Tag: Pope Francis

Pope revises catechism to say death penalty is ‘inadmissible’

Pope revises catechism to say death penalty is ‘inadmissible’

Commits the church to working toward its abolition worldwide

Building on the development of Catholic Church teaching against capital punishment, Pope Francis has ordered a revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to assert “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person” and to commit the church to working toward its abolition worldwide.

The catechism’s paragraph on capital punishment, 2267, already had been updated by St. John Paul II in 1997 to strengthen its skepticism about the need to use the death penalty in the modern world and, particularly, to affirm the importance of protecting all human life.

Announcing the change Aug. 2, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said, “The new text, following in the footsteps of the teaching of John Paul II in ‘Evangelium Vitae,’ affirms that ending the life of a criminal as punishment for a crime is inadmissible because it attacks the dignity of the person, a dignity that is not lost even after having committed the most serious crimes.”

“Evangelium Vitae” (“The Gospel of Life”) was St. John Paul’s 1995 encyclical letter on the dignity and sacredness of all human life. The encyclical led to an updating of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which he originally promulgated in 1992 and which recognized “the right and duty of legitimate public authority to punish malefactors by means of penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime, not excluding, in cases of extreme gravity, the death penalty.”

At the same time, the original version of the catechism still urged the use of “bloodless means” when possible to punish criminals and protect citizens.

The catechism now will read: “Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

“Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption,” the new section continues.

Pope Francis’ change to the text concludes: “Consequently, the church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,’ and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”

In his statement, Cardinal Ladaria noted how St. John Paul, retired Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis had all spoken out against capital punishment and appealed for clemency for death-row inmates on numerous occasions.

The development of church doctrine away from seeing the death penalty as a possibly legitimate punishment for the most serious crimes, the cardinal said, “centers principally on the clearer awareness of the church for the respect due to every human life. Along this line, John Paul II affirmed: ‘Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this.'”

Pope Francis specifically requested the change to the catechism in October during a speech at the Vatican commemorating the 25th anniversary of the text’s promulgation.

The death penalty, no matter how it is carried out, he had said, “is, in itself, contrary to the Gospel, because a decision is voluntarily made to suppress a human life, which is always sacred in the eyes of the Creator and of whom, in the last analysis, only God can be the true judge and guarantor.”

Cardinal Ladaria also noted that the popes were not the only Catholics to become increasingly aware of how the modern use of the death penalty conflicted with church teaching on the dignity of human life; the same position, he said, has been “expressed ever more widely in the teaching of pastors and in the sensibility of the people of God.”

In particular, he said, Catholic opposition to the death penalty is based on an “understanding that the dignity of a person is not lost even after committing the most serious crimes,” a deeper understanding that criminal penalties should aim at the rehabilitation of the criminal and a recognition that governments have the ability to detain criminals effectively, thereby protecting their citizens.

The cardinal’s note also cited a letter Pope Francis wrote in 2015 to the International Commission Against the Death Penalty. In the letter, the pope called capital punishment “cruel, inhumane and degrading” and said it “does not bring justice to the victims, but only foments revenge.”

Furthermore, in a modern “state of law, the death penalty represents a failure” because it obliges the state to kill in the name of justice, the pope had written. On the other hand, he said, it is a method frequently used by “totalitarian regimes and fanatical groups” to do away with “political dissidents, minorities” and any other person deemed a threat to their power and to their goals.

In addition, Pope Francis noted that “human justice is imperfect” and said the death penalty loses all legitimacy in penal systems where judicial error is possible.

“The new formulation of number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church,” Cardinal Ladaria said, “desires to give energy to a movement toward a decisive commitment to favor a mentality that recognizes the dignity of every human life and, in respectful dialogue with civil authorities, to encourage the creation of conditions that allow for the elimination of the death penalty where it is still in effect.”

Why Pope and Priests To Become A Christian

Why Pope and Priests To Become A Christian

Q. A friend who isn’t Catholic says people don’t really need priests and the pope to be true Christians. Is she right?

A. I’d say this is a bit of a “trick” question…but let me offer some thoughts.

First of all, the only thing any one of us truly “needs” to be a Christian is Jesus Christ Himself. To be a Christian is to be Christ-like. It means that Jesus is very much alive in our lives, leads us, transforms us, uses us and is intimately united to us. Of course that also means that we will live His will each and every day as His follower. So, the first answer I offer is simply that Jesus is sufficient for us to be Christians.

But the deeper answer has to do with what Jesus wants, where Jesus will lead us and how He chooses to enter our lives. That’s where we find a “need” for priests and the pope.

Let me put it this way. If we love Jesus and are His follower we will do what He wants of us and follow Him on His terms. So, if He calls us to forgive someone we cannot presume to be His follower if we say, “Sorry Lord, I love you but I don’t agree with you that I should forgive this person.” This basic principle can be applied to all aspects of our life.

So do we need priests and the pope to be a Christian? Well, what we need to do is follow Jesus the way He wants us to follow Him. And one thing that we Catholics have come to clearly understand is that Jesus wants to minister to us directly through His priests, and especially, through His pope.

It may be true that any one priest, or possibly even any one pope, may not always act in accord with God in their personal lives. Hopefully this is the exception rather than the norm. But the fact still remains that Jesus gave us the priesthood as a way that He can directly shepherd us, teach is and feed us with the Sacraments. So we should be very careful not to say that we can do without the priesthood. Why? Because Jesus is the one who gave us the priesthood so that, through His priests, He can continue an essential part of His ministry. Most importantly, we need the Eucharist! The Eucharist is Jesus Himself present among us to feed our souls. And He gives us this gift only through the priesthood!

As for the pope, Jesus ministers to us in many ways through him. Most especially, he is the one who guarantees the unity of our faith and teaches us without error what Jesus wants us to know. So to ignore the essential role of the pope is to actually deny Jesus Himself.

Hope that helps! Please pray for us priests and, especially, for the pope. Your prayers will certainly help us all more fully live the mission we have been given.



Vatican issues document on challenges of ‘gender ideology’ to Catholic education

Vatican issues document on challenges of ‘gender ideology’ to Catholic education

ROME – In light of changing definitions of love and sexuality fueled by “gender theory,” the Vatican on Monday released a new document looking into issues such as “third sex,” transgenderism, and polyamory.

The document was released by the Congregation for Catholic Education and discussed the response Catholic schools should have to the changing societal landscape.

Titled Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a path of dialogue on the question of gender in education, the document is in many ways a compilation of several remarks given by Pope Francis, who has often expressed his concern over the impact gender ideology has on children.

The 30-page document begins with three quotes from the last three popes: Pope Francis, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI and St. John Paul II.

In Francis’s words, gender theory “denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family.”

This ideology, the quote continues, “leads to educational programs and legislative enactments that promote a personal identity and emotional intimacy radically separated from the biological difference between male and female. Consequently, human identity becomes the choice of the individual, one which can also change over time.”

The Argentine pope has often spoken against this ideology, saying that it harms children and that it’s an attack against the family.

The document, signed by Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi on Feb. 2, says that “it is becoming increasingly clear that we are now facing what might accurately be called an educational crisis, especially in the field of affectivity and sexuality.” Quoting Benedict, it claims that in many places, educational curricula are being planned and implemented which “allegedly convey a neutral conception of the person and of life, yet in fact reflect an anthropology opposed to faith and to right reason.”

Yet, the document says this issue should not be looked at in isolation from what John Paul II defined as “education in the call to love,” which should offer “a positive and prudent education in sexuality” within the context of the inalienable right of all to receive “an education that is in keeping with their ultimate goal, their ability, their sex, and the culture and tradition of their country, and also in harmony with their fraternal association with other peoples in the fostering of true unity and peace on earth.”

The final quote belongs not to the Polish pontiff, but to the Second Vatican Council Declaration on Christian Education, Gravissimum Educationis.

In an introductory letter, Versaldi said that the idea for it came in 2017, during the congregation’s general assembly, after bishops from around the world expressed their concerns over the growth of gender education in schools.

According to the document, a distinction has to be drawn between gender ideology and the research on gender that human sciences have undertaken

The ideologies of gender, as Francis has said, also seek “to assert themselves as absolute and unquestionable, even dictating how children should be raised,” precluding dialogue. On the other hand, there’s work on gender which tries instead to “achieve a deeper understanding of the ways in which sexual difference between men and women is lived out in a variety of cultures.”

To the latter, the Catholic Church should be open “to listen, reason and propose.”

The document says in the present cultural context, “it is clear that sex and gender are no longer synonyms or interchangeable concepts, since they are used to describe two different realities.”

“Sex is seen as defining which of the two biological categories? … The problem here does not lie in the distinction between the two terms, which can be interpreted correctly, but in the separation of sex from gender,” it continues.

The separation of sex from gender is at the root of the various “sexual orientations,” the document argues. These are no longer defined by the sexual difference between men and women, but it can “assume other forms, determined solely by the individual.”

Furthermore, the concept of gender depends on the “subjective mindset of each person, “who can choose a gender not corresponding to his or her biological sex, and therefore with the way others see that person (transgenderism).”

The document also says that the duality in male-female couples is seen as a conflict with the idea of “polyamory,” meaning a relationship that involves more than two individuals. This leads to a claim that relationships are not necessarily built to last, and are instead flexible, depending on the desires of the individuals. This has “consequences for the sharing of the responsibilities and obligations inherent in maternity and paternity.”

This redefinition of gender and the plurality of new types of unions are in direct contradiction to the model of marriage as between a man and a woman, which in turn is portrayed as a “vestige of patriarchal societies.”

The ideal pushed forth by this redefinition is that individuals should be allowed to choose their status, and that society should not only guarantee this right but provide material support, “since the minorities involved would otherwise suffer negative social discrimination.”

Despite the clash this theory poses with Catholic education, the document acknowledges that there can be points in common, such as the fact that children should be taught to appreciate the equal dignity of men and women; to respect every person in their particularity and difference, so that no one should suffer bullying, violence, insults or unjust discrimination based on their specific characteristics (such as special needs, race, religion, sexual tendencies); and to appreciate the values of femininity.

Nonetheless, the most “radical forms” of gender theory also create “a gradual process of denaturalization,” giving both sexual identity and family a “liquidity” and “fluidity” that characterize other aspects of post-modern culture, often rooted with a “confused sense of freedom.”

These forms of ideology create educational programs that try to negate the sexual differences between men and women, and confuse freedom with the idea that people can act “arbitrarily as if there were no truths, values and principles to provide guidance, and everything were possible and permissible.”

The document acknowledges that in some cases, sex isn’t clearly defined. But it’s up to medical professionals to make a therapeutic intervention, and it’s not up to parents, or society, to make an arbitrary decision.

Male and Female He Created Them also argues that the process of identifying sexual identity is made more difficult by the “fictitious construct known as ‘gender neuter’ or ‘third gender’” which obscures the fact that “a person’s sex is a structural determinant of male or female identity.”

The ideas of intersex or transgender, the document says, lead to a masculinity or femininity that is ambiguous. In addition, these concepts “presuppose the very sexual difference that they propose to negate or supersede.”

The document also notes that even though gender ideology aims to remove the idea of complementarity between men and women, particularly when it comes to procreation, by proposing alternatives such as in vitro fertilization and surrogacy, at the end of the day, a man and a woman are needed for either process to work.

In keeping with the teachings of the Catholic Church, it also says that children enjoy the right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother.

The document also underlines the primacy of parents in educating their children, which is supplemented by the subsidiary role of schools and the Church. Quoting Francis, it also says that this educational alliance has entered into crisis.

“There is an urgent need to promote a new alliance that is genuine and not simply at the level of bureaucracy, a shared project that can offer a positive and prudent sexual education that can harmonize the primary responsibility of parents with the work of teachers,” the document says



Pope signals he’s open to married Catholic men becoming priests

Pope signals he’s open to married Catholic men becoming priests

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Pope may be open to married men as priests 

Rome (CNN)

Pope Francis has said he is open to married men becoming priests to combat the Roman Catholic Church’s shortage of clergy.In an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit, Pope Francis said the lack of Catholic priests was an “enormous problem” for the Church, and indicated he would be open to a change in the rules governing eligibility for the priesthood.”We need to consider if ‘viri probati’could be a possibility,” he said.

“If so, we would need to determine what duties they could undertake, for example, in remote communities.”Viri probati is the Latin term for “tested men” or married men of outstanding faith and virtue.Pope Francis holds firm against conservative push back.

The option would allow men who are already married to be ordained as priests. But single men who are already priests would not be allowed to marry, according to the Pope.”Voluntary celibacy is not a solution,” he said.Pope Francis: Put down your cell phone, pick up a Bible.

The Catholic Church already allows some married men to be ordained priests.Protestant married priests who convert to Catholicism can continue to be married and be a Roman Catholic priest, providing they have their wives’ permission.And Eastern Catholic churches that are in communion with the Roman Catholic Church can also maintain their tradition of married priests.

The Roman Catholic Church believes priests should not marry based on certain passages in the Bible, and because it believes that the priest acts “in persona Christi” (in the person of Christ) and should therefore be celibate, like Christ.Pope forces conservative out in condom battle.

This teaching was re-affirmed by St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.Pope Francis in his book, “On Heaven and Earth,” said that “For the time being, I am in favor of maintaining celibacy with the pros and cons that it has, because it has been ten centuries of good experiences more often than failure.”

By Delia Gallagher CNN