In defiance of the Vatican, Catholics are leading the fight to legalize gay marriage

A revolution of sorts is afoot among adherents of the world’s largest Christian denomination, and it’s not likely to be curbed any time soon. This upheaval is changing social mores in much of the Western world. It also poses a distinct challenge to leaders of the denomination involved in the matter. Frank Bruni has the story HERE: Take a look at this list of countries: Belgium, Canada, Spain, Argentina, Portugal, Brazil, France, Uruguay, Luxembourg and Ireland. Name two things that they have in common. They don’t share a continent, obviously. Or a language. But in all of them, the Roman Catholic Church has more adherents, at least nominally, than any other religious denomination does. And all of them belong to the vanguard of 20 nations that have decided to make same-sex marriage legal. In fact, countries with a Catholic majority or plurality make up half of those where two men or two women can now wed or will soon be able to. (Snip) We journalists too often use “the Catholic Church” as a synonym for the pope, the cardinals and teachings that have the Vatican’s stamp of approval. But in Europe and the Americas in particular, the church is much more fluid than that. It harbors spiritually inclined people paying primary obeisance to their own consciences, their own senses of social justice. That impulse and tradition are as Catholic as any others.  ...

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On matters of sex and marriage, Catholics are more liberal than the Vatican and everyone else

The conservative wing of the Roman Catholic hierarchy made a big fuss last week about the moderate tone of a preliminary report on a closely-watched synod on family issues. The report was seen by critics as too squishy on matters of homosexuality, divorce and premarital cohabitation. But this backlash from orthodox prelates seems to fly in the face of prevailing attitudes among rank-and-file Catholics, as we see HERE: In the U.S, the General Social Survey, which is conducted by the research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, has been asking about divorce and gay rights since the early 1970s, and about cohabitation since 1994…(typically at least every two years).  In their answers, American Catholics consistently have shown themselves to be more tolerant of divorce, gay rights and unmarried cohabitation than have American Protestants and Americans overall — especially in recent years. In all but one of the 14 GSS polls over the last quarter century, more Catholics than Protestants said divorce should be easier to get by law. In every survey since 1973, more Catholics than Protestants said gays should be allowed to speak publicly, teach and have books they wrote available in libraries. (If those questions don’t sound like they go very far by today’s standards, keep in mind that the Vatican isn’t going all that far, either, and that when these questions were asked in 1973, more than a third of Americans didn’t agree — half, in the case of teaching.) Also in each survey, more Catholics than Protestants said gay sex was “not wrong at all.” And all four times the GSS asked whether a couple living together unmarried was acceptable, more Catholics than Protestants said it...

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Right-wing activist says Catholic Church has a Marxism problem

The first thing you need to know about Cliff Kincaid (above) of Accuracy in Media is that he has accused Fox News of having unsavory ties with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Is that wacky or what? It’s not surprising, then, that Kincaid is now campaigning against creeping communism in the Catholic Church,  as we see HERE: Pope Francis’ recent publication highlights the “troubling” influence of Marxism within the Catholic Church, according to Accuracy in Media director Cliff Kincaid. “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m not here to beat up on the pope,” he said in a video recently uploaded to YouTube. “That’s not my job. But I can read. I can read this document. I can see what he is saying, and I can tell you right now that this is a very, very disappointing document, and it makes me wonder about the future of the Roman Catholic Church in this world and what they’re heading towards.” The pontiff released his Evangelii Gadium, or Joy of the Gospel, on Tuesday. The document attacked trickle-down economics as a “naive” theory that has “never been confirmed by the facts” and warned that unfettered capitalism “tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits.” Kincaid said that his website, religiousleftexposed.com, had reported on Marxism inside the Catholic Church. “There is a Marxism problem here, and we’ve got lengthy reports and documents that go into that… I’ve got videos up on that website… demonstrating where the Roman Catholic Church is headed.” He warned that the Catholic Church supported one world government and said Pope Francis used “camouflaged and flowery language.” Kincaid claimed the Evangelii Gadium was consistent with other Catholic documents that endorsed “what we might euphemistically call a new world order, a new world economic...

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Right-wing noise machine says Obama plans to close Vatican embassy

The gullibility of America’s wingnuts is being tested yet again — this time by a false report that the Obama administration is planning to close the U.S. embassy to the Holy See. But, of course, the people who want to believe this crap are going to believe it, no matter what the facts are. Judd Legum has the story HERE: The internet is ablaze with some fairly shocking news: Obama is closing the Vatican embassy! “Obama’s call to close Vatican embassy is ‘slap in the face’ to Roman Catholics,” proclaims the Washington Times, in an article that has attracted more than 2700 comments and was prominently featured on the Drudge Report. “OBAMA ‘INSULTS’ CATHOLICS IN VATICAN-EMBASSY SHUTDOWN,” reports WND. The Daily Caller piles on with “Catholics furious over Obama plan to close Vatican embassy site.” Breitbart reports that “the Obama administration is trying to diminish and discredit the Vatican’s role in the world because it’s pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious freedom values is at odds with the Regime’s pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage stance.” So you might be surprised to learn that, in fact, Obama is not closing the embassy — or diminishing U.S. diplomatic relations with the Holy See in any way. There are no embassies for any country in Vatican City itself — there is simply no room. All countries locate their embassies in the city of Rome. The United States has decided to move its embassy from its current location — an unremarkable converted residence — to the same compound as the U.S. Embassy to Italy. It will have it’s own separate building and a separate entrance on a different street. The new building is actually a tenth of a mile closer to the Vatican than the old one. There will be no reduction in staff or activities. This hasn’t stopped 5 former U.S. envoys to the Vatican — including James Nicholson, the former chair of the Republican National Committee — from protesting. Nicholson characterized the move as “a massive downgrade.” Raymond Flynn, the first ambassador under Clinton, told the National Catholic Review that “It’s not just those who bomb churches and kill Catholics in the Middle East who are our antagonists, but it’s also those who restrict our religious freedoms and want to close down our embassy to the Holy See.” Flynn “described the move as part of broader secular hostility to religious groups.” The plans for the move actually started under President Bush, whose administration purchased the buildings adjacent to the U.S. Embassy to Italy. The State Department says the move, which will actually occur in 2015, will save $1.4 million per year and allow for greater...

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More signs that conservative Catholics are concerned about Pope Francis

Last month, I told you HERE that certain right-wing Catholics, especially in America, are upset about what they perceive as a liberal tone to public statements made by Pope Francis. And now Laurie Goldstein has THIS REPORT on the matter: When Pope Francis was elected in March, Bridget Kurt received a small prayer card with his picture at her church and put it up on her refrigerator at home, next to pictures of her friends and her favorite saints. She is a regular attender of Mass, a longtime stalwart in her church’s anti-abortion movement and a believer that all the church’s doctrines are true and beautiful and should be obeyed. She loved the last two popes, and keeps a scrapbook with memorabilia from her road trip to Denver in 1993 to see Pope John Paul II at World Youth Day. But Ms. Kurt recently took the Pope Francis prayer card down and threw it away. “It seems he’s focusing on bringing back the left that’s fallen away, but what about the conservatives?” said Ms. Kurt, a hospice community educator. “Even when it was discouraging working in pro-life, you always felt like Mother Teresa was on your side and the popes were encouraging you. Now I feel kind of thrown under the bus.” In the eight months since he became pope, Francis has won affection worldwide for his humble mien and common touch. His approval numbers are skyrocketing. Even atheists are applauding. But not everyone is so enchanted. Some Catholics in the church’s conservative wing in the United States say Francis has left them feeling abandoned and deeply unsettled. On the Internet and in conversations among themselves, they despair that after 35 years in which the previous popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, drew clear boundaries between right and wrong, Francis is muddying Catholic doctrine to appeal to the broadest possible audience. They were particularly alarmed when he told a prominent Italian atheist in an interview published in October, and translated into English, that “everyone has his own idea of good and evil” and that everyone should “follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them” — a remark that many conservatives interpreted as appearing to condone relativism. He called proselytizing “solemn nonsense.” They were shocked when they saw that Francis said in the interview that “the most serious of the evils” today are “youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old.” It compounded the chagrin after he said in an earlier interview that he had intentionally “not spoken much” about abortion, same-sex marriage or contraception because the church could not be “obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines.” Steve Skojec, the vice president of a real estate firm in Virginia and a blogger who has written for several conservative Catholic websites, wrote of Francis’ statements: “Are they explicitly heretical? No. Are they dangerously close? Absolutely. What kind of a Christian tells an atheist he has no intention to convert him? That alone should disturb Catholics everywhere.” In an interview on Friday, Mr. Skojec said he was overwhelmed by the positive response to his blog from people who said they were thinking the same things but had not wanted to say them in public. He said he had come to suspect that Francis is a...

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