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  1. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/religion/pope-francis-says-he-s-worried-about-homosexuality-priesthood-n942726 Pope Francis says he's worried about homosexuality in the priesthood Francis was quoted as describing homosexuality within the walls of seminaries, convents and other religious places as "a very serious question." Dec. 2, 2018 / 2:09 PM EST By Reuters and The Associated Press VATICAN CITY — Men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be admitted to the Catholic clergy, and priests who are gay should be celibate or leave rather than lead a double life, Pope Francis said in a new book. Francis made the comments in a book-length interview with Spanish priest Fernando Prado called “The Strength of Vocation,” in which he discusses the challenges of being a priest or nun today. The pope said in the book that homosexuality in the Church “is something that worries me." It is due to be published this week in several languages. An advance copy of the Spanish version was provided to NBC News by a Vatican spokesperson and the Italian version was made available to Reuters. The Vatican did not comment on the content of the book. “The question of homosexuality is a very serious one,” he said, adding that those entrusted with training men to be priests must be certain that candidates are “humanly and emotionally mature” before they can be ordained. "In our societies, it even seems homosexuality is fashionable. And this mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the church," Francis was quoted as telling his interviewer. Francis is quoted in the book as commenting on a clergyman who had told him that having gays in Catholic religious housing "isn't so grave" because it's "only an expression of affection." That reasoning "is in error," Francis said. "In consecrated life and priestly life, there is no room for this kind of affection." “For this reason, the Church urges that persons with this rooted tendency not be accepted into (priestly) ministry or consecrated life,” he said. He urged homosexuals who are already priests or nuns to be celibate and responsible to avoid creating scandal. “It is better that they leave the priesthood or the consecrated life rather than live a double life,” he said. The pope has warned Italian bishops in the past to vet seminarians closely and reject those they suspect might be gay. Still, Francis, as he has in the past, stressed that gay Catholics contribute to the life of the church. He said the church must always remember that "they are persons who will live in the service of the church, of the Christian community, of the people of God. Let's never forget this perspective." Francis in his papacy has sought to stress that while obeying church teachings, the faithful must also be compassionate and open to others with different views. Catholic teaching considers homosexual activity sinful, and that everyone, except married heterosexual couples, should abstain from sex. The mid-August interview with Francis was conducted less than two weeks before Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Vatican’s former ambassador to the Vatican, threw the Church into turmoil with a bombshell statement against the pope and Vatican officials on Aug. 26. Vigano said a “homosexual network” existed in the Vatican, whose members helped promote each other’s careers in the Church. He also accused the pope of having ignored alleged sexual misconduct with adult male seminarians by former American cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 88. The Vatican said Vigano’s accusations were riddled with “calumny and defamation.” The Catholic Church has been haunted for more than two decades by evidence of thousands of cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy around the world, in countries ranging from the United States to Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Germany and Chile. In July, McCarrick became the first cardinal to resign in nearly 100 years after U.S. Church officials said allegations made in a separate investigation that he had sexually abused a 16-year-old boy almost 50 years ago were credible and substantiated. McCarrick has said he had no recollection of the alleged abuse of the minor, but has not commented on the allegations of misconduct with the seminarians, which allegedly took place decades ago.
  2. The Pope and head of the Russian Orthodox Church release statement against gay marriage Feb. 13, 2016 The Pope and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church have released a joint statement condemning same-sex marriage. The statement, consisting of 30 points, holds wide-reaching significance for Catholics and followers of the Orthodox Church. The main message of the statement seems to be the reconciliation of the Orthodox and Catholic churches. However, as well as a coming together of the two denominations, the statement condemns war in the middle east and the persecution of Christians. Going on, the statement says Pope Francis and Kirill are “concerned” about Christians being “confronted by restrictions to religious freedom”. Secular societies are next on the list, saying that Christians face “outright discrimination”, and that they are faced by an “often very aggressive secularist society”. The pair urge Europe to “remain faithful to its Christian roots”, and calls on European Christians to be more outspoken about their faith. In a similar vein to many statements made by the churches, the “family” was high on the agenda. One point calls family the “natural center of human life and society”, but they say they are “concerned about the crisis in the family in many countries”. They then say that “the family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman.” The Pope and the Patriarch are apparently worried that the “biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.” Patriarch Kirill in 2013 condemned the advance of marriage equality in the West, calling it a symptom of the apocalypse. The Russian Orthodox Church has been a key supporter of Russia’s anti-gay law, and Patriarch Kirill maintained the Church’s view that homosexuality is a sin – although he has cautioned against punishing people for their sexuality. In 2009 he told an interviewer: “We respect the person’s free choice, including in sex relations.” Pope Francis last month attacked same-sex marriage and civil unions, ahead of a debate in the Italian Senate at introducing civil unions for same-sex couples. He said: “There can be no confusion between the family God wants and any other type of union. “The family, founded on indissoluble matrimony that unites and allows procreation, is part of God’s dream and that of his Church for the salvation of humanity,” he added.
  3. Pope Francis: Gay marriage will 'destroy the family,' 'disfigure God's plan' January 16, 2015 5:58 PM MST Just 24 hours after Pope Francis called for restriction of free speech in regards to religious criticism, the once heralded leader of the Catholic Church is attacking same-sex marriage. Speaking in front of a large crowd in the Philippines, Francis appeared to revert back to the same rhetoric used by the church in the past. Francis arrived in the Philippines on Friday for a five day trip and spoke to thousands in the heart of Manila, the country's capital city.While speaking on the issue of same sex marriage on Jan. 16, Francis went into attack mode. "The family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage," Francis told the crowd. "These realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces, which threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation." Francis has appeared to be more liberal than his predecessors in the past, once stating "who am I to judge?" when asked about possible gay clergy members. Francis' criticism of same-sex marriage comes just a day after he commented on the recent terrorist attacks in France. Though condemning the violent attacks, Francis seemed to put at least partial blame on the editors and cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine that was acted in Paris last week. "You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others," Francis said, saying that the magazine shouldn't have provoked the attackers. After Francis took over for Pope Benedict XVI in March 2013, the 78-year-old Jesuit promised to change the perception of the Catholic Church. Francis received rave reviews from more progressive minded Catholics, but was dealt harsh criticism from those who support a more traditional, conservative handling of the church.
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