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 photo Pope20140305cnsbr4451_zpsc21318c9.jpgPhoto Credit: The Catholic News Service

Pope Francis says The Catholic Church may be able to tolerate some forms of civil unions for same sex couples, reports The Catholic News Service. While somewhat tepid by today's standards, for a Pope of the Catholic Church this seems like a significant step forward.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis suggested the Catholic Church could tolerate some types of nonmarital civil unions as a practical measure to guarantee property rights and health care. He also said the church would not change its teaching against artificial birth control but should take care to apply it with "much mercy."

In the wide-ranging conversation with the paper's editor-in-chief, Ferruccio de Bortoli, the pope defended the church's response to clerical sex abuse and lamented that popular mythology has turned him into a kind of papal superhero. He also addressed the role of retired Pope Benedict XVI and the church's relations with China.

"Matrimony is between a man and a woman," the pope said, but moves to "regulate diverse situations of cohabitation (are) driven by the need to regulate economic aspects among persons, as for instance to assure medical care." Asked to what extent the church could understand this trend, he replied: "It is necessary to look at the diverse cases and evaluate them in their variety."

Pope Francis' comments also reflected a new found flexibility in church doctrine.

Asked if the church's teachings on sexual and medical ethics represented "non-negotiable values," a formulation used by Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis said he had "never understood the expression 'non-negotiable values.'"

"Values are values, period," he said. "I cannot say that, among the fingers of a hand, there is one less useful than another. That is why I cannot understand in what sense there could be negotiable values."

When asked about the global pedophilia scandals, The Pope responded:

Pope Francis said cases of sex abuse by priests had left "very profound wounds," but that, starting with the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, the church has done "perhaps more than anyone" to solve the problem.

That loud thundering sound is that of right-wing extremist rushing to check their bibles. "Is the Pope allowed to say this?"  I have not heard, yet, if Rush Limbaugh has accused the Pope of propagating anti-religious values.    

By modern standards, accepting only civil unions does not go far enough, however, on a day when he is taking such an enormous step forward, I'm inclined to congratulate him. This Pope Francis has shown much courage leading his spiritual community in more hopeful new directions, and I like his personality and vitality, even though I'm a scientific humanist.

Poll

Are you encouraged by Pope Francis' statements about the Church possibly being able to tolerate some forms of civil unions?

41%37 votes
36%33 votes
16%15 votes
1%1 votes
3%3 votes

| 90 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Frankly my dear, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Bad Cog, sturunner, OldDragon

    I don't give a damn.

     There may be a few countries left, such as Ireland, where the Catholic Church has some control over the civil government. Most of the rest of the world will do what it wants to on civil law without worrying about his permission.

    •  Perhaps, however, the Pope can still be (6+ / 0-)

      influential in important ways to how 1.5 billion Catholics.

      In many past elections that we've won or lost by incredibly close margins, one of our Democratic challenges has been religious groups who oppose us for "bringing down" "family values" or "traditional values."  Sadly, this has often been a dog whistle, for supporting the voting rights act, or a woman's right to work, or equal rights for all Americans, including the GLBT.

      In some states, if we were able to move the Bell Curve of values even 5% to 10% we might be able to regain control of he house.

      Neutralizing, or even slightly placating, the rightmost wing of the bell curve on this issue might make it possible for Democratic relatives to make comments at Thanksgiving without getting castigated.  

      "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

      by HoundDog on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:00:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  HoundDog, You have misread and misunderstood (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gramofsam1

        the quotation.

        NO WHERE does he talk about civil unions for same sex couples.  That is factually incorrect and you need to delete that part of your diary.  Read the whole interview which I have linked to.

        You have to know how the Vatican uses words.  The PR team advising this pope and he himself have given the impression of someone far more moderate than he actually is.  

        Here is what he actually said and the context of it.  This took place in a Question and Answer format (and you can bet that the questions were vetted ahead of time and that he had the chance to craft his replies:)

        (Q) In the recent past, it was normal to appeal to the so-called ‘non-negotiable values’, especially in bio-ethics and sexual morality. You have not picked up on this formula. The doctrinal and moral principles have not changed. Does this choice perhaps wish to show a style less preceptive and more respectful of personal conscience?

        (A) I have never understood the expression non-negotiable values. Values are values, and that is it. I can’t say that, of the fingers of a hand, there is one less useful than the rest. For which I do not understand in what sense they there may be negotiable values. I wrote in the exhortation Evangelii Gaudium what I wanted to say on the theme of life.

        (Q) Many nations have regulated civil unions. Is it a path that the Church can understand? But up to what point?

        (A) Marriage is between a man and a woman. Secular states want to justify civil unions to regulate different situations of cohabitation, pushed by the demand to regulate economic aspects between persons, such as ensuring health care. It is about pacts of cohabitating of various natures, of which I wouldn’t know how to list the different ways. One needs to see the different cases and evaluate them in their variety.

        Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/...

        Note that the civil union question immediately followed a question on 'negotiable values' which Francis says are essentially non-negotiable.

        Then with the question re. civil unions, he talks about 'pacts of chohabitating of various natures' however he specifically excludes same sex unions by saying that marriage is between a man and a woman.

        For example two people can share a house and pool their resources and he would support that BUT NOT IN A SAME SEX SEXUAL UNION.

        HE IS NOT MODIFYING THE CHURCHES POSITION ON ANYTHING.  He is merely moving the pastoral role to the front while the rigid doctrinaire positions stay where they are.

        The media, aided by his PR crew, is determined to put a more favorable mask on this man after the b16 debacle.

        But the important point to remember is that this is just a whitewash.  NOTHING WILL CHANGE.  They will just try to be nicer about NO GAYS, NO WOMEN, NO BIRTHCONTROL.

        Don't get snowed by the poor reporting on this.

        "The corporate state’s repression, now on the brink of totalitarianism, would with the help of Christie, his corporate backers ... become a full-blown corporate fascism.' http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_trouble_with_chris_christie_20140112

        by SeaTurtle on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:53:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  BE THAT as it MAY ..He supports Pope Bendict.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SeaTurtle

          and his boyfriend living together! and We All Know It!

          Proud to be part of the 21st Century Democratic Majority Party of the 3M's.. Multiracial, Multigender and MiddleClass

          by LOrion on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 03:04:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  of course, and all the other hypocrisies... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OldDragon

            "The corporate state’s repression, now on the brink of totalitarianism, would with the help of Christie, his corporate backers ... become a full-blown corporate fascism.' http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_trouble_with_chris_christie_20140112

            by SeaTurtle on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 03:10:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  You've got it inside out: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lgmcp, VClib

          He is drawing a line between civil contracts, sanctioned by the state, and the sacrament of marriage, which is a religious act. For my part, it would seem perfectly consistent with constitutional separation for all marriages (in the eyes of the state) to be termed civil unions and abandon the term marriage to religion to do with what they wish.

          It would also cause much of the resistance to gay marriage to evaporate since the word marriage is a sore point with trads

          We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

          by bmcphail on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 03:50:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm fine if the church wants to exclude me (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Black Knight, OldDragon, bmcphail

            from "Holy Matrimony".  Make up your own definition on whose life counts.  Have at it.  But we cannot avoid using the dreaded M word, MARRIAGE, for the civil contract.  

            Why?  Because thousands of federal, state, and local laws, not to mention millions of private contracts like insurance policies, employer handbooks, and pension plans, use the M word.   Any public contractual status which fails to gain the M word, will fail to gain the benefits of those myriad rules and regulations.  We can't challenge them all in court one by one by one.

            The only way to get equality, is to ensure that CIVIL marriage is legally MARRIAGE.  But I'm happy to split the difference and incorporate the C word for Civil if it would make them happy.  (It won't.)

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 04:22:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Your point about the word marriage as a legal (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lgmcp

              term is fairly devastating. I think I agree that however logical and straightforward it might be to makea clean separation, the realities make it unlikely.

              I'll let my statement stand as an explanation of the Popes position but agree with you that in our legal context it is impractical

              We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

              by bmcphail on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:50:21 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  See also (0+ / 0-)

                my comment below to VClib on civil marriage in Canada.

                They have a nice model for separating the secular and religious forms.  And if an extremely Catholic region like Quebec could get past it, maybe someday we can too (before or after we catch up to them on Single Payer healthcare?!)

                But even there, it was based on pre-empting the M word for secular usage.

                "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                by lgmcp on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 06:34:59 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Do you see, can you agree, why the M word (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bmcphail

            MUST be non-negotiable?  

            In principle I'm all in agreement with your strategy of creating a clear distinction between sectarian sacraments and legal status.  

            But in execution, language about "civil unions" will only muddy the waters and ultimately shoot ourselves in the foot.  It has to be the M word.  Though, as I note, adding the modifier "civil" to the M word might be a workable compromise.  I'm surprised this tiny adjustment has not been more widely tried.  

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:12:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  bmc - I have always favored that view of all state (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bmcphail, lgmcp, andalusi

            ceremonies be civil unions and marriages take place in churches.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:42:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yet how do you propose (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib, Tonedevil

              to alleviate the near-infinite array of legal obstacles to giving a novel "civil union" status the same force of law as "marriage"  in EVERY legal/contractual situation?  

              Even a clear Supreme Court ruling that CU=M  (and not-CU=not-M)  would still have to be thrashed out in every court in the land.  Maybe a constitutional amendment?  Good luck with that -- we still don't have the ERA!  

              I see the appeal of your view.  It describes a society where church and state are truly separated.  But as someone who wants legal rights that are guaranteed to be valid anywhere in the nation, I can't see a workable way to get there.  The "marriage" battle, messy as it may be, looks far more promising.

              "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

              by lgmcp on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:00:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree it's a wish with many practical (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lgmcp, andalusi

                obstacles that make it nearly impossible.

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:52:21 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  In fairness to you and Bmcphail (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  VClib

                  I will note that I read up carefully on Canada's laws regarding marriage, same-sex and otherwise, when we traveled to obtain one on the occasion of our 10th anniversary in 2007.  In Canada, it is clearly defined that CIVIL marriage is the legal vehicle.  

                  It is also that assorted religious or civil personnel file, if authorized in advance to do so, may execute the civil paperwork on behalf of the state.  On our occasion we chose a Justice of Peace official the city hall in Quebec City. But, according to my understanding, we might just has well found a someone like a Unitarian Universalist pastor do it in a sanctuary, and only sent in the signed forms afterwards.

                  So, it can be done.  Except a) they used the dreaded M word and b) this is most definitely not Canada.

                  "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                  by lgmcp on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:23:19 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  bmcphail, each discipline has its terms and logic (0+ / 0-)

            ways of using words.  As a biology teacher you are familiar with how the field of biology structures its logic and defines its words.

            So, too with the world of theology and Vatican diplomacy.

            From the outside looking in, you can project whatever you want on what he says.

            However, based on the references he gives in this opinion piece he is not making the type of distinction you believe.  He is simply saying that he

            recognizes 'pacts of cohabiting of various natures' and that ....one has to evaluate them in their variety.....
            PactS.... several.  If you read the context of his support of Humana Vitae, you will realize that this guy is just as regressive as b16.  

            You can use your logic all you want, but until you understand the language and history, you are just projecting what you want on this.

            And besides you say,

            He is drawing a line between civil contracts, sanctioned by the state, and the sacrament of marriage, which is a religious act
            Where on earth do you see that?  Do you call this statement 'drawing a line'?  Hardly, it is a fluff dismissal:
            It is about pacts of cohabitating of various natures, of which I wouldn’t know how to list the different ways. One needs to see the different cases and evaluate them in their variety.
            That my friend is a maneuver invented by the Vatican, the Vatican Two Step.  It says NOTHING.  Absolutely nothing.  Yet it mollifies people who don't understand what is actually not being said.

            "The corporate state’s repression, now on the brink of totalitarianism, would with the help of Christie, his corporate backers ... become a full-blown corporate fascism.' http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_trouble_with_chris_christie_20140112

            by SeaTurtle on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 06:54:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Now that reminds me (0+ / 0-)

              of a certain Tom Lehrer song.

              "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

              by lgmcp on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 11:44:16 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  which would be? (0+ / 0-)

                "The corporate state’s repression, now on the brink of totalitarianism, would with the help of Christie, his corporate backers ... become a full-blown corporate fascism.' http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_trouble_with_chris_christie_20140112

                by SeaTurtle on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 11:57:43 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sorry, assumed you'd probably recognize (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SeaTurtle

                  the referrent:

                  "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                  by lgmcp on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 12:05:55 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  OMG, that was hilarious.... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    lgmcp

                    thanks so much for posting it for me to see it.  I do vaguely remember it.  What a riot!

                    Thanks, and take care.

                    "The corporate state’s repression, now on the brink of totalitarianism, would with the help of Christie, his corporate backers ... become a full-blown corporate fascism.' http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_trouble_with_chris_christie_20140112

                    by SeaTurtle on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 04:09:00 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

    •  True. But He Holds a Lot of Sway with The Faithful (4+ / 0-)

      Faithful whose actions and opinions may make a big difference in changing policy in their own countries someday.

      "A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or tragedy"-- James Madison

      by Bad Cog on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:01:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree Bad Cog. Some folks may not know that (4+ / 0-)

        in some Catholic families it is difficult to openly declare you are a Democrat because some of the older members think you could go to hell.

        "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

        by HoundDog on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:07:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ironic also. If it's Difficult to Announce You're (3+ / 0-)

          ... a Dem in a Catholic family, just imagine how difficult announcing you're gay would be.

          Luckily, I didn't face such a scenario.

          Less luckily, I grew up in a small hick town of 3,000 people-- where the attitude towards gays is unfortunately similar.

          Glad to have escaped.

          "A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or tragedy"-- James Madison

          by Bad Cog on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:18:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Man that is heavily variable, remember Kennedy? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lgmcp, OldDragon

          lots of Catholics are Democrats because the Social Justice mission of the Church practically demands it.

          It's only recently the culture wars have turned some catholics to the dark side....

          Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
          I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
          Emiliano Zapata

          by buddabelly on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 04:31:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Many Catholics are single issue voters on abortion (0+ / 0-)

            To those who believe life starts at conception there is no difference, at all, between an abortion and infanticide. I am pro-choice but I understand the moral dilemma of those who believe each fetus is a life with a soul.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:52:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  We "could tolerate some types of nonmarital union" (4+ / 0-)

    Well, I appreciate the advance, though it doesn't go nearly far enough. Nonetheless, it's a step.

    And, in the spirit of reciprocity, I will continue to tolerate people who can produce not a shred of decent evidence to support their beliefs.

    Freedom is Freedom, baby.

    "A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or tragedy"-- James Madison

    by Bad Cog on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 01:57:05 PM PST

  •  Very, very broad, vague statements (5+ / 0-)

       The Pope seems to be trying to be all things to all people with these thoughts.  I wouldn't hang my hat on too much progress coming out of here.

        I will grant that there has been a significant change in attitude coming out of the Vatican since Pope Francis took office, for whatever that's worth.

        But show is always better than tell. The jury is still out.
       

    "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

    by Buzzer on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:02:34 PM PST

  •  My only quibble with your diary (5+ / 0-)

    is "by modern standards...".  Remember, what's happened in the US is very recent and is not even spread to the entire country.  Gay marriage is not the norm in most of Europe, Japan, China, Russia, all of Africa except South Africa, the Middle East, most of the Caribbean, most of Central and South America.  http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    The move is in that direction, but given the state of the world right now, the pope's move is certainly progressive.  Perhaps his statement will give some wiggle room to governments with no partnership recognition to ope the door a bit...

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:02:42 PM PST

    •  Excellent point dizzydean. I should have said, (4+ / 0-)

      "by our standards here, in the Democratic Party."  

      Oh, wait, I meant, "by our standards here at Daily Kos."

      Oh, wait, I meant, "by our recently emerging trends towards a modern standard, among some of our more progressive, left leaning, Kossacks."

      Ok, I'm ready to make an update. Sorry, dizzydean, my brain is slowing down. In the old days, I could have done these four modifications instantaneously.

      "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

      by HoundDog on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:29:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hah! I will say, though, that it is an important (5+ / 0-)

        point when reviewing the stuff that Francis does.  He's the head of an international organization with over a billion members and has to take that into consideration when making statements about things like gay marriage.  Some folks I've read here want him to change doctrine pretty dramatically as quickly as possible, and while that sounds good from a US liberal perspective, it's not the reality that tempers what he says.

        To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

        by dizzydean on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:54:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm sure you'll let us al know when he actually (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, HoundDog, gramofsam1

    does something. Where are all those pederasts his church has been shielding for generations?

    This man is not a President or Prime Minister, he does have power to make his will happen.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:17:15 PM PST

  •  Well, it depends what you are talking about. (10+ / 0-)

    The Pope did not say what GOVERNMENT will recognize, only what the Catholic Church will recognize.  

    And in this country, the Catholic Church has a constitutionally protected right to define marriage in accordance with its long-standing religious teaching.  

    It seems to me that where the Pope's words might have impact is areas like Catholic institutions operating in an economic area, like hiring teachers for schools.  While the government cannot force the Catholic Church to recognize and validate marriages that are against its religion for people like teachers who sign contracts saying that , as part of their jobs, they will convey Catholic principals to their students (see the Hosanna Tabor case), I suspect that this kind of talk makes it easier for Catholic institutions to do things like extend medical insurance benefits for certain employees who do not play that kind of role.  What he's saying is that the Catholic Church as a religious matter will never accept marriage as anything other than a man and woman (as they have the constitutionally-protected right to do here in the U.S.), but that they understand that certain kinds of relationships have to be dealt with as an economic matter.  

  •  Thanks, Hound Dog. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, dizzydean, occupystephanie

    Since he's not able to "leap tall buildings in a single bound," as Superman did when I was a kid, it's good to see this step from a person with vast influence over 1.5 billion people.

    Cheers!

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:32:58 PM PST

  •  The first key step (7+ / 0-)

    isn't to change Catholic doctrine on marriage (they also don't recognize divorce) but to get it out of civil politics and to expect that businesses and social service agencies (public accommadations) will separate their religious and secular obligations where necessary.

    First step?  Separation of church and state.  And we are making progress.  It's still slow, but it's gone from glacial to "lifespan of large mammal" timeframes.

  •  The Catholic Church: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp

    The forefather of same sex couples (Priests or Nuns) living together under one roof. This is how he is threading the needle.

    I really want the church to tackle the one issue that ties many of its doctrines together - the sacred act of having many children to grow the church. It is way outdated and has shackled the church with obsolete views on birth control, abortion, and gay marriage.

    The church should focus on retention instead of a growth that has a tendency to drop off 18 years after a child is born.

    •  I wouldn't worry too much about that- (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buddabelly, Yoshimi

      at least not as a practical matter. Their teachings on procreation and contraception have been roundly ignored for years, at least among American Catholics.  

      And in a somewhat perverse way, I think it might be healthier to simply reject ridiculous rules rather than waiting for the rules to change from on high (which is not likely to happen any time soon).
       The one thing I liked about the Church was their emphasis on the primacy of individual conscience. I think they just might be surprised that so many of us took it seriously.

    •  The Church's prohibition of contraception (0+ / 0-)

      may be widely ignored in the USA, but I suspect that it still holds considerable force in Africa and Latin America.  

      In my view, the number one thing this Pope could do for the world's poor, is to drasticially adjust the Church's position on contraception.  It's a social justice issue.  Scolding Capitalists is all very well, but empowering the faithful to take control of their own family planning with a free conscience would be far more impactful.   I'm not asking him to endorse abortion. But to condone the use even of barrier methods would be a huge step forward.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 04:37:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice, HoundDog (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp

    Not keeping up on this but I think these statements are prior to the Family conference that the Church will be having. In that regard, they are very influential.

    The ruling on divorced Catholics receiving communion will be of great interest. Pope Francis has said that communion is not a "prize for the perfect".

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 04:09:38 PM PST

  •  Does the Pope realize (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp

    what a very large wedge it is, of which this admission represents the very thin edge? He has to be very smart to have arrived where he is, and the Church was always big on logic, so I would conjecture yes.

    --If civil unions between same-sex couples are permissible, then the existence of same-sex couples must be permissible.

    --If same-sex couples are permissible, then sex without the possibility (or intent) of procreation must also be permissible, and not just in rare cases of infertility (or after menopause).

    --This in turn clarifies that sex was bestowed on humanity not only for the purpose of procreation. Sex also exists for the creation and maintenance of powerful interpersonal bonds. It is also a legitimate form of pleasure and satisfaction in itself, that himan beings are meant to enjoy. In other words, sex is not, as has been claimed for over 1,000 years, this evil thing to be tolerated only because a) it produces babies and b) anyway, weak, unspiritual people can't stop themselves.

    --If sex is not just for procreation, then likewise, procreation and the raising of children cannot represent the sole reason for half of the huiman race's existence.

    --It is only a small step from there to officially recognizing the positive values for birth control for many heterosexual couples (most of whom practice it anyway if they can, and the heck with the church), and back off claiming it is a sin.

    --And it is only a slightly bigger step to recognizing that the women are not, as taught for 1,000 years or more, some kind of alien, inferior, gestation vehicles, designed to trap men into sin, but fully human and capable of reaching the same spiritual development as men in at least the same numbers, including fitness for the priesthood.

    --Getting honest about bith control and opening the priesthood to candidates of both sexes would, at long last, bring the roman Catholic Church out of the reactionary camp and might go quite a way to revitalizing it as a relevant social force today.

    I'm not a Catholic, but can't help feeling that, so long as the Roman Church remains a highly influential institution, any and all of these steps would be good the health of society at large.  

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