Britain Just Legalized Gay Marriage in England and Wales
By Robert Hutton
The U.K. House of Lords passed Prime Minister David Cameron’s bill to allow same-sex marriage, sending it back to the lower House of Commons for final agreement.
The legislation has already been passed by the Commons amid opposition from more than 100 lawmakers from Cameron’s Conservative Party. The bill will now return to the Commons, where amendments introduced by the Lords will be considered. If they’re accepted, the bill will be sent to Queen Elizabeth II for her signature before becoming law.
The plan to introduce gay marriage has pitted Cameron against many in his own party. Activists say it is driving Conservative voters toward the U.K. Independence Party, which made gains in local elections in May at the expense of the Tories and their Liberal Democrat coalition partners.
The prime minister was only able to get the legislation through the Commons with the support of the opposition Labour Party.
Complete Article HERE!
A few hours after the events that became known as the “Dirty Hands Vigil” unfolded at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, I received the following message from a priest I know in Manhattan:
Soon after, I found out that his disappointment was not due to the fact that ten Catholics were denied entry to the Cathedral, but rather with me because, in his view, I had attempted to cause scandal.
1. I am disappointed in bishops who have allowed financial interests to drive their response to the clerical sexual abuse crisis.
2. I am disappointed in a Church that has attempted to argue that same-sex couples and their families are somehow less able to live up to the Christian ideal than their heterosexual counterparts.
3. I am disappointed by a hierarchy that has attacked the dignity of women and LGBT people.
4. I am disappointed by a Church that feels it has the authority to silence academic voices like Sr. Elizabeth Johnston, Sr. Jeannine Grammick, or Fr. Robert Nugent.
5. I am disappointed by a Church that asserts free will and the supremacy of the conscience, but negates such teaching with a practical commandment to obedience and what it deems a “well-formed” conscience.
6. I am disappointed by a Church that has failed to meaningfully discern the inclusion of women in the diaconate or priesthood.
7. I am disappointed by the Church’s reliance on time. As we face progress, the Church has allowed its sluggish character to take hold of its conversations with the world.
8. I am disappointed by those who are afraid of the hierarchy.
9. I am disappointed by an institution that has used faith to bully public servants and has denied communion to those who have sought only to serve the common good.
10. I am disappointed by clergy who have used the pulpit as a means to proselytize a particular political agenda.
11. I am disappointed by the American bishops’ selfish claim of ownership of the principle of religious freedom.
In short, I am disappointed in the Church and its hierarchy. Standing in and looking around a Catholic Church, I not only feel as if I am no longer in my own home, but I also fail to recognize the Church itself. As a human being, I will not be a part of an institution that has allowed fear to drive its theology as is evident in nearly all of the issues that I cite above. For this reason, I have decided to leave the Catholic Church.
I am disappointed, frustrated, and saddened; yet amid my decision to leave the Roman Catholic Church, I am liberated. By this decision, I am following a conscience that leads me to believe that humanity has been created in the image of God. If we truly accept and believe this fundamental teaching, our world of judgment turns into a paradise of acceptance and compassion.
I am not leaving the Catholic Church because of any one particular issue or person, rather because I believe that the Church itself has lost sight of its meaning. A Church founded on hope and charity has become a tradition steeped in an approach that can best be described as “command and control.”
With this decision, some will argue that I should stay and continue efforts toward dialogue and the evolution of theology. On the other hand, some will say that I should have taken this step a long time ago, and still others will say “good riddance, so long.” The reality is that the journey of faith cannot be controlled by others, but rather is dependent only on one’s relationship with his/her Creator.
I now stand at new juncture in my faith journey. It is a place that can be described as both unfamiliar and yet eerily recognizable.
As I depart, I remain disappointed in the Roman Catholic Church and its hierarchy; however, I realize now that I am not joined by chains to the Church. In fact, it is the Church that taught me how to free myself from the bonds of oppression so as to constantly seek liberation. The question is when will the Church choose to loosen its own bonds so as to truly engage with the world around it?
Complete Article HERE!
By Robert Evans
A United Nations human rights panel has posed a list of tough questions to the Vatican about child abuse by Catholic priests, a potential embarrassment for Pope Francis a few months into his papacy.
The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) asked for “detailed information on all cases of child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy, brothers or nuns” since the Holy See last reported to it some 15 years ago, and set November 1 as a deadline for a reply.
The request was included in a “list of issues”, posted on the CRC’s website, to be taken up when the Vatican appears before it next January to report on the Church’s performance under the 1990 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.
It will be the first time the Holy See has been publicly questioned by an international panel over the child abuse scandal which severely damaged the standing of the Roman Catholic Church in many countries around the world.
The CRC has no enforcement powers, but a negative report after the hearing would be a blow to the Church whose leader, Pope Francis, is striving to put a number of scandals behind him since succeeding Benedict XVI who resigned in February.
By issuing its questions, the Geneva-based CRC brushed aside a Vatican warning that it might pull out of the Convention on the Rights of the Child if pushed too hard on the issue.
In a report of its own in late 2011, posted on the U.N. website last October, the Holy See reminded the CRC of reservations on legal jurisdiction and other issues it made when it signed the global pact.
It said any new “interpretation” would give it grounds “for terminating or withdrawing” from the treaty.
In its request for information, the CRC asked how the Vatican was ensuring that abuser priests have no more contact with children and what instructions it has issued to ensure that cases known to the Church are reported to the police.
In several countries, including the United States and Ireland, the Church has been accused of simply moving suspect priests from one diocese to another, and of handling cases secretly.
The committee also asked if the Church had investigated the Magdalene Laundries run by nuns in Ireland over several decades until they were closed in 1996, where former female inmates say they were treated as slaves.
There was no immediate comment from the Vatican on Wednesday.
Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of Britain’s National Secular Society who gave evidence to the committee in June, said he hoped for a new line from Pope Francis.
“He has expressed the Catholic Church’s determination to act decisively against paedophiles,” said Wood. “This gives room for optimism that these issues will at last be tackled. His papacy will be judged on his success in doing so.”
Complete Article HERE!