Pope Rides Around In A Fuel-Efficient Compact Car


MSNBC

During his trip to the U.S., the Pope has refused to ride in a limousine, and instead has been driven around in a modest Fiat 500 from the airplane.

MSNBC reports on the Pope’s departure from Joint Base Andrews in a small Fiat after saying goodbye to President Obama and the First Lady.

(Updated post)

Is Jeb Bush Catholic? Will He Follow The Pope’s Encyclical On Climate Change?

Secular Talk

According to Bloomberg:

“When Jeb Bush converted to Catholicism nearly two decades ago – adopting the faith of his Mexican-born wife, Columba – he explained what primarily attracted him.”

Bush said that the “sacraments of the Catholic Church, the timeless nature of the message of the Catholic Church, and the fact that the Catholic Church believes in and acts on absolute truth as its foundational principles and doesn’t move with modern times as my former religion did.”

His former faith was Episcopalian, writes Bloomberg.

With the Pope’s new encyclical, isn’t the church moving with modern times?

(Updated article)

http://go.bloomberg.com/political-capital/2014-04-28/jeb-bush-catholic-faith-guided/

How Will The U.S. React To The Pope’s ‘Encyclical’ On Climate Change?

Pope Francis

Is the U.S. seen as the world’s “last bastion” of climate change denial?

“The church bulletin inserts are nearly ready to go,” claims the New York Times.  So are the emails to every Roman Catholic parish in the United States with preaching suggestions for the first Sunday after Pope Francis releases his “encyclical” (report) on the environment.

A week after that, on June 28th, churches worldwide are being asked to ring their bells at noon to commemorate a “Thank you, Pope Francis” march in Rome being held on that day.

Never before, say church leaders, has a papal encyclical been anticipated so eagerly by so many.

Advocates for the environment and the poor are excited, because Francis is expected to make the case that climate change, unchecked development, and over-consumption are exacerbating problems for the poor.

However, the leaders of the Catholic Church in the United States may be harder to win over, writes the New York Times.

At the spring meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops last week, bishops from around the country said they were withholding their enthusiasm until they saw the document on Thursday the 18th of June, writes The New York Times.

Some said they were wary about getting the church enmeshed in the debate over climate change, a contentious issue in the United States.

They also expressed concern about allying with environmentalists, some of whom promote “population control” as a remedy, since the Church sees abortion and contraception as “great evils” writes The New York Times.

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami gave a presentation to the bishops on the climate change encyclical as chairman of the committee on domestic justice and human development.

He said the pope’s message would ultimately “transcend” the divisions over the environment and climate change, writes The New York Times.

“The pope is not approaching this as a scientist, he’s not approaching this as a politician,” Archbishop Wenski said at a news conference. “I think he’s trying to approach the issue of creation care as a pastor and as a teacher.”

(Updated photo)

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/14/us/pope-francis-may-find-wariness-among-us-bishops-on-climate-change.html?_r=0

NYT Op-Ed: Birth Control And The Pope

In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, Frank Bruni writes about what the confessors at his mother’s Catholic church would tell her about birth control.

“’Forgive me, Father,’ she’d say time and again, in church after church, to confessor after confessor. ‘I use contraception.’”

“She never met a priest who didn’t respond with some version of the following, and I’m paraphrasing…

“’Of course you do. You’re sane. Ignore Rome. Forget about the pope. There’s La-La Land, and then there’s the real world, in which you are clearly living. Say three Hail Marys because it can never hurt, and be on your way.’”

On the papal airplane, en route from the Philippines back to Italy, the pope reflected on the relationship between third-world poverty and extra-large families.

He told reporters that Catholics needn’t feel compelled to breed “like rabbits.”

Rev. James Keenan, a moral theologian at Boston College, said “He’s wildly practical.”

“Keenan stated that while he didn’t hear, in the pope’s reference to rabbits, any clear challenge to traditional teaching, he heard a change in emphasis…

“I don’t remember, ever, a pope saying to Catholics that they should be mindful of how many children they’re having,” states Keenan, adding that Francis’s statement was significant for that reason. “Did he intend it to be? I have no idea. When he says things, you don’t know if they’re off the cuff or not, because he’s so out there. He’s exciting that way.”

Bruni points out that at sometimes the pope sounds traditional, “like any old pope,” but at other times the pope sounds like the parish priests encountered by his mother.

Pope Draws Record Crowd In Manila

Pope-6

According to ABC News, Pope Francis flew out of The Philippines on Monday after a weeklong trip that included a visit to Sri Lanka and drew what Filipino officials says was a record crowd of 6 million faithful in a Manila park where he celebrated Mass.

President Benigno Aquino III, church leaders and 400 street children yelling “Pope Francis we love you,” saw him off at a Manila air base, where the pontiff, carrying a black travel bag, boarded a Philippine Airlines plane for a flight to Rome.

Standing at the top of the stairs, the pope waved to the crowd, slightly bowed his head, then walked into the plane.

Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos lined Manila’s streets, with police keeping a close watch, to have their final glimpse of Francis, who smiled and waved aboard an open-sided, white popemobile.

Huff Post: Right-Wing Catholics Come Up With Conspiracy Theory To Go Against Pope

POPE FRANCIS

NEW YORK (RNS) Was there a secret plot to elect Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio at the papal conclave last year?

Conservative Catholics have found a conspiracy theory to explain how a relatively liberal pope was elected.

The furor stems from a behind-the-scenes account of the March 2013 conclave, presented in a new book about Pope Francis titled “The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope.”

In the last chapter of the biography, which focuses on Bergoglio’s early life in Argentina and career as a Jesuit, author Austen Ivereigh delivers an insider account of how a group of cardinals who wanted a reformer pope quietly sought to rally support for Bergoglio in the days leading up to the conclave.

The problem is:  isn’t it normal to rally support for your favorite candidate?

Ivereigh called Francis’ boosters “Team Bergoglio.” They were led by reform-minded European churchmen like Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor of England, who Ivereigh once worked for, and German prelates like Cardinal Walter Kasper, who has become a trusted theological adviser to Francis.

At one point, Ivereigh writes that members of “Team Bergoglio” sought the Argentine cardinal’s “assent” that he would not refuse the papacy if the voting turned his way.

Why would he refuse assent? Is he supposed to refuse assent? The pope before him didn’t refuse assent when he was elected.

During the 2005 conclave, Bergoglio reportedly refused to take up the papacy when he was running second to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would eventually be elected Pope Benedict XVI.

However, in 2013, after the resignation of Benedict, Bergoglio “said that he believed that at this time of crisis for the Church no cardinal could refuse if asked,” writes Ivereigh.

In conclaves, cardinals often signal whether they would refuse or go along with an election, if it happened.

While overt politicking is strongly discouraged, and conclave rules expressly forbid dealmaking, cardinals often coalesce in camps behind one contender or another.

When Ivereigh’s book was published last month (he personally presented a copy to Francis), media accounts of the politics of the conclave prompted some to question whether Bergoglio himself was involved by giving the go-ahead, and whether that could undermine the legitimacy of his election.

But how could a pope give the “go-ahead” for his own election?  He’s elected by others, not by himself.

Regardless, Murphy-O’Connor’s press secretary wrote a letter to a British newspaper saying that no approach had been made to Bergoglio seeking his assent.

On Dec. 1st, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, issued a statement saying the cardinals cited “have expressly denied this description of events, both in terms of the demand for a prior consent by Cardinal Bergoglio and with regard to the conduct of a campaign for his election.”

However, Ivereigh said he stands by his reporting, but he regretted phrasing the episode to make it seem that Bergoglio had been approached about being a candidate and gave his backers encouragement.

“That never happened and I am sorry that I gave the impression that’s what happened,” Ivereigh told Religion News Service. “I think the whole chapter makes clear that he never had any role at all in his own election.”

Ivereigh said he was trying to show that as opposed to the 2005 conclave, Bergoglio’s supporters in 2013 “were convinced he wouldn’t resist his election.”

“The conclave rules do not prevent cardinals from urging other cardinals to vote for a particular person,” he added. “And indeed that is exactly what happens. That is part of the discernment that happens in a papal election.”

Ivereigh said he will be changing the wording of one paragraph in future editions of the book to clarify Bergoglio’s role.

Whether that will satisfy the critics is unclear.

Right-Wing Cardinal ‘Demoted’ By Pope

Rachel Maddow reviews instances of Presidents Reagan and H.W. Bush taking executive action on immigration, contrary to anti-Obama Republicans who insist that President Obama’s proposed action in the absence of a bill from Congress is unprecedented.

She also takes a look at the demotion and rise of two American cardinals.

MSNBC video.

What Did The Pope Say About U.S. Intervention Against ISIS?

What did Pope Francis say about military intervention against ISIS?

The Vatican released a statement that said:  

“His Holiness also sends an urgent appeal to the international community, in order that they may work towards ending the humanitarian crisis and protecting those who are affected or threatened by violence, and to ensure necessary aid, especially that which is most urgently needed by so many homeless, whose fate is solely dependent on the solidarity of others.” 

Asked if he approved of the American airstrikes against ISIS, Pope Francis withheld his moral permission, refusing to fully support or denounce the military campaign.

“I can only say this: It is licit to stop the unjust aggressor,” the pontiff said during a press conference back to Rome from South Korea.  “I underline the verb: stop. I do not say bomb, make war, I say stop by some means.”

So the pope did not say bomb or make war. 

He also said “one nation alone cannot judge” the best means of stopping groups like ISIS.

Those decisions should be made collectively by the United Nations, the pontiff said.

“It is there that this should be discussed. Is there an unjust aggressor? It would seem there is. How do we stop him?” the Pope asked, without answering his own question.

Pope Francis has not explicitly endorsed U.S. airstrikes. In his Aug. 18 press conference, and in his letter to the secretary general of the United Nations, the Pope called for collective action, under the auspices of the United Nations.

The Pope said, “One single nation cannot judge how you stop … an unjust aggressor,” and he said the United Nations was the proper forum for such deliberations.

That remark underscored the message of the Pope’s letter from August 13th to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that called for the international body to intervene in Iraq.

“In renewing my urgent appeal to the international community to take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now under way, I encourage all the competent organs of the United Nations, in particular those responsible for security, peace, humanitarian law and assistance to refugees, to continue their efforts in accordance with the preamble and relevant articles of the United Nations Charter,” read the Pope’s letter to the U.N. secretary general.

The pope’s words seem difficult to interpret.  However, it seems clear that the pope wants the subject to be discussed at the UN. 

Last September, Francis called for a day of fasting to persuade the United States and other nations not to use force in Syria. “Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake,” he said at the time. “War begets war, violence begets violence.”

Pope Comments On ISIS Violence in Iraq

 

PopeFrancis1Pope Francis has expressed outrage at the violence aimed at religious minorities in Iraq, where fleeing children have died of thirst, and said his emissary to the region would leave Monday.

In a strongly worded message during his traditional Sunday blessing, Francis said the news from Iraq “leaves us in disbelief.”

He cited “the thousands of people, including Christians, who have been brutally forced from their homes, children who have died from thirst during the escape and women who have been seized.”

The pope urged the international community to find a political solution “to stop these crimes.”

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Vatican’s ambassador in Baghdad during the Iraqi war, will travel to Iraq to show solidarity with Christians, who are targeted by Islamic State militants for conversion or killing.