Catholic employees being denied benefits or removed from their positions.
DeBernardo said the move by the Michigan Catholic Conference echoes what happened in 1997 in the Archdiocese in San Francisco, which has a sizable LGBT community. The Archdiocese agreed to add the LDA benefit as a compromise after the city threatened to stop its contracts with them for social services over not including gay partners in their employee health care coverage.
Other dioceses across the U.S. are now considering similar changes, said Maluchnik.
The new LDA benefit might potentially upset some conservatives, but the letter to the pastors says : “The decision was made following an extensive analysis conducted by the National Catholic Bioethics Center and in consultation with attorneys responsible for the legality of the MCC health plan.”
Based in Philadelphia, the bioethics center’s board includes Catholic bishops and is currently chaired by the Archbishop of New Orleans.

Conversations with young Catholic women— married and single, graduates and professionals, cradle Catholics, and recent coverts— in the UK about feminism, marriage, and modernity.

 There’s a serious crisis of Catholic masculinity and femininity. Today’s men and women are pulled between an ideology which places men and women in hostile competition—the ‘battle of the sexes’—on the one hand, and the newer gender theory which claims sexuality is fluid and changeable, on the other. How are Catholics meant to navigate the world of finding someone to marry, or seeing the value of a life of celibacy? Is it any wonder long-term singleness and later marriage have become normal in Catholic circles?
The decline in men pursuing the priesthood and men and women entering religious life indicates a serious crisis among the Catholic laity from which vocations come. The decline in Catholic marriage reflects the prevailing trends of the secular societies of the Western world. It’s no wonder that Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona, felt the need to issue a recent apostolic exhortation to men, since many men need to be shown and taught, for the first time, what it means to be a Catholic man. “This crisis is evident,” notes Bishop Olmsted, “in the discouragement and disengagement of Catholic men like you and me.”
We’ve heard quite a bit about the dignity of woman, of motherhood, and the ‘feminine genius’ as Pope John Paul II called it. There is not nearly as much mention of men—no ‘masculine genius’, little or no ‘dignity of manhood and fatherhood’ writings or speeches. The Final Report of the 2015 Synod of Bishops, in a similar way, had much more to say about women, wives, and mothers than it did about men, husbands, and fathers.
I recently spent several weeks talking to a wide variety of young Catholic women here in the UK: married and single, graduates and professionals, cradle Catholics, and recent coverts. As Catholic women in 2016, their lives often straddle two conflicting worldviews and sets of expectations, not least over the issue of feminism and its impact on male-female relationships.
My essential question to these women was a simple one: “Are young Catholic women saying ‘No thanks’ to feminism?” Their answers were revealing, thought-provoking, and counter-cultural.

What does feminism mean?
I met Marie, 27, at a wine bar in central London. She works in the charity sector. I ask what feminism means to her. “I think typical feminists were old, single, frumpy and angry, but that’s changing,” she said. “There’s a new image with actress Emma Watson heading it up. Her ‘He for She’ campaign with the UN is starting a dialogue.
I’ve started to like Germaine Greer a bit too, she’s standing up for women in a movement that is cloudy and post-modern,” she says in reference to Greer’s comments about Bruce (now called “Caitlyn”) Jenner.
Emily, 23, is a graduate working for the family business. We chat over Skype. “Feminism is an ideology that says men and women are equal, but equality doesn’t mean sameness. I mean respect and equality of opportunity,” she explains.
There’s a type of feminism that’s like a religion with lots of rules, calling out people who disagree. Scholar Christiana Hoff Sommers calls them gender feminists. They think patriarchy is bad, and everywhere. They have a victimhood mentality. If you disagree, they say you’ve internalized your oppression—there’s no impartiality.”
But some say that’s real feminism,” I suggest.

“Former feminists wanted equality, legal protection, the right to vote. The new ones think women need privileges because they’re victims,” retorts Emily.
While not advocating special privileges, finance professional, Nicole, 27, tells me that employment schemes are needed to help women progress. “They help put legal changes into practice,” she says.
Later on, at a suburban home filled with children, I meet Zarah, 28, with two of her sisters-in-law. Growing up in a single parent home in Belgium, she was an ardent atheist and radical feminist. She’s now an ardent Catholic, wife, and mother of two. “Feminism started for a good cause, like the right of women to vote, but through the ages it has become what it wasn’t mean to be,” she says.
Her cradle Catholic sister-in-law, Giovanna, 35, continues: “Now it’s militant. Women are seen as superior to men, it’s about women’s power. A lot of extreme stuff has come through to us. We’re living in the aftermath.”

Is feminism compatible with Catholicism?
If today’s feminism is extreme, the straightforward answer is that young Catholic women are saying no to feminism. But things aren’t clear cut; there is, many indicate, a spectrum in what is called “feminism”.
I’m a new wave feminist,” enthuses Emily. “They’re a really fun group, very on point about the culture, uncompromisingly pro-life, pro-woman, and not anti-man. It’s popular among Catholics and those tired of modern feminism.”
Their website says they want to “Take feminism back from those who have corrupted it,” and advocates the “early American feminism of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, which was righteous, virtuous, intelligent and moral.”
(Stanton, who is not as well-known as Anthony, campaigned for liberalized divorce laws, had the word ‘obey’ removed her wedding vows, and blamed Christianity and the Bible for perceived sexism and female subjugation. In 1896 the National American Woman Suffrage Association disavowed itself of Stanton’s The Women’s Bible.)
Like Emily, Marie says she’s a “Catholic new school feminist,” but is wary of labels. “It’s a new feminism, moving on from fourth wave, leaving behind contraception, abortion, and man-hating.”
Gender and international law graduate, Julia, 24, says she’s definitely a feminist. “People think they’re not compatible, because of the Church’s pro-life teachings, but I think they’re pro-woman,” she says. “Being pro-abortion means women can be used for sex. Keeping babies in the picture makes people more respectful, but sexism by men and women is still with us,” she tells me over coffee. For Julia and the others, the word ‘respect’ crops up regularly.
Is ‘Catholic-friendly’ feminism the norm, coupled with long-term career plans, educational achievement, professional qualifications and promotion? Is delayed marriage, fewer children, and a strong sense of independence and preference for one’s freedom for leisure and lifestyle, the preferential option and result?
Yeah, I’d say so,” replies Marie. “I do that myself to a degree.”
Nicole states, “Society teaches you to be independent. To have marriage as a priority from a young age can be foolish. It can leave you unhappier then if you’d stayed single.”
But is it a proactive decision, or chosen in the absence of a much-wanted husband and children?
Chiara is 35. She married at the age of 19, and has five children. “I’m surrounded by Catholic and non-Catholic women in their 20s and 30s. We’ve grown up with the negative effects of feminism, and within them there’s that feminist element, it’s become the norm.
They think like the world does. They think that as women they shouldn’t be at home bearing children, they fight against this mentality. They don’t call themselves feminists, but their mentality is [feminist],” she says.

Are Catholic women finding good Catholic men?
I ask if feminism has affected men. “Absolutely, it’s negatively affected Catholic men, they’re less manly,” says Giovanna. “Women need to let men be men. Small things like letting them pay for a meal or pouring the wine at a dinner makes a difference. When you give them that space, they grow to be a man.
I think men are now more afraid to get laughed at. I feel for them. They lack the courage to ask you out.”
Nicole thinks men do still approach women, “But it’s not done in a very sensitive way, so they get the wrong reaction and don’t do it again.” She recently witnessed a man scolded by a woman for gently offering his seat to her on the train, yet she feels there’s been a loss of chivalry in society.
Marie adds that there are lots of Catholic women who are finding it difficult to find a man to commit to a relationship and marriage. “Men need more love and respect than we’re giving them. We need to let men feel manlier. We’ve suffocated them,” she argues.
Is that due to feminism? Have we trampled on men’s masculinity? It must partly be due to feminism, along with other factors. I find computer games a problem; they’re like a low commitment, low maintenance girlfriend that let men feel manly,” she says.
Other factors could be at work. “The newer type of feminism has coincided with individualism—not being tied to anyone. Women are interested in how they feel and what they want. Feminism has fostered mistrust,” adds Emily. I wonder if feminism has coincided, or has that individualism always been part of it?
I ask Emily if she sees a crisis of Catholic masculinity. “There is some truth to it, like how men approach dating. It’s less masculine and not effective. Lots of Catholic women lament that there aren’t many strong Catholic men. I’m sure that’s not true, men just need to know they can speak up.”

Is male headship a thing of the past?
The ups and downs of dating don’t end on the wedding day. Chiara and Giovanna say that for a wife to allow her husband to be the authority in the family leaves a woman “looking like an idiot, like it’s something that doesn’t belong in the modern world.”
My family and friends in Belgium see me as oppressed under my husband,” says Zarah. She says the situation becomes bad for mothers too. “They become very resentful. They think they can do everything and therefore they want, and have, to do everything.”
Having been to university and aspired to a career, she says she’s happy being a stay-at-home mum who sees great value in the humble work of raising young children.
Chiara also offers a different insight. “My upbringing in Italy was matriarchal. My mother, grandmother and aunt ran the house. The men kept a low profile.
When I married I recognised that my husband had to be the head of our family. I’ve experienced one version of family life, and found myself drawn to the alternative.
Now my mother can see how it works. There’s a natural life within the family that flows with the father being at the head, and the peace and stability that brings.”
I ask if that’s a popular view among Catholic women. “No, no it isn’t,” replies Chiara and Zarah. Giovanna adds that often it’s an economic necessity for mothers to work, but it doesn’t mean they want things that way.
Recent graduate and feminist, Joanne, 22, suggests the traditional roles of homemaker and breadwinner have broken down. “It’s more acceptable to be a stay-at-home father and take paternity leave. No doubt some men will feel short-changed,” she says. That short-changed feeling stings when a marriage breaks down.
Parental separation is a sad fact for many Catholic families. Student Maria, 19, felt appalled at the situation. “Men have been disadvantaged. Look at the number of divorced families where the mother gets full custody, even when the man has done nothing wrong, it’s unbelievable and extremely damaging.” Marie says she strongly rejects feminism, but would be more sympathetic if mainstream feminism wasn’t so obsessed with abortion.

What about the appeal of Islam?
Something I wasn’t expecting during our conversations was the issue of Islam, yet the Catholic women I spoke to spontaneously brought it up on several occasions.
Giovanna says women would love it if men would take more control. “That’s why there’s so many women converting to Islam. Muslim men know what they’re about, they are sure of themselves, they know what they believe.”
Zarah pitches in. “Yeah I agree, my sister in Belgium married a Muslim. She’s not converting, but she is with a Muslim. If you ask her why, it’s the family focus; there is structure. That’s what she liked.”
However, Nicole tells me about a Muslim friend who married a Muslim woman. “He has to do everything around the house, even though he works full-time. She just stays at home. They don’t have children yet. It’s changed his views on women for the worse.”
A 2011 study found that around 5,200 people convert to Islam annually in the UK, three quarters being women. The average age is 27. As of 2011, some 100,000 British people have converted to Islam. Again, three quarters are women. A similar pattern is found in the US.
Julia also had her own experience of Islamic relationships during her charity placement in Sierra Leone. “I saw women treated like fifth class citizens. Many of the women were one of three or four wives, because they were in polygamous Muslim marriages.” Nearly 80 percent of the population is Muslim, with around 40 percent of women in a polygamous marriage. “It made my feminist beliefs stronger,” she says.
Joanne’s perspective was also global. “We’re pretty good in the UK. It’s places like Somalia and Saudi Arabia we should be looking at, they have very deep problems. I’m more interested in what we can do for girls and women in other countries.”

The women I’ve spoken to seem to have reservations about modern feminism, and generally did not see as a path to happiness. Yet, rather than reject all feminism, some are opting for a ‘Catholic-friendly’ version, partly as a tool for speaking with non-religious women about abortion and related issues. These women reject abortion, contraception, and man-hating, and some have a global perspective on the relationship between men and women.
The issue of Islam was a surprising one, and perhaps an indication that the Church needs to consistently and firmly present what she has always taught about the family, the roles of husbands and wives, and the unique nature of the marriage relationship. What seems clear is that the difficult and often confusing relationship between Catholic belief and modern assertions about women will continue to present challenges which affect not only women, but men, children, and society as a whole.


Church employee fired over same-sex marriage sues Chicago archdiocese



“Korea needs mercy more than ever”

As political and military tensions rise in the Far East, the Church renews its commitment and constant prayer for peace and reconciliation. The Archbishop of Seoul, Cardinal Yeom, shares his thoughts
 “One of the principal prayer intentions of this Jubilee is the reconciliation of the Korean peninsula. We pray especially for our northern brothers: May God have mercy on Korea.” This invocation came from the Archbishop of Seoul, Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, as tensions between North and South Korea escalate. Tensions which are causing great concern to the big world leaders. More than ever, the Far East is urgently in need of a geopolitical approach rooted in mercy, as observers say taking their cue from Pope Francis.

North Korea is threatening “pre-emptive and offensive nuclear strikes” against the United States and South Korea, which have launched joint military exercises following new sanctions introduced in recent days against Pyongyang, the toughest of the last twenty years, decided unanimously by the UN Security Council, with the approval of Russia and China.

The Korean Church didn’t stand idly by and watch but sent out an earnest appeal to the leaders of Seoul and Pyongyang, urging them to follow “paths of peace” on the East Asian peninsula.

The episcopal commission for “justice, peace and reconciliation” recalled the harm caused by a conflict that has not officially ended yet, encouraging efforts towards collaboration and dialogue which are prerequisites for peace to blossom once again. “Real peace is only possible through forgiveness and reconciliation,” bishops recalled, inviting people to think about the future generations and stressing that “the Church contributes to peace efforts through prayer”.

In a statement to Vatican Insider on this point, the Archbishop of Seoul, Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung recalled: “A special prayer movement was created on the occasion of the Jubilee of Mercy. The North may know that the Church is celebrating a Jubilee but the government will not allow special activities or celebrations. One will be able to open the “Holy Door” of his or her heart and be in spiritual communion with the universal Church.”

“Now there is a prayer chain connecting us to faithful beyond the bamboo curtain. In Seoul we have formed a sort of spiritual twinning with the 57 churches that existed in Pyongyang. Among the communities of our archdiocese, every parish has committed to praying for one of the 57 churches in North Korea even if they no longer exist. You can destroy a church’s walls but not the people of God: for us, this community of people is still alive.”

“The other way in which we can show our support,” Yeom added, “is humanitarian aid: the economic conditions faced by the people of the North are not good, there is a great deal of suffering and the Archdiocese of Seoul, along with Caritas Korea, see to the supply of concrete aid for their brothers and sisters who are experiencing serious poverty.”

Regarding Catholics in the North, Yeom, who is also apostolic administrator of Pyongyang, observed: “In North Korea there are no priests and nuns and relations with local communities are impossible, the government forbids them. The situation there is indeed difficult. We would like to send priests to celebrate mass during the most important solemnities of the Catholic liturgical calendar. However, given the current situation, the chances of this happening are slim. We are saddened by the current tensions but will continue to pray that new opportunities may arise.”

“We don’t know how many faithful there are left in the North,” the archbishop said “nor who they are: whenever – and these are very rare cases – a priest from the South celebrates a mass in the cathedral built by the government of the north in 1988, faces and people change. It is therefore impossible for us to tell whether they are real faithful. We are sailing in the dark. We know that in 1955 there were 50,000 Catholics in North Korea. But the then 20-year-olds are now 80. According to some estimates there are about 3,000 left. But unfortunately we have no way of checking this.”

The faith is followed secretly and silently, Yeom explained: “Many must live the faith as crypto-Christians: A Protestant priest told me that one faithful prayed before a white wall because he had hidden a cross beneath the wallpaper. Our Church has always shown a deep pastoral and human concern for the faithful of the North: they are our brothers and sisters.”

But hope is not lost: “I remember that at the start there was talk in the Church and in Korean society of a “mission” to the North, while the situation on the other side of the border was already difficult, both in faith terms and economic terms. Then, as of 1995, the trend changed and people began to speak about reconciliation. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was born.”

“In 1995,” the Korean cardinal concluded, “a meeting between faithful of the South and North took place in the United States, with the two pledging to pray constantly for one another. Since then, a reconciliation mass is celebrated every Tuesday in Seoul cathedral and prayers are said, inspired by the words of Francis of Assisi which are still valid today: Lord, make us instruments of your peace.”

Oh Vatican II has been building bridges alright.....straight to the Island of Heresy and Apostasy

Transgender Catholics hope to build bridges in the Church

LOS ANGELES – Tens of thousands of Catholics descend on Los Angeles each winter to sharpen their ministry skills, partaking in dozens of workshops and seminars about liturgy, prayer, Bible, and parish life as part of the LA Religious Education Congress. With close to 40,000 participants, it’s the largest annual gathering of Catholics in North America, a celebration of all things Catholic.
But event organizers this year took a cue from popular culture and included a new session, one that attracted a standing room only crowd of 750 people, nearly all of whom jumped to their feet for a sustained round of applause after talks from two young, committed Catholics.
The name of the session? “Transgender in the Church: One Bread, One Body.”

The Rev. Christopher Bazyouros, the director of the office of religious education for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, said including the discussion in the program was an important first step for the Church in grappling with an issue that exploded onto the national consciousness last June when Caitlyn Jenner appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair, announcing to the world that she is transgender.
“There aren’t many places for Catholics to discuss these things that are thoughtful, intentional, and that gathers people who have had this experience,” he said. “Many Catholics want information about this topic, they want things to help them understand this situation.”
To that end, conference organizers invited two transgender Catholics to speak, both of whom were surprised and gratified that they were included. And both used their presentations to urge acceptance by the wider universe of Catholics.

Anna Patti, a 23-year-old Michigan resident, told the crowd she didn’t believe “God made a mistake” with her, as some have said of transgender people.
In an interview after her presentation, she said having the opportunity to speak freely about her struggles and her joys was “an unexpectedly affirming experience.”
“I hadn’t realized how silenced I felt within the Church,” she said. “At Mass I always sit in the back row in the back corner, making myself as visibly small as possible. Here was the opposite, where people wanted to learn about an issue that is so often immediately condemned.”
“It was beautiful,” she said of the crowd’s reaction.
Mateo Williamson, a 24-year-old medical student at the Jesuit-run Loyola Medical School in Chicago, described with joy his deeply Catholic upbringing, part of a family that included several priests and nuns.
After his talk, he said many young people thanked him for sharing his story about living as a transgender man in the Church.
“Pope Francis’ charity, compassion, and call to mercy, it’s changed the tone in the Church,” he said. “He hasn’t been explicit about trans people, and there’s nothing in the Catechism, but there’s been a change among people in general to understand something they maybe haven’t encountered before.”
Pope Francis has spoken out repeatedly against so-called gender ideology, but Patti said she doesn’t interpret those comments as hostile to trans people. In fact, she thinks the pope’s remarks about gender not being just a social construct actually support the transgender community by pointing out that gender identity is innate.
While Catholicism doesn’t have much to say about transgender issues, at least not at the level of Church teaching, there is still tension about how the Church should respond to its transgender members.
In Rhode Island, for example, a Catholic middle and high school came under fire after a group of alumni discovered transgender students were banned from enrolling. Once confronted, school organizers promised to take another look at the policy.
This kind of uncertainty about how well the Church is equipped to deal with the needs of transgender Catholics and their families is part of the reason event organizers included the session, as a way to launch a conversation by inviting people to share their personal stories.
“We were just going with the pope’s desire to go out and encounter people, to hear their stories,” said Bazyouros, the LA priest who oversees the Congress. “We decided to see what would happen if we hosted a session for people to share their stories.”
“Sometimes issues are just these abstract things until you hear people speak about their journeys, and then you can begin to have a conversation,” he said.
Patti said that her Catholic faith has been central in her own journey, but that the culture war threatens the Church’s ability to help other transgender people.
“Catholic spirituality and the Catholic tradition can provide more nourishment, and also more sense into the trans experience, than anything else I’ve encountered,” she said.
“On the other hand, I think especially in American Catholicism, the culture war has latched itself parasitically onto Catholicism and has turned it into a politics game,” she said. “I think it makes settings that would otherwise be ideal for a trans person’s development turns it into a coffin, into the worst place imaginable.”
She said the Church also suffers from an image problem in the LGBT community, which turns some people off from exploring their faith.
“Honestly, I get judged for being Catholic because it’s just assumed that to be Catholic means hating LGBT people, more so even than what is central to our faith, the Eucharist,” she said.
Williamson said that he’s had both good and bad experiences in the Church.
At Loyola, for instance, he’s part of a group of students who meet for several hours each week to explore how Ignatian spirituality relates to medicine.
But last year, he said, he was hurt when his invitation from the White House to be one of 15,000 people on the South Lawn when President Barack Obama formally welcomed Pope Francis to the White House was criticized by the right as inappropriate.
“It was discouraging, because I’m trying to bring about this positive message,” he said. “We don’t want people to think that trans Catholics are a threat to the sanctity of any event.”
The LA Congress workshop sold out quickly, and some of the audience, which included several priests, seminarians, and nuns, said the fact it happened at all gave them hope about the future of the Church.
“I used to work at a youth shelter, and I would do some work with transgender youth who would come to the house and I didn’t have a lot of experience, so I wanted to learn more,” said Laura Wagner, who coordinates service trips at a Los Angeles Catholic high school.
“It was comforting to be in an audience of Catholic men and women, lay people, nuns, and priests, especially when this isn’t talked about a lot,” she added. “To be among other people who were very accepting and welcoming, and wanting to hear more about the issue, it gave me a lot of hope for the future of the Church.”
Kevin Stockbridge, a graduate student from Orange County, said the session was important because marginalized voices often go unheard in the Church.
“The trans experience is invisible in the Church right now, and while it’s visible in our society, we don’t know how to deal with that theologically,” he said. “Often times we deal with that through silence, so I think it’s important to voice real spiritual experiences of trans persons.”
Arthur FitzMaurice, who speaks frequently about LGBT issues in the Church and who organized the workshop, said he believes it was the largest discussion devoted to transgender issues and Catholicism in the Church’s history. He said that organizers have already asked him to plan a similar workshop next year.
While thrilled with their reception in Los Angeles, both Patti and Williamson said the Church has a long way to go before it’s a welcoming place for transgender people, but that they hope the Congress session is a step in the right direction.
“You don’t have to be an expert to make a difference,” Williamson said. “We need all kinds of people, not just experts, but people who can just respond to families in supportive ways.”
Patti, too, said that there is room for experts, but that it’s really just about love.
“We are on the ground level,” Patti said. “There are theological discussions to be had, canonical issues to be considered, and even the trans movement itself is constantly evolving. Being transgender in Catholicism might look different from what being transgender in a secular movement.”
She added, “But as all that’s all developing, at the end of the day, it comes down to, are you willing to accept another human being, a child of God?”

Have you got  your dose of Masonic/Marxist "equality" on today?

Vatican event calls for boosting women’s roles in the world and the Church

ROME — A recent Vatican conference heard strong calls for female empowerment in a world in which gender discrimination remains widespread, and in which, as one speaker put it, there are places where sexual violence and social bias is so pervasive that “it’s better to be a cow than a girl.”
As part of that picture, speakers pressed the Catholic Church to live up to its own talk about the importance of women, moving from an “occasional” to a “habitual” commitment to seeing women in leadership positions, even if not as ordained priests.
The gathering took place in the Casina Pio IV, home of the Pontifical Academy for Science, and marked the third consecutive year the Vatican staged an event in conjunction with the United Nations-sponsored International Women’s Day.
There were no Vatican officials in the lineup, but rather Catholic leaders and activists from around the world.
The event, called “Voices of Faith,” was a storytelling event designed for women to share their stories “in the spirit of Francis.”
“Today we share the incredible stories of people who are making our world a better place,” said Mary Lou Falcone, chairwoman of the group’s advisory board chairwoman.
Notably, none of the speakers reflected on the female role as mothers, usually a hallmark of Vatican speech on women’s issues.
Instead, one thrust of the discussion was the importance of making sure that when women do become wives and mothers, it’s a voluntary choice rather than the result of coercion or social pressure. A video presentation pointed out that in a developing country, a girl with an education will likely have fewer children.
On a panel about child brides, Judy Onyango of Kenya made the case that education protects girls from being married off at a young age. Another panelist, the Rev. George Menamprarampli of India, said that in some parts of his country, “it’s better to be a cow than a girl. You’ll be more respected as a cow than a young girl.”
Menamprarampli told the story of a woman in his country who was forced to marry at 14, and whose daughter married at the same age. Today, he said, the first woman is “a grandmother at the age of 30.”
One of the strongest presentations came from Cecilia Flores-Oebanda of the Philippines, founder of the Visayan Forum Foundation, which fights human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
A former child laborer herself, she was imprisoned in 1982 by her country’s dictatorial government, since she was one of the leaders of the guerrilla movement that fought the regime of Ferdinand Marcos. She was released after four years, and since then has been working to protect children and women.
After sharing grueling memories of her time in prison, she said that she found it very difficult to answer Pope Francis’ call to be merciful.
“How can I forgive and forget those men who cut boys in front of me?” she said. “Forgiveness doesn’t come easy. But after spending time with the survivors in our shelter, I learned how to do so. You don’t have courage without mercy, and you cannot move on without forgiving.”
An estimated 30 million people are victims of human trafficking today, forced into prostitution and to work in slave-like situations.
“One-year-olds are sold for cyber-sex, five-year-olds get to us with their bodies already lacerated,” Flores said.
Tuesday’s conference was a reminder that Catholic women have long been at the forefront of the fight for social equality, a point Pope Francis has recognized.
“[Nuns are] women of strength, fighters, with that spirit of courage which puts you on the front lines in the proclamation of the Gospel,” the pontiff said in an meeting with religious women and men last September during his trip to the United States.
“I wish to say ‘thank you,’ a big thank you… and to tell you that I love you very much.”
In the past three years, Francis also has spoken in favor of women’s rights on various occasions, saying that it’s a “Christian duty” to support the right to equal pay for equal work, and urged the United Nations to guarantee access to education for girls.
The pontiff also has called for more women in decision-making roles within the Church, the Vatican included.
During an intergenerational panel at the conference, several women asked the Vatican to work faster in giving women “a place in the table.”
“Women not only need to be in leadership, but in visible positions of leadership,” said Nicole Perone, a student in Yale’s divinity school. She raised a question many have asked before her: Why can’t there be a female head of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, for instance, or for the Vatican department on family?
“Do we really mean what we say, when we say all are welcome in the Church?” Perone asked.
Carolyn Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services in the United States, pointed out that 80 percent of the Church’s lay ministers today are women. She also highlighted the fact that in many fields, the Church is ahead of the secular world when it comes to women in positions of leadership, noting that the share of women serving as presidents of Catholic universities in the United States is higher than among their secular counterparts.
“We have women leaders in various positions,” Woo said. “The issue is taking it from the occasional to the habitual.”
She also called for women to be engaged in the Church as “family” and not as “guest workers,” and warned against stalling the conversation because the “loudest voice” in favor of women is that lobbying for female ordination.
“Ordination is off the table,” she said. “[But] there’s a suspicion when women speak: is this leading to female ordination?” She said this is unfortunate, because by becoming suspicious, “we stop hearing the voices of women.”
“Different popes, Francis and Benedict [XVI] referred to the term of ‘feminine genius’,” she said. “I also think of women’s sensitivity, their ability to care, it’s wonderful, but what about women as social critics and social activists, like Dorothy Day?”
Woo suggested the Church should encourage not only women who are tender and nurturing, but also those who are tough and “scandalous” such as Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement and a fierce social critic.

Giovanni Battista Montini to be a Saint? 

Reports out of Rome are that a second "miracle" is being attributed to Paul VI thus opening now the pathway for his canonisation.

Look, the Saint Machine is considered "infallible." 


He presided over the "self-demolition" and opened the door for the "smoke of Satan" and one encyclical does not erase the damage this man did to the Catholic Church.


Oh well, who am I to judge?


Migrant Stations of the Cross’ at LA Christ Cathedral

ORANGE, Cal. – An “art exhibit” at a California cathedral has co-opted the Stations of the Cross to highlight the plight of illegal immigrants.
The exhibit, “Migrant Stations of the Cross,” is on display at Christ Cathedral Cultural Center during Lent from February 21– March 6. The cathedral is located in the diocese of Orange in Southern California, headed by Bp. Kevin Vann. The bishop’s Twitter account retweeted photos of the exhibit February 26.

The Migrant Stations were assembled by Deborah McCullough from what she calls “sacred artifacts” she found along the U.S.-Mexico border, including dirty, worn-out, bloody tennis shoes, letters, pictures, messages, toothbrushes, blankets, school bags and other items discarded by those illegally migrating from Mexico to the United States.

At a 2013 immigration summit hosted by the diocese of Tucson, McCullough was asked to create an exhibit for the cause. Aided by three attendees from the diocese of Los Angeles, McCullough made an exhibit called “A Journey of Hope: Via Crucis,” patterned roughly after the Stations of the Cross. Its first showing was at the 2014 REC (Religious Education Congress) in Tucson.
McCullough is a member of the Tucson Samaritans, a group that ventures into the desert looking for refugees. explains,
I hope my art provokes discussion around the issue of immigration, of the why, the how and the human factors involved. It is my objective to create a bridge between the rhetoric and the politics of a political issue and the human faces and the human ordeals people actually face on a daily basis. I hope to change hearts and to provoke action.
McCullough’s stations focus less on the Passion of Christ than on the plight of illegal immigrants. For instance, the First Station, “Jesus is Condemned to Death,” is co-opted by McCullough into “Poverty Imposes the Cross of Migration.”
The Second Station, “Jesus Carries His Cross,” becomes “Stranger in a Strange Land.” The Third Station, “Jesus Falls the First Time,” is retitled “Human Rights Ignored.” The 10th Station, “Jesus is Stripped of His Garments,” is called “Another Fall.”
Some Catholics may resent the depiction as politicizing the Passion of Christ, with its focus on man instead of God, on political activism instead of prayer and the grace needed to fix such problems.


Archdiocese of Milwaukee 15 Year Average Mass Count December 2015; Should Hit Zero by 2040!

Posted by Terrence Berres on 3/6/16 at BadgerCatholic.blogspot.com/2016/03/archdiocese-of-milwaukee-15-year.html
This report is posted at our Archdiocese’s website.
Counted Sunday Mass attendance declined from 224,953 in 2001 to 139,626 in 2015 [out of about 625,293 Catholics in the Archdiocese, or about 22% attendance]. The total decrease was 85,327, or 30%.
The average attendance decrease was about 5,688 per year. If that numerical average rate of decline continues, I calculate attendance will be zero in 2040. The report does not include any demographic breakdown. My subjective impression is Mass attendees are aging along with me, and we’ll all be dead or otherwise unable to attend by 2040.
The report shows a 1,326 increase from 2014 to 2015. While that might be that start of a trend, there was a larger increase of 2,146 between 2009 and 2010 which was not. These are the only year-to-year increases since 2001.
Overall membership numbers vary. The hard number is 2014 Status Animarum Membership of 462,503. Kennedy Report 2015 Membership refers, I assume, to The Official Catholic Directory published by P.J. Kenedy & Sons, and shows membership of 568,448. The Archdiocese’s report there says “(CARA = 10% Higher)” which I interpret to mean The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate estimates actual membership at 10% higher than the “Kennedy” figure, or about 625,293.
Mass attendance percentage varies depending on the membership number used. The higher the membership, the lower the attendance percentage.
The CARA estimate is probably the basis for membership numbers currently used publicly by our Archdiocese, such as “over 600,000 Catholics” in the blurb for the 2016 Catholic Stewardship Appeal at the foot of the Bishops page at its website. It wasn’t so long ago that the soft number used was 700,000. That’s the number that still appears at the Faith In Our Future page at its website.
This May it will be 20 years since I went through “discernment” for Parish Council. The only issue I raised, or “surfaced”, was increasing Mass attendance. Our then-pastor was adamantly opposed. If not eye-opening, that was eye-focusing.
(via our current pastor’s column in today’s bulletin)
P.S. After posting the above, I recalled this 2006 post at my blog about a conference on evangelization at our Archdiocesan headquarters, and on an article on it by Sam “stoic expressions” Lucero. In the post I noted the rate total Church membership in our Archdiocese was then reported to be declining and extrapolated from that rate to zero membership by … 2040.

Excerpts of a Ghanaian "Catholic" liturgy at St. Michael's Church, Berlin, Germany 


Vatican II openly promoting FreeMasonic/democratic principles
Shared convictions about human rights, rule of law, democratic values and world peace provide a solid and enduring basis for the diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Republic of China

Vatican friendship with Taipei based on shared values: Holy See

 Taipei, March 6 (CNA) Shared convictions about human rights, rule of law, democratic values and world peace provide a solid and enduring basis for the diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Republic of China, the Holy See's representative in Taipei said Sunday.

Monsignor Paul Russell (陸思道), chargé d'affaires ad interim of the Holy See, made the remarks at a mass to mark the third anniversary of the election of Pope Francis at the Taipei Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Datong District.

The event was attended by Vice President-elect Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) and Vice Foreign Minister Leo Chen-jan Lee (李澄然).

Russell said that "our diplomatic relations, which date from Oct. 23, 1942, are based on shared convictions about the dignity of the human person; promotion of human rights, especially religious freedom and freedom of conscience; respect for the rule of law among nations and within nations; respect for basic democratic principles and the promotion of democratic values, including freedom of thought and expression; a common commitment to the promotion of peace in the world and a reduction of tensions among peoples and nations, especially in this area of the world; and the desire to have friendly relationships with all peoples and nations."

Russell said that "Pope Francis' inherent goodness and desire to reach out have been very evident in the relationship between the ROC and the Holy See."

"These are not only nice words, but the expression of a reality which -- for those who want to see it -- is obvious in many concrete facts."

Quoting the pope's words that "true power is service" and good shepherds should be ones "living with the smell of the sheep," Chen described the pope as "the visible face of the invisible God."

With the pope's prayers for Taiwan, Chen, a devout Catholic who was bestowed an Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in 2013, said he "believes our new government can demonstrate a new heaven and a new earth."

Russell said the Holy See and the ROC have exchanged a large number of high-level visits, including a trip by President Ma Ying-jeou and his wife to the Vatican to attend Pope Francis' Installation Mass in March 2013.

"This marked the first time in history that an ROC president had met a reigning pontiff," he added.

Russell also noted that Cardinal Versaldi, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, will come to Taiwan in May.

"Perhaps we can expand the provisions of our 2011 education cooperation agreement," he said.

On Dec. 2, 2011, the Holy See and the ROC signed an education cooperation agreement that was ratified by both parties and took effect in December 2012. It is the first-ever international agreement between the two sides.

Vice Foreign Minister Lee noted that the pope sent his condolences to the victims of the Feb. 6 earthquake in Tainan and made a donation to them, while an exhibition of 60 artifacts from the Holy See is currently underway at the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

These demonstrate the solid relations and cultural exchanges between the two countries, said Lee.

On the Taipei-Vatican ties, Russell said that "whenever there is an important disaster in the world and the pope calls for international solidarity, the ROC -- perhaps unique of all the countries of the world -- never fails to respond to the call. Perhaps the ROC and the Holy See will be able to announce important new cooperative initiatives in the future in the area of expanded humanitarian assistance, especially healthcare," he said.

Russell also pointed out that the Holy See Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Daoist Religious Authorities will hold the first ever official high-level Christian-Daoist dialogue in Taiwan in October.

In 2017, the same Pontifical Council will hold the sixth high-level worldwide Christian-Buddhist dialogue in Taiwan. 


 Sure, why not... news!

Non-Catholics invited to the confessional

Clerics invite non-Roman Catholics to come to confessional to 'say what’s on their heart', as part of initiative launched by Pope Francis 

The Roman Catholic Church is inviting non-Catholics to sample the experience of going to confession in an effort to promote the idea of forgiveness.
As part of a global 24-hour “confession drive” led by Pope Francis this weekend, churches in England and Wales are also encouraging non-Catholics to go to confessionals to speak in strict confidence to a priest about problems or issues in their own lives.
Unlike confession itself – which, as one of the Church’s sacraments is only open to Catholics – they will not have to go through formal steps of expressing penitence for their sins.

Nor will they be given formal absolution at the end but will be offered a blessing.
But senior clergy hope it will offer non-Catholics a similar experience of unburdening themselves to a listener duty-bound not divulge what they have said.
The idea was put forward by the Bishop of Plymouth, the Rt Rev Mark O’Toole, who is also the overseeing plans in England and Wales, for the special confession drive, known as “24 hours for the Lord”, which runs until Saturday evening.
Millions of Catholics around the world are expected to take part in the initiative – part of the special “Year of Mercy” recently launched by Pope Francis – attending their local church to receive prayer and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, better known as confession.
• 'Catholic' confession is good for the soul – says Archbishop of Canterbury
Launching the plans for England and Wales, the bishop said: “Confession continues to be a priceless treasure in my own life, and I hope every Catholic can avail of its gift more deeply.”

Pope Francis (R) listens to the confession of a man in the park of Quinta Da Boa Vista in Rio de Janeiro 

Pope Francis listens to the confession of a man in the park of Quinta Da Boa Vista in Rio de Janeiro  Photo: Getty Images
But he added: “Even if you are not Catholic, come and see.
“You are welcome in our churches, there will be time and space for prayer, and you can approach the priest and chat with him, and receive a blessing.
“This weekend, do come and join us and allow God to use the priest as an instrument of grace and blessing in your life, too.”
• Pope Francis: 'I could have been in jail if I wasn’t pontiff’
Fr Christopher Thomas, General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said: “It will be a safe space for them where they know that what they say will not be repeated and at the end we will also give them a blessing – rather than absolution, which is part of the sacramental process.

“It will be a safe space to say what’s on their heart.”
He added that confession should not be viewed as a “punishment”.
“I think it would be fair to say that Catholics who go to confession go with a bit of a knot in their stomach, because they are confronting their own life,” he said.
“But they leave with a skip in their step.”

Francis calls for a New Crusade!!!! NOT...just  more dialogue with the hopes of no one converting...

"Pope"Watch: Dialogue

The Pope has given a response to the murder by Jihadists of the nuns from Mother Teresa’s order in Yemen that is fairly typical of the post Vatican II Church:
Aden, Yemen (CNA/EWTN News) – “His Holiness Pope Francis was shocked and profoundly saddened to learn of the killing of four Missionaries of Charity and twelve others at a home for the elderly in Aden,” reads the telegram, released Saturday and signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
The Pope “sends the assurance of his prayers for the dead and his spiritual closeness to their families and to all affected from this act of senseless and diabolical violence,” the message rea
“He prays that this pointless slaughter will awaken consciences, lead to a change of heart, and inspire all parties to lay down their arms and take up the path of dialogue.”
Go here to read the rest.  The last sentence is typical of the reaction of Church officials to violence since Vatican II:  a call for dialogue, as if the jihadists committed murder because of an insufficient gab fest.  I assume that no one around the Pope has the guts to tell him certain hard facts:
  1. The Jihadists who committed the murder believe they are serving God.
  2. The world wide publicity is precisely what they wanted.
  3. The Jihadists aren’t interested in dialogue but rather in gaining control of the Islamic world.
  4. If the Church cannot protect them, is it not sheer idiocy or worse to send nuns into third world hell holes like Yemen?
  5. Perhaps the next time your holiness should restrict yourself to condemning the murders and extending prayers and sympathies.  Calling for such fantasies as dialogue with the Jihadists merely makes the Church look fatuous and impotent.


Church Urged to Promote Laity and Ecumenism: Apostolic Nuncio

Inaugurating the 28th Plenary Assembly of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) of the Latin Church, in Bangalore on Sunday 6 March 2016, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, the Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal, exhorted the Church in India to promote the Laity and Ecumenism.
He said: “There is a need for constant dialogue and sustained formation of the laity in a transparent, credible and accountable manner so that they may truly understand their role in the Church. In today’s socio-political scenario, it is crucial to recognize the dignity of the laity and their participation in the mission and decision making of the Church so that they become sharers in Christ’s mission”.
“Our Christian witness to the Gospel in a pluralistic world includes, engaging in dialogue with people of different faiths, religion and cultures.” “In the special context of India, the relationship between the Catholic and other non-Catholic Churches and ecclesial communities is progressing gradually. However, several factors still separate us and hinder us from coming together around the table of the Lord.” “In a time of increasingly marked secularization, and religious discriminations, Christians have to be united among themselves and extend a united and true common witness to the nation” mentioned the Apostolico Nuncio.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the CCBI President in his Presidential message, made an appeal to pray for the persecuted Christians in the world, especially for those Christians in the Middle East and expressed the concern of the Indian Church for the martyrs of Yemen. “We feel the pain even more because one of the sisters is our very own from Jharkhand. All of them tried to live the charism of Mother Teresa by giving themselves totally in service and in the process lost their lives. This killing was senseless but will bear fruit. We pray the blood they shed will bring peace and the presence of Jesus Christ to the strife torn area” said His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias.
Bishops also requested the authorities to take immediate and necessary steps for the release of the missionary priest Rev. Fr Tom Uzhunnalil sdb, from Ramapuram, Kerala, who was abducted by the terrorists.
Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão the Vice President of the CCBI and the Archbishop of Goa and Daman presided over the inaugural meeting and read the message of the President of the Conference. The Secretary General of the CCBI Bishop Varghese Chakkalakal of Calicut presented the annual report. Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore welcomed the gathering. Rev. Dr. Stephen Alathara, Deputy Secretary General of the CCBI proposed the vote of thanks.
The one day meeting of the CCBI discussed matters affecting the Latin Catholic Church in India. There are 131 dioceses and 180 Bishops of the Latin Church in India. The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) is the largest Episcopal Conference in Asia and fourth largest in the world.
The Catholic edition of the New Living Translation (NLT) of the Bible was released during the meeting. “Liturgy and Life” a book on liturgy edited by Rev. Dr. Ayres Fernandes and Rev. Dr. Stephen Alathara was also released.

Buffoon comment of the week

Let’s drop the obsession with criticism of Pope Francis

On Monday night I was in the diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota, to give the annual Bishop Raymond Lucker lecture. Lucker served as the bishop there for a quarter-century, from 1976 to 2000, and is remembered in New Ulm primarily as a caring pastor who loved his people and his place.
Nationally, however, Lucker is also remembered as a progressive who sometimes broke ranks with Pope John Paul II during the 1980s and 1990s, including over birth control and the ordination of women. He also criticized John Paul II’s decision to publish a universal catechism, seeing it as unnecessary and overly centralizing.
That legacy comes to mind in light of one of the most persistent narratives about Pope Francis, which is likely to get a new lease on life this week as we approach the third anniversary of his election on Sunday.
In a word, that narrative is “blowback.”
Because Francis is popularly seen as a progressive-minded maverick, there’s a deeply ingrained belief that he must be making conservative bishops angry, both in the Vatican and around the world, and that some of those perceived enemies must be maneuvering to undercut him.
That narrative was reinforced this week with news that an official Catholic newspaper linked to Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City has taken the pope to the woodshed, suggesting in an editorial last Sunday that the pontiff’s criticism of Mexican bishops during his recent trip to the country for sometimes acting like “princes” was unwarranted, and that the pope was the victim of “bad advice.”
To this day, one of the two or three most popular questions I get, both on the lecture circuit and in media interviews about the pope, concerns which bishops are for him and which are against him. Now, Rivera Carrera definitely has made the cut as someone who’ll be seen as part of the latter camp.
Before getting carried away in speculation about internal power struggles, however, there are three points that ought to be made.
1. Same old, same old.
There is absolutely nothing new about the idea that not every bishop sings “Alleluia!” at whatever the pope says or does.
In truth, there was tremendous internal resistance over almost three decades to St. John Paul II, as the Lucker story illustrates. For much of the 1980s and 1990s, it was widely understood that an axis of moderate-to-progressive prelates in important places, including Cardinals Joseph Bernardin in the United States, Basil Hume in the United Kingdom, and Carlo Maria Martini in Italy, constituted more or less a “loyal opposition” to important parts of John Paul’s agenda.
If anything, the internal blowback to Pope Benedict XVI was actually far more vicious than anything Francis has faced. At one stage, two respected Italian journalists published a book called “Attack on Ratzinger” documenting the ways that various forces in the Church, including some Vatican officials and bishops around the world, had not only criticized Benedict, but actively subverted his agenda.
Reaching further back in time, it’s well-known that many conservative bishops in the early 1960s weren’t exactly thrilled with Pope John XXIII’s decision to call an ecumenical council. Later on, scores of bishops either quietly or noisily complained about much of Pope Paul VI’s agenda — liberals especially with his reaffirmation of the ban on birth control, and conservatives with his liturgical reforms.
Indeed, the “pope v. bishops” narrative goes all the way back to the beginning, with clashes described in the New Testament between Peter and Paul.
The truth of the matter is that today there are more than 5,000 Catholic bishops in the world, and the idea that all those alpha males are going to be in lockstep all the time is simply a fantasy. The difference between Catholicism and the Borg is that resistance may not be futile, but it is absolutely inevitable.
Yet there’s no real indication that the blowback experienced by Francis is any greater than that of his immediate predecessors, or that it’s had much impact in terms of getting in his way. The only novelty today is that in a media-saturated world, grumbling that once would have remained confined to insider circles now becomes an instant global cause célèbre.
2. What goes around, comes around.
There’s often a degree of hypocrisy in how people react to bishops who criticize a given decision or statement by Pope Francis.
For decades, media outlets and liberal Catholic reformers would lionize prelates who publicly defied John Paul II or Benedict XVI, styling them as prophets and true pastors. Today, many of those same people will paint bishops who strike dissenting notes under Francis as disloyal and saboteurs.
An equal-and-opposite conservative form of hypocrisy can be found among those who not long ago screamed for bishops who questioned the pope or the Vatican to be drawn and quartered, but who now line up around the block to get books signed or to snap selfies with prelates who challenge Francis.
In other words, whether “blowback” is perceived as an act of courage, or of scandal, often depends less on the fact of it and more on the content.
3. Sometimes, an opinion is just an opinion.
Third, the mere fact of registering a contrary opinion does not in itself constitute “resistance.”
In fact, Francis has called openly for robust debate on issues in the Church. During his two synods, he demanded that bishops “speak boldly and listen humbly.” When a bishop does speak out on an issue, therefore, he may well understand himself not to be defying the pope, but serving him.
So far, I’ve cast this discussion in terms of basic political science. There’s also the spiritual point that whatever else you think of them, most bishops are true believers who make a good-faith effort to practice the “religious submission of intellect and will” with regard to the pope of which canon law speaks.
Of course, some bishops will do so with greater enthusiasm than others, but that’s mostly human nature rather than dissent.
Perhaps as an anniversary present to Francis, we can get past the titillation over seeing bishops criticize the pope, which has been a feature of Catholic life since time immemorial, and drill down to the real question: In any given case, what exactly is the objection being expressed, and is there any merit to it?
That, I suspect, is a conversation Pope Francis himself would be the first to welcome.

German Catholic Bishops Publish Interview Promoting the Idea of Women Cardinals

March 8, 2016
Maike Hickson
The Vatican celebrates Women’s Day on 8 March, 2016. With the help of the organization Voices of Faith ( voicesoffaith.org/ ), an event is taking place at the Vatican where women “share their stories of strengthening the Church’s mission through their leadership,” according to the website of Voices of Faith. This event is the occasion for an interview with the journalist Gudrun Sailer ( www.katholisch.de/aktuelles/aktuelle-artikel/mehr-auf-den-rat-von-frauen-horen ) which has been published today on the official website of the German Catholic Bishops. Sailer has been working for the German Branch of Vatican Radio since 2003. She has written extensively on the role of women in the Vatican. In the interview with katholisch.de, Sailer bemoans that for women in the Church today it is still a problem that “they are often not being recognized due to a strong hierarchical thinking.” She adds that, in Germany and Austria, the bishops are increasingly aware that “something has to be done in order to be more just to women and in order to involve them more in decision processes.”
Sailer also praises Pope Francis for his having opened up more the discussion about this issue of the role of women in the Vatican. She says: “I think Pope Francis really succeeded to open up this field during the three years since he has been in his office.” When reminded by the website katholisch.de that Pope Francis says that female priests and cardinals are not going to be allowed, Sailer answers: “The problem lies in Canon Law. Only priests are allowed to make legally binding decisions concerning other priests. But there are propositions that male and female canon lawyers find together some room for laymen.” In her eyes, not every position which nowadays is taken by a priest requires an ordination. “On the contrary, rather few of them,” she added. Sailer continues:
There is also the proposal to create a new role for women in the Church. The cardinalate developed only in the 11th century – as an office of the Church, not established by Jesus. It would be possible to create such a new counselling office for women. […] I think it would be good to create such an office and to see how it develops.
In Sailer’s eyes, there is today a need in the Church “to listen more to the counsel of women.”
Exactly the same interview has now also been selected for posting by the official website of the Swiss Catholic Bishops ( www.kath.ch/newsd/neue-aera-der-oeffnung-vatikan-redakteurin-gudrun-sailer-ueber-frauen-der-kirche/ ).