Tomorrow will be the first time gay and lesbian couples will be able to enjoy civil-unions in the state of Illinois. The full text of the Bill can be read here. In response, Catholic Charities is ending foster care and adoption services to avoid serving same-sex parents.
Pope Benedict XVI has announced the establishment of a new Vatican department dedicated to tackling what he called 'a grave crisis in the sense of the Christian faith and the role of the Church." The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of New Evangelisation will (per Archbishop Vincent Nichols,) focus on countries "in which, even though the Christian Gospel has shaped an entire culture," secularism now reigns, in what the Pope termed an "eclipse of a sense of God." [more inside]
The Benedict Condom: The British Government has apologised to the Pope over official documents that mocked his forthcoming visit to the UK by suggesting he should bless a gay marriage and even launch Papal-branded condoms. [more inside]
"Given the number of sins we've committed over the course of 20 centuries, reference to them must be rather summary"
Is the Catholic Church a force for good in the world? Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry debate the question with Archbishop John Onaiyekan and Anne Widdencombe. Parts 2, 3, 4, 5
Photogalleries of Loyalist (UFF, UVF) and Nationalist (IRA) murals in Northern Ireland. [more inside]
Despite its success as a book [NPR] and early cinematic success, China has banned the Da Vinci Code movie [NYT] after protests from Catholics. Are you living in China and want to see it? Try the black market.
Umbert The Unborn, the world's most lovable unborn baby & The wacky adventures of a fetus. Order now for Christmas
Think that Bush has the Catholic vote sewn up? Think again. Despite the efforts of some to make Catholics one-issue voters, many Catholics are more concerned with the views on social justice [pdf] of the Church in this hotly contested [Real] race. It’s a weird year to be a Catholic voter.
'Bad' Catholics "...From President Bush seeking the Vatican's help on social issues to the decision by some Catholic bishops to deny communion to pro-choice (but not pro-war or pro-death penalty) politicians and their supporters, some on the right are actively trying to portray John Kerry and others on the left as "bad Catholics." But such attempts could well backfire, as it appears the majority of Catholic voters dislike the selective and political co-opting of their faith. .."
Jimmy Brelsin has been taking stabs at Catholic Church over the last two days (the bishops are abusing money this time). As one of the last true beat reporters in NYC, if not the nation, he's been writing for underdogs for over 40 years. Fairly well too.
Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, the founder of the Opus Dei movement, was canonized today. Opus Dei is a conservative movement within the catholic church, and counts many powerful people among its adherents - the current pope among them. However, it is not without its detractors and opponents. Some of the most important people in the Franco dictatorship were part of the group, as were several of the participants in the Venezuelan coup earlier this year. Should we keep an eye on these guys? They are certainly secretive and aggressive, but are they just a group of concerned, pious Catholics, or a power-hungry fraternity? I'm half-catholic myself, and certainly curious to hear if any Catholic MeFiers have thoughts on this subject. Even better, an Opus Dei member to clarify some of these misunderstandings...
Catholics, Jews, Muslims - all three feel suddenly embattled and isolated [nyt reg req] "This is a rare moment in history, like a planetary alignment: three world religions simultaneously racked by crisis....this confluence is highly unusual but not without precedent... — from 800 to 200 B.C., a period of tremendous violence and upheaval on many continents.... We could use this suffering to create wonderful new religious systems, as the Buddha did, or we could retreat into the spiritual barbarism of hatred ." Perhaps Karl Marx was right that religion, like opium, results only in illusion and false hope.
Going to Hell? According to the Vatican, sexually active homosexuals and divorced Catholics who remarry cannot be forgiven until they give up their sin. However, it came as good news for pedophile priests that priests implicated in the sex abuse scandal can be forgiven. Has the Church lost it's relevancy, or will it just take another 350 years for it to catch up with reality as was the case with Copernicus?
Carmelite nuns in Indy respond to the child sex abuse cases currently plaguing the Church. (from NPR) Great to see the perspective of the other half of the Holy Orders - these nuns are ballsy and discard the notion of the (Roman Catholic) Church as a superpower. The dedication of nuns always blows my mind - and breaks the mean-ol'-bitch stereotypes that linger in my head... ...meanwhile the Archdiocese of New York gives a D. A. abuse accusation records from the past 30 years (from NYTimes - requires login, etc.)
"The Archdiocese of Boston in the last 10 years has quietly settled child molestation claims against at least 70 priests." And that conservative estimate represents about 10% of diocesan priests! Many are priests still. Could there be a safer haven than the Church for these animals? Easy access to children, and if you get caught, worst case is that the church pays off your victims and you get reassigned to a prison or hospital, with no messy publicity. Shameful.
Six-year-old kid goes to school, gets beaned with rocks. Class bullies? No. Protestants. Doesn't it seem like there are some places in the world (Middle East, Eritrea/Ethiopia, Balkans, etc.) where people just insist on hating and killing each other until everyone's dead? Or is it just that the various media paint it that way?
New! Jesus Sports Statues. When you saw the Buddy Christ idea in the movie Dogma you thought it was a funny, yet biting swipe at the Catholic Church. But apparently Catholics think it's a great idea. These figurines have already sold out. Jesus playing tackle football is my favorite.
Chicago's Cardinal Francis George blessed a Porsche dealership yesterday. What do you think? Conflict of interest, or way to give back to a helpful business?