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    Pope Francis Tag

    Last week, we reported that faithful Catholics threw primitive figurines in the Tiber that were used in a Vatican garden ceremony and placed by an altar in Rome’s Church of Santa Maria in Transpontina. The Catholic men were offended that the "Pachamama" statues were more akin to fertility goddesses than sacred Catholic images. In an apologetic statement, Pope Frances indicated that the statues have now been dredged up and may be displayed again.

    During a gathering of South American bishops at the Vatican, Pope Francis urged them to consider dropping celibacy requirements for some priests to address a severe priest shortage in remote areas of the region.
    The three-week Synod of Bishops for the Amazon also will address crucial regional topics ranging from protection of rainforests and local cultures to climate change, migration and clean water.

    As a Catholic, I have been following the response of the Catholic Church to the detailed testimony of former Vatican diplomat Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò that the Vatican knew about the sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by an American cardinal and covered it up. So far, American Catholics are giving the pontiff low marks for his handling of the scandal.
    Just 3 out of 10 American Catholics say the pope has done an “excellent” or “good” job handling the church’s sex abuse crisis. The approval percentage is the lowest that Catholics in the U.S. have given the pope since the Pew Research Center began tracking views of his performance more than four years ago.

    Pope Francis has just concluded an emergency summit with U.S. bishops over the growing sex abuse crisis and cover-up scandal that has impacted the Roman Catholic Church in the wake of the revelations in by a Pennsylvania grand jury and the details offered in a letter recently published by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who served a a Vatican diplomat in Washington D.C. from 2011 to 2016.

    A shocking 11-page letter by a former apostolic nuncio (a papal diplomat) to the United States has rocked the Catholic world after it was widely released last week. The testimony offered by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, 77, who served as apostolic nuncio in Washington D.C. from 2011 to 2016, accuses several senior church officials of complicity in covering up allegations of sexual abuse of minors and young men by former Archbishop of Washington D.C., Theodore McCarrick. Viganò also claims that Pope Francis knew about sanctions imposed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI, chose to ignore those sanctions, and allowed McCaarrick to become a power-player in determining church appointments in this country.

    About six days after a report dropped that detailed the child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania, Pope Francis has released a statement tearing apart those involved in the abuse and cover-up. From The Washington Examiner:
    "'If one member suffers, all suffer together with it' (1 Cor 12:26)," the pope wrote in his statement. "These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons."

    Ireland has long been seen as a bastion of the Catholic Church, but its May 25 vote to end national ban on abortion is evidence that the nation is taking a secular turn. Interestingly, Pope Francis was silent during the campaigns on this matter and will not visit Ireland. I suspect that this lack of action is at least partly driven by the fact that progressives are on the opposite side of this issue. It would take a saint to endure the social justice scolding that would have ensued if Pope Francis interjected the Catholic religion into this matter.

    When Pope Francis became head of the Catholic church, many were hopeful that the dynamic and humble priest would blossom into a great leader. It appears now that the Pope's social justice agenda is not appealing to a good portion of the Catholic faithful. Several dozen Catholic clergy members and lay scholars have presented Pope Francis with a document known as a "formal filial correction", accusing him of propagating heresies concerning marriage, the moral life, and reception of the sacraments.

    Last week, the European Court of Human Rights caused international outrage when the judges decided to side with British courts to remove life support for 10-month-old Charlie Gard, refusing to allow his parents to take him to America for trial therapy, even though they raised more than $1 million for it. Gard suffers from a rare genetic condition, which has caused brain damage, and he cannot breathe on his own. The Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life also decided to side with the UK courts instead of taking a stand for Gard's life. After immense criticism, Pope Francis released a statement urging Gard's parents to do everything they can to save their child's life.

    It is being reported that, despite the numerous attack on Christians in Egypt, the head of the Catholic Church has shunned using an armored vehicle when he tours the nation's capital during his upcoming trip.
    ...[Pope Francis] will fly from Rome to Cairo on Friday for a two-day visit intended to build on inter-faith dialogue with Muslim leaders and to show solidarity with beleaguered Christian communities in the Middle East. Despite his vulnerability as a potential terrorist target, the Pope will not travel through the streets of Cairo in an armoured vehicle, the Vatican said on Monday.

    Apparently, Pope Francis shares Obama's view of Middle Eastern Christian refugees.  Despite the State Department's reluctant statement that ISIS is committing genocide on Christians and on other Muslims throughout the Middle East, the Obama admin has been deporting and denying refuge to Middle Eastern refugees . . .  those who are Christian, that is. Pope Francis has also decided to open the Vatican exclusively to Muslim refugees. The Daily Mail reports:

    A Christian brother and sister from Syria say they have been 'let down' by the Pope after he left them behind in a Lesbos refugee camp despite promises they would be given a new life in Italy.

    Roula and Malek Abo say they were two of the lucky 'chosen 12' refugees selected by the Vatican to be taken from the desperate camp and housed in Rome.

    But what seemed like the chance of a lifetime was cruelly snatched away when they were told the following day they couldn't go. Instead three Muslim families were taken.

    Europeans are facing a serious set of problems associated with the influx of Middle Eastern migrants and refugees. You can read LI's coverage here.  Following are some additional developments:

    German Water Park Forced to Segregate Men and Women

    Following a series of sexual assaults at its facility, a German water park has developed a plan to segregate men and women. The Daily Mail reports:

    A German water park that has been the scene of two sex attacks by migrants have announced plans to segregate men and women.

    The plan will involve banning men and teenage boys from using the waterslides at certain times when only women, girls and very young boys will be allowed access.

    It comes days after police arrested two asylum seekers from Afghanistan for a sex attack on two girls on the slides at the Arriba water park in Norderstedt in the Schleswig-Holstein region.

    The drama that ensued over Pope Francis' remarks about wall-building, Donald Trump, and Christianity last week overshadowed another intriguing papal statement about contraception. Catholic doctrine bans the use of artificial contraception. In remarks to the press, Pope Francis suggested that some forms of birth control may be used to prevent the spread of the Zika virus.
    Pope Francis indicates that women exposed to the Zika virus may be permitted to use contraception to avoid pregnancy. Speaking to reporters on the papal plane on Thursday, Francis says: ‘Avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil’ and in certain circumstances it may be permitted - he referred to the exceptional dispensation issued by Pope Paul VI, who allowed Catholic nuns in Africa to take birth control pills in the face of the risk of being raped."

    While Pope Francis' remarks about Donald Trump were off target, a laser attack during his flight to Mexico was not.
    The airline that carried Pope Francis to Mexico says the plane carrying the pontiff was hit by a laser light from the ground as it arrived on Friday. Alitalia says no one was hurt and the aircraft landed safely. It said Wednesday that the crew notified the Mexico City airport's control tower of the incident. Officials around the world have been increasingly concerned about people training laser pointers on jetliners. In some cases, crewmembers have suffered eye damage.
    There is no indication Trump was involved.  (Joke) The number of attacks have dramatically increased, hitting 5,300 last year. However, as demonstrated by a recent flight from London that was mere days before the papal trip, the boldness of the attacks has escalated.
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