Roman Catholic Church refuses survey request

Pope Francis
The Church does not want to embarrass itself so the results will not be published.  Why was the survey done in the first place?? Opinion polls have no place in the Catholic Church, they have a place with Bergoglio!!!  
Pope Francis is calling bishops to Rome to discuss possible reform
 The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has turned down a request by members for the results of a sexual ethics survey to be made public.

The unprecedented worldwide poll was commissioned by Pope Francis.

Reformers said refusing to publish the results would suggest the Church was not sincere about sharing responsibility with lay people.

A Church spokesman said a senior Vatican official had expressly asked for summaries to remain confidential.

Sensitive subjects

The survey was sent to Catholic bishops around the world last November, with instructions to consult as widely as possible.

It tackled sensitive subjects such as contraception, cohabitation and homosexuality.

BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said the 39-question survey – designed to inform a Vatican conference on family life in October – had been enthusiastically greeted by rank-and-file Catholics.

Many Catholics saw the inclusion of such questions as a sign that Church teaching in such difficult areas might be reformed, and that lay people might be allowed a greater say in how the Church was governed, he added.


Father Marcus Stock, general secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme that the questionnaire was a “much broader consultation than just a survey”.

He said orders had come from the Pope, via Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, that the information should not be made public until after October.

Pope Francis is calling bishops to Rome to discuss possible reform that considers modern social realities.

The consultation is part of the preparation for the extraordinary meeting of the Synod of Bishops, which will focus on the subject of family.

Fr Stock acknowledged there were “great expectations” of the process, but insisted bishops’ decisions should not be predetermined.

“The reflection of the bishops during the Synod must not be predetermined by individual groups or by the concerns of northern Europe alone,” he said.

“It’s a world-wide consultation.”

‘Dialogue and transparency’

A Call to Action, a group working for reform in the Church, said people who had completed this “challenging” questionnaire would be saddened and perplexed if the results were withheld.

Jean Riordan, chair of the group’s national leaders team, told the Today programme that “dialogue and transparency” would help the process – and not put pressure on bishops or predetermine their decisions.

“Groups within the Church are not necessarily pressure groups, we are not a pressure group, we are not a dissident group” she said.

“We are not actually disputing much of Church teaching. What we’re saying is Church teaching should be formed by consulting.”

Other Churches which have published summaries of the responses, including those in Germany and Austria, have described a wide gap between Church teaching and the behaviour of ordinary Catholics.

However, Fr Stock ruled out similar action in England and Wales.

The Pope has signalled greater openness, and has said the Catholic Church is too tied up in “small-minded rules”.

Pope ignores prepared Palm Sunday homily, speaks off-the-cuff before posing for selfies

Originally posted on National Post | News:

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis, marking Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter’s Square, ignored his prepared homily and spoke entirely off-the-cuff in a remarkable departure from practice. Later, he continued to stray from the script by hopping off his popemobile to pose for “selfies” with young people and also sipping tea passed to him from the crowd.

In his homily, Francis called on people, himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives.

“Has my life fallen asleep?” Francis asked after listening to a Gospel account of how Jesus’ disciples fell asleep shortly before he was betrayed by Judas before his crucifixion.

“Am I like Pontius Pilate, who, when he sees the situation is difficult, washes my hands?”

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He sounded tired, frequently pausing to catch his breath, as he spoke for about 15 minutes in his homily during Palm Sunday…

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Alberta dentist who purchased John Lennon’s tooth hopes to clone him

Originally posted on Global News:

TORONTO – A dentist in Red Deer, Alberta is hoping a tooth he purchased for over $30,000 that once belonged to John Lennon will contain enough DNA to clone the musician.

Speaking on Britain’s Channel 4 series Dead Famous DNA, Dr. Michael Zuk says his goal is “to own John Lennon’s DNA.”

The dentist says when cloning technology is advanced enough to replicate humans, he would raise the clone as his own son, get him guitar lessons, and try to keep him away from drugs and cigarettes.

He also told the show he would be willing to do it more than once whether it worked the first time or not.

“If it works once it’s going to work again, right?” he commented.

Dr. Zuk purchased the tooth from Lennon’s former housekeeper at an auction in 2011.

The Beatle was reportedly close with the housekeeper and gave her the molar…

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Famed Jesuit priest abducted, beaten and executed in Syria

Mideast Syria

In this photo taken on March 28, 2014 and released by a neutral activist youth group, About our Neighborhood Hamidiyeh Simply, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Dutch Father Francis Van Der Lugt, 75, in Homs, Syria.

 — An activist Jesuit priest who spent three years living alongside besieged civilians and rebels in the Syrian city of Homs was assassinated Monday, according to the Vatican, which said he was abducted by unidentified gunmen who beat him before executing him in front of his monastery.

Father Francis Van Der Lugt, 75, a Dutch Jesuit priest, came to Syria in 1966 and eventually founded a home for children and adults with mental disabilities outside Homs, where he lived before the three-year-old civil war started. After fighting began, he relocated to the rebel-held neighborhood of Bustan al Diwan in Homs Old City, where he worked with refugees and civilians during the more than two-year-old siege by regime forces.

“I can confirm that he’s been killed,” Jan Stuyt, secretary of the Dutch Jesuit Order, told the news agency Agence France-Presse by phone.

“A man came into his house, took him outside and shot him twice in the head. In the street in front of his house,” he said, adding the priest would be buried in Syria “according to his wishes.”

His bodyguard, who’d been supplied by the mainstream rebel Free Syrian Army, was wounded in the attack. Because of Van Der Lugt’s high-profile role in condemning the Syrian regime for its blockade of Homs, some activists accused the regime of assassinating him. Islamic radicals with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria _ a rogue al Qaida group _ have been repeatedly accused of targeting clergy and churches and are also considered suspects, according to rebel officials.

 In a statement, a spokesman for the Jesuit order spoke of Van Der Lugt’s dedication to sharing the suffering of the ordinary citizens he’d lived alongside for more than 40 years.

He “died as a man of peace, who with great courage in an extremely dangerous and difficult situation wanted to remain faithful to the Syrian people to whom he had dedicated so many years of his life and spiritual service,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi said. “Where people die, their faithful shepherds also die with them. In this time of great sorrow, we express our participation in prayer, but also great pride and gratitude for having had a brother so close to the most suffering in the testimony of the love of Jesus to the end.”

Van Der Lugt refused to leave central Homs earlier in the year as a U.N.-brokered cease-fire allowed some 1,400 starving residents to leave the area, citing his concern for those who remained behind for fear of arrest by the regime of President Bashar Assad.

 “The Syrian people have given me so much, so much kindness, inspiration and everything they have. If the Syrian people are suffering now, I want to share their pain and their difficulties,” he told Agence France-Presse in an interview just before the U.N. evacuation.

“The faces of people you see in the street are weak and yellow. Their bodies are weakened and have lost their strength,” he asked. “What should we do, die of hunger?”

Syria has some of the oldest churches and monasteries in Christianity, with dozens that date back more than 1,500 years. Occasionally, Christians and their churches have been caught in the middle of an increasingly sectarian civil war that’s pitted Sunni Muslims against Syria’s other minorities, including the dominate Alawite sect, which receives substantial political and economic support from Christian communities.

 In another high-profile incident, fighters for the al Qaida-linked Nusra Front took custody of a dozen Greek Orthodox nuns late last year after their monastery in the ancient city of Maaloula fell into rebel hands. Although the nuns reported being well treated after their release earlier this year, they were exchanged for regime-held prisoners.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is strongly suspected of orchestrating last year’s kidnapping of an Italian priest, Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, who’d lived in Syria for decades before being expelled by the regime for his rebel sympathies. He returned to Syria through rebel-held Aleppo and disappeared while attempting to negotiate a truce between warring rebel factions. His fate remains unknown, according to Italian authorities working on the case.


Card. O’Malley leading the trend in Francis-era bishop downsizing

Bishops Follow Pope’s Example: Opulence Is Out


There was a backlash after Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Atlanta, announced plans for a 6,000-square-foot residence built on land bequeathed by a nephew of the author Margaret Mitchell.CreditChris Aulka Berry for The New York Times
The archbishop of Atlanta had a plan to resolve the space crunch at his cathedral: He would move out of his residence so priests could move in, and then he would build himself a new house with donated money and land.

It was not just any house. It was a $2.2 million, 6,000-square-foot mansion, with plenty of room to host and entertain, on land bequeathed by Joseph Mitchell, a wealthy nephew of the author of “Gone With the Wind,” Margaret Mitchell.

But as Pope Francis seeks “a church which is poor and for the poor,” expectations for Catholic leaders are changing rapidly. So on Monday night, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory apologized, saying that laypeople had told him they were unhappy with his new house, and promising to seek guidance from priests and laypeople and to follow their advice about whether to sell it.

“What we didn’t stop to consider, and that oversight rests with me and me alone, was that the world and the church have changed,” he wrote in the archdiocesan newspaper, The Georgia Bulletin. He added, “The example of the Holy Father, and the way people of every sector of our society have responded to his message of gentle joy and compassion without pretense, has set the bar for every Catholic and even for many who don’t share our communion.”


Archbisop Gregory apologized on Monday and promised to seek guidance about whether to sell the house.CreditJason Getz/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via Associated Press

The unhappy reaction of local Catholics to the archbishop’s new house in Atlanta is the latest in a series of lay uprisings since the new pope altered the landscape by choosing to live in a modest Vatican residence rather than the opulent apostolic palace, to travel in a Ford Focus and to denounce overspending by church leaders. “It breaks my heart when I see a priest or a nun with the latest model of car,” he said last summer. “Cars are necessary, but take a more humble one. Think of how many children die of hunger.”

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Official Policy: Male Federal Workers Can Use Women’s Restrooms, Locker Rooms


              (AP Photo)

When an expectant mother visits her doctor for an ultrasound, the doctor invariably asks: Do you want to know the sex of your child?

 The Obama administration, however, does not believe an unborn child has a sex — even when a doctor sees indisputable physical evidence.

Obama’s Office of Personnel Management has published what it calls “Guidance Regarding the Employment of Transgender Individuals in the Workplace.” This document speaks of “sex” as something a person has “assigned” to them only after they make it through the birth canal.

“Transgender individuals are people with a gender identity that is different from the sex assigned to them at birth,” says the guidance. “Someone who was assigned the male sex at birth but who identifies as female is a transgender woman. Likewise, a person assigned the female sex at birth but who identifies as male is a transgender man.”

OPM discretely expresses its theory in the passive voice. It does not blame the mom or the dad for insensitively exclaiming, without any qualification: It’s a boy!

But OPM’s guidance does allow qualifications for federal workers. “Some individuals will find it necessary to transition from living and working as one gender to another,” says OPM.

The guidelines say the last phase in this transition is called “real life experience.” “As the name suggests, the real life experience is designed to allow the transgender individual to experience living full-time in the gender role to which he or she is transitioning,” say the guidelines. “Completion of at least one year of the real life experience is required prior to an individual’s being deemed eligible for gender reassignment surgery.”

The guidelines call for the government to take certain steps to accommodate a federal worker going through a transition.

This can involve educating co-workers. “If it would be helpful and appropriate, employing agencies may have a trainer or presenter meet with employees to answer general questions regarding gender identity,” say the guidelines.

It means allowing the person to dress differently. “Once an employee has informed management that he or she is transitioning,” say the guidelines, “the employee will begin wearing the clothes associated with the gender to which the person is transitioning.”

It means having co-workers use gender-correct terminology. “Managers, supervisors, and co-workers should use the name and pronouns appropriate to the employee’s new gender,” say the guidelines.

Then there is the point in the guidance governing restrooms and locker rooms.

“For a transitioning employee, this means that, once he or she has begun living and working full-time in the gender that reflects his or her identity, agencies should allow access to restrooms and (if provided to other employees) locker room facilities consistent with his or her gender identity,” say the guidelines.

According to the guidance, access to a restroom or locker room should not be conditioned on anatomy.

“While a reasonable temporary compromise may be appropriate in some circumstances,” say the guidance, “transitioning employees should not be required to have undergone or to provide proof of any particular medical procedure (including gender reassignment surgery) in order to have access to facilities designated for use by a particular gender.”

On Sept. 4, OPM published a proposed regulation based on the same prefatory language as its guidance — i.e. to provide a federal workplace free from discrimination based on “sex (including gender identity and pregnancy).”

This regulation would extend federal civil rights laws, insofar as they protect federal workers, to cover discrimination based on “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has submitted well-reasoned comments on the proposed rule. After noting there is no statutory basis for it, and that some politicians are trying to enact the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to create a statutory basis for it, the USCCB’s comments deal with the issues of privacy and freedom of speech.

“Employees have, for example, a legitimate expectation of privacy in workplace restrooms and locker rooms,” says the USCCB. “Inclusion of gender identity in the OPM regulations would violate those reasonable expectations. In addition, a government prohibition on all differential treatment based on gender identity would almost certainly be used to squelch speech in the workplace that is not morally approving of efforts to ‘identify with’ the opposite sex or of the purported ‘change’ of one’s given sex.”

But it is in a footnote, quoting the Catholic Catechism, that the bishops get to the heart of the matter: “‘Being man’ or ‘being woman’ is a reality which is good and willed by God.”

“Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity,” says the USCCB’s comment, continuing to quote the Catechism. “Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out.”

The people who now run our federal government not only deny the basic facts of life, they are trying to force the consequences of their denial on the world that all the innocent little boys and girls born today must inhabit tomorrow.

Pope Francis criticises ‘anaesthetised’ Catholics

The Pope was speaking at the Mass this morning in the chapel of the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta guesthouse. After the day’s readings he described the need for Christians to be truly committed to discipleship and prepared to take risks for the cause of the Gospel, according to Vatican Radio.

“I think of many Christians, of many Catholics: yes, they are Catholics, but without enthusiasm, even embittered,” he said.

“‘Yes, life is what it is, but the Church – I go to Mass every Sunday, but better not get mixed up in things – I have faith for my health, I do not feel the need to give it to another…’. Each in his own house, the quiet life: but, you do something and then they criticise you: ‘No, leave it alone, don’t chance it.’ This is the disease of sloth, the acedia of Christians. This attitude that is crippling the apostolic zeal, which makes Christian people stand still and at ease, but not in the good sense of the word: they do not bother to go out to proclaim the Gospel! They are anaesthetised.”

These Christians “without apostolic zeal,” he continued, “are not useful, they do not do the Church well. And how many Christians are like this, selfish, out for themselves?” This, he said, is “the sin of sloth, which is a sin against apostolic zeal, against the desire to give the news of Jesus to others, that newness, which was given to me for free.”

Commenting on the the day’s Gospel passage, the Pope went on to say that there is also another sin, the sin of formalism, demonstrated when Jesus is criticised for healing the sick on the Sabbath. “Christians,” he said, “who do not leave space for the grace of God – and the Christian life, the life of these people, consists in having all the paperwork, all the certificates, in order.”

He added: “Christian hypocrites, like these, only interested in their formalities. It was a Sabbath? No, you cannot do miracles on the Sabbath, the grace of God cannot work on Sabbath days. They close the door to the grace of God. We have so many in the Church, we have many! It is another sin. The first, those who have the sin of sloth, are not able to go forward with their apostolic zeal, because they have decided to stand firm in themselves, in their sorrows, their resentments, in all of that. Such as these are not capable of bringing salvation because they close the door to salvation.”