It’s not easy to talk to the Pope

Don’t ya just love it?

When speaking to the Pope, you may not speak about yourself, and when the meeting is over you may not reveal the contents of the face-to-face conversation. In a papal audience or the brief exchange during the “baciamano,” the Pope must not be asked personal questions – only questions of general interest. To approach him, one must await the ceremonial gesture or the prelate who accompanies the Pope, according to the circumstances. For example, in audiences granted to lay and religious personnel of Vatican congregations, universities, ecclesiastical courts, and pontifical councils (sometimes accompanied by family), the prefect or the president, accompanied by the head of the department, introduces each individual to the Pope, just as the superior of the order or head of a community does when they are welcomed by or are welcoming the Holy Father. The order of presentation and the names admitted to the “baciamano” are arranged with the protocol office of the Secretary of State, then with prefecture of the Pontifical House to ensure compliance.

People in canonically irregular situations may not be received, and therefore cannot appear on the list of guests proposed by the Vatican Secretary of State. For example, an audience was denied to an international personality like Sophia Loren because she was civilly married to a man who was still religiously married in the eyes of the Church. The same applies to those who belong to ancient families of apostates, as in the case of the French spouse of the Queen of Denmark.

The entourages of leaders may not include their unmarried partners or their partner’s relatives. In December 2007 this touched off a small diplomatic incident in the Vatican Palaces, when President Sarkozy tried in vain to bring Marysa Bruni Tedeschi, mother of Carla Bruni, with his entourage so she could meet the Pope.

You must not be the first to speak to the Pontiff. The Holy Father is spoken to only in response to his greeting or one of his questions. You should not come too close to his person. If you are invited to breakfast or dinner (where a tailcoat is obligatory and morning dress is forbidden), you may give the Pope a very important gift, such as a valuable work of art or a considerable donation to one of the Pontiff’s charities, or a more simple gift. For example, St. Josemaria Escrivà de Balague once gave a crate of oranges to Paul VI, who had invited him to breakfast in the papal apartment. This contrasts with the protocol that heads of state or government, upon leaving an audience with the Holy Father, publically express praise and appreciation. The Pope will be judged by history, and so it is considered inopportune and improper to praise him excessively, as an Italian Prime Minister, in an extreme gaffe, chose to do after a private meeting with John Paul II in his private library. As with other monarchs, etiquette (and in Spain it is actually a law) prohibits people from touching the Pope.

The relatives and institutional colleagues of a head of state or government are eligible to be a part of his entourage. In great pontifical ceremonies, such as the recent beatification of Karol Wojtyla at Saint Peter’s, only the Head of Delegation may greet the Pope at the end of the event.

What would Jesus do?

Complete Article HERE!

Roman Catholic Church free — but wrong — to reject adoptions by gay parents


Roman Catholic bishops are refusing to budge: They’d rather end their adoption services in several states than accept gay parents.

And that’s a real shame. Other religious groups that don’t recognize same-sex marriage have been willing to compromise — a conservative Lutheran adoption agency in Illinois, for instance, agreed to abide by laws against discrimination so it can continue to receive state funding and provide neglected children with homes.

Yet while we argue that the bishops’ priorities are all wrong, Catholic Charities does have the right to opt out of the adoption business. When a private religious organization wants to reject state funding and refuses to recognize gay marriages, it should generally be free to do so.

That’s not to say religious liberties always take precedence. Consider the case of a Christian grad student at Augusta State University in Georgia. She was expelled from the counselor education program when she refused to abide by the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics.

Jennifer Keeton sued, arguing that if she were a high school counselor, she should not have to tell students it’s acceptable to be gay. Instead, she indicated that she’d try to convert them to being heterosexual, school officials said.

Like the Catholic bishops, Keeton maintained that gay rights threaten her religious freedom. Yet forcing a public university to grant a degree is a totally different story: Keeton wasn’t simply seeking an exemption for her own religious views. She was expecting the university, and her future clients, to work around her personal beliefs.

That’s asking too much. Which is why an appeals court ruled against Keeton, saying that requiring her to undergo cultural sensitivity training did not discriminate against her viewpoint; it simply reflected the expectation that counselors “refrain from imposing their moral and religious values on their clients.”

It’s a tricky balance: Religious exemptions should exist, as long as the cost to everyone else’s rights is not too great. (A private Catholic hospital can’t deny same-sex couples their lawful visitation and decision-making rights, for example.)

Yet at the same time, Catholic Charities can’t be compelled to provide social services for the state. Gay couples can still go elsewhere for adoptions. They shouldn’t have to, but in the name of religious freedom, they will.

Complete Article HERE!

Gay Men Being Trafficked in Kenya

Gay and bisexual men in Kenya are being lured into sex trafficking rings in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, according to a new report in African LGBT magazine, Identity.

Identity magazine says that the men attending Kenyatta University are particularly targeted, offered jobs as airline attendants or office workers,and given visas and passports (thanks to officials who’ve been bribed to help facilitate the travel arrangements).

Some of the men have reported violent sadistic sexual abuse at the hands of their captors. Many countries, including Qatar, have no anti-trafficking legislation and remain on the U.S. Department of State watch lists for showing no progress in identifying victims of trafficking and prosecuting the perpetrators.

While Kenya did pass anti-trafficking legislation last year, homosexuality is still illegal in both the Arab states as well as Kenya, so the men are unable to report abuse to police.

Complete Article HERE!