Thursday, February 18, 2016



From Crux!

Pope Francis signals openness to birth control for Zika virus

Pope Francis landed back in Rome Feb. 18, 2016 after his trip to Mexico, and immediately paid a visit to St. Mary Major Basilica. (Alessandra Tarantino / AP)

Pope Francis landed back in Rome Feb. 18, 2016 after his trip to Mexico, and immediately paid a visit to St. Mary Major Basilica. (Alessandra Tarantino / AP)

ON BOARD THE PAPAL PLANE — While strongly rejecting abortion as a solution to the Zika virus now sweeping across Latin America and elsewhere, Pope Francis nonetheless appeared to signal an openness to birth control to prevent infection.

In remarks to reporters on his way back to Rome from Mexico, the pope cited a decision by Pope Paul VI in the early 1960s to allow Catholic nuns in the Congo to take contraceptives to avoid pregnancy due to rape.

Avoiding a pregnancy under such circumstances, Francis said, “is not an absolute evil.” However, he did not say specifically that he would approve contraception in the fight against Zika.

During an hour-long press conference aboard the papal plane, Francis also called Donald Trump’s proposal to build a massive wall along the US-Mexico border “not Christian,” said bishops who move around abusive priests should resign, reiterated the Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage, suggested the door is open to Communion for divorced/civilly remarried Catholics, and said St. John Paul II’s friendship with a married woman was nothing more than that.

Zika virus

On the Catholic response to the Zika virus, native to Africa and Asia but with outbreaks now prevalent in Catholic-heavy South and Central America, the pontiff clearly ruled out abortion as a solution. But he seemed to leave the door open as to whether the traditional Catholic principle of the “lesser of two evils” could apply to the use of contraception.
The Zika virus, transmitted by a mosquito, has mild symptoms in adults, but is believed to cause microcephaly in babies when a pregnant woman is infected.

“Abortion is never the lesser evil, it’s a crime,” Francis said categorically. It’s to discard one to save another one. It’s what Mafia does; it’s a crime, an absolute evil.”

Regarding the “lesser of two evils” when it comes to contraception, Francis said that it’s a fight between the 5th Commandment (Thou shalt not kill) and the 6th Commandment (Thou shalt not commit adultery). But he avoided giving a definitive response.

“Let’s not confuse the evil of ‘simply’ avoiding a pregnancy with abortion,” Francis said. “Abortion is not a theological problem, it’s a human, medical problem … a person is murdered to save another one, in the best of cases. In others, just to have fun.”

He called abortion an “absolute evil.”

The pontiff did make an appeal for doctors to find a vaccine for the virus.
Donald Trump and his wall

Just hours after visiting the US-Mexico border to bless a group on the US side that included undocumented immigrants, Francis bluntly described a proposal by GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump to build a massive wall along the border as “not Christian.”

“Building walls instead of bridges is not Christian; this is not in the Gospel,” the pope said.

The pope said he hadn’t heard about Trump’s plan, but took reporters’ word for it, and said he’d give Trump “the benefit of the doubt.” But he added: “I’d just say that this man is not Christian if he said it this way.”

However, Francis declined to wade into US politics, saying didn’t want to “get involved” on whether a Catholic should vote for a candidate who proposes building a wall and deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Bishop accountability

Francis said a bishop who moves an abusive priest to another parish instead of reporting him to authorities “is an unconscientious man, and the best thing he can do is to present his resignation.”
“Is that clear?” he asked.

Given that the pope had just visited Mexico, where the Legion of Christ was born, he was asked about its founder, the late Marcial Maciel Degollado, who was found guilty by the Vatican in 2006 of sexual abuse and misconduct.

Francis said his predecessor, Benedict XVI, deserved “a round of applause” for starting the process of cleansing the Church of the “filth” of sexual abuse by investigating and moving cases forward, until his strength wouldn’t allow him to continue.

“[Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger] was the brave one who helped so many open this door,” Francis said. “I want to remember him because sometimes we forget about these hidden works.”

Francis, who in late 2014 created a commission for the protection of minors, said he “thanks God” for the uncovering of clerical sexual abuse, adding that the Church needs to continue on a path of cleansing, and that the Vatican department which deals with these cases, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has to work faster.

“Lastly, I want to say that [clerical sexual abuse] is diabolical, because a priest is consecrated to lead the children to God, and he eats [his victim] in an ideological sacrifice, destroying him,” Francis added.

Same-sex marriage

Asked about an ongoing debate in Italy over a bill to legalize same-sex civil unions and give gay and lesbian couples adoption rights, Francis said that “the pope doesn’t get involved with Italian politics” because he “belongs to all.”

However, he said his beliefs match “what the Church thinks,” and pointed out that his position has been stated before, given that Italy is not the first country to engage in this debate.

Last year, when same-sex marriage was approved in a referendum in Ireland, Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, called it a “defeat for humanity.”

When it comes to gay marriage, the pope said, he upholds the Catechism, the official compendium of Church teaching.

Communion for divorced Catholics

Asked about divorced and civilly remarried couples, the pontiff said “the doors are open,” but it can’t be said that “from now on you can receive Communion” because that would be “a wound for marriage, for the couple, because it wouldn’t lead them through a path of reintegration [into the life of the Church].”

Communion, he said, is “the last thing,” because there are many Catholic couples that demand access to the Sacrament but only go to Mass once or twice a year.

The pope then went back to the testimony of a divorced and civilly remarried couple from Tuxtla, a city he visited on Monday. “They said ‘we don’t receive the Eucharist, but we’re integrated in the life of the Church.”

He was referring to Humberto and Claudia Gomez who said that those who have remarried after a divorce can’t receive the Eucharist, adding that, however, “we can receive Communion through the brother in need, the brother who’s ill, those imprisoned.”

JPII and his female friend

Francis also shared his thoughts regarding the recent disclosure of letters from St. John Paul II and a Polish-American woman, which revealed a deep friendship some have interpreted as suggesting romantic feelings by the pontiff, though there’s no suggestion that John Paul was ever unfaithful to his vows of celibacy.

Francis said that a man “who doesn’t have the friendship of a woman is incomplete.”
“The pope is a man,” Francis said. “The pope needs the input of women too. And the pope, too, has a heart that can have a healthy, holy friendship with a woman.”

He then said that a friendship with a woman is not a sin, it’s a friendship. “A romantic relationship with a woman who is not your wife,” on the other hand, he said is a sin.

“But women are still not fully appreciated,” he said. “We have not understood the good that a woman can do for the life of a priest and of the church in the sense of counsel, help, healthy friendship.”
* * * * *
On several opportunities before departing for Mexico, Francis said that the main reason behind his trip was his desire to visit Our Lady of Guadalupe, who appeared in Mexico City to an Indian in 1531.

He had asked to have some alone time with her, something he got on Saturday, after celebrating a Mass for 40,000 people.

“I asked her for the world, for peace, for so many things … poor her, she ended with her head like this,” the pope joked, making a gesture of exhaustion.

He said that he’d also asked Our Lady for priests to be real priests, nuns real nuns, and bishops real bishops. “But what a son asks of his mother is secret!” Francis added.

Asked about what his dreams are, Francis didn’t doubt: “China, going there.”


Anonymous said...

Francis has lost his mind!!

MR said...

The Pope's full comment on communion for the divorced/remarried is here:

"Does that mean remarried divorcees will be able to receive communion?"

“Integration does not mean communion. I know Catholics who remarried and go to Church twice a year and want to receive communion as if it was some kind of award. Work towards integration, yes, all doors are open. But we cannot say, ‘as of now you can receive communion’. This would be an injury to marriage too. It wouldn’t make them take this path of integration. This couple of remarried divorcees was happy. They used a beautiful expression: we don’t communicate with the Eucharist, but yes, we are in communion when we visit hospitals and share things. This is their way of being integrated. Then if there is anything else, the Lord will say so. It is a path, a journey.”

Jusadbellum said...

There are many countries with border walls:

And Mexico has a militarized southern border with Guatemala... it's illegal for Americans to sneak into Mexico. It's illegal for Americans to buy land in Mexico (even if there legally on a visa). It's illegal for Americans to agitate for political change in Mexico (and they will incarcerate you if you try as they don't fool around down there).

In fact, almost no country is as generous with illegals as we are already - not the Vatican, not Italy, not Ireland or any other country on earth.

But we're told to be ashamed of ourselves for not having open borders and even more wealth transfers???

The fact is, we can have open borders or a welfare state. No country can have both and long endure.

We will have trade with Mexico and we will have millions of visitors and immigrants from there and around the world. It is good to have a growing population and it's good to use H-1B visas to attract the best and brightest of the planet to come live among us..... but there's nothing immoral - nothing you can prove immoral via actual Catholic syllogisms - about a country asking that its borders be respected and all immigrants process through in a legal fashion.

The reason Latin America is so poor is due to a) the relative difficulty of acquiring and defending the deed to real estate (so the poor stay poor) and b) the lack of a culture of rule of law vs. rule of strong man (which sets up a 'might makes it right' mentality).

But if we open the border and welcome in every Mexican and Latinamerican that wants in, we won't be solving their problem and ultimately run the risk of becoming just a bigger and more powerful version of that problem!

Gene said...

He says anyone who wants border walls isn't about locks on their house doors and on their cars. What a judgmental, hypocritical man. Hell, I'd rather have Trump praying for me than this Pope.

Gene said...

I am for going way beyond a wall. Station the 101st there, build a wall and lay razor wire, place signs in Spanish, Arabic, and English as a warning and mine the border. I don't feel guilty about feeling that way one bit. It is common that a sin, too?

Anonymous said...

Blessed Paul VI may have given a dispensation to Belgian Congolese religious sisters and nuns who faced the threat of rape to use chemical contraception. However, they were not seeking sexual intercourse, and thus were not freely choosing it should it occur, and had the right of defense. This is a far cry from a married couple seeking sex during a time when a prenatal disease of unknown origin and prognosis is afoot. For them, abstinence is the only moral solution until the threat is over. They are freely choosing sex. It is not the same situation. The pope's words will be corrected by the CDF.

Anonymous said...

I'm done with this Pope!

Mark Thomas said...

Unfortunately, Father, the "common sense when it comes to disease and contraception" has been spun as follows:

Big front and center headlines on The Drudge of Pope Francis with the following:


Just great.


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

Incredible. His Holiness conducted a press conference at which his statements on the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris stirred controversy.

Pope Francis flew home from his Apostolic visit to Brazil only to have the spotlight shift to his "Who am I to judge" remark during his on-board press conference.

On his flight home from the United States, controversy erupted in regard to the Pope and Kim Davis.

Now, on his way home from Mexico, the spotlight is focused upon Pope Francis' supposed approval of contraception and condemnation of Donald Trump.

Time and again, following beautiful Apostolic Visits to various countries, the spotlight shifts instantly from said visits to controversies that flowed from return-flight Papal press conferences.

Every time.

That is sad. Rather that remain focused upon the positives associated with the Pope's visits to various countries, the Church is forced suddenly to focus upon and cope with Papal press conference controversies.

The Pope's trip to Mexico is ancient history suddenly. Now, it's all about "contraception is okay", and Donald Trump is "not a Christian".

It is truly, truly sad.


Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

I'm sure there are many of us who would say "pick your poison" if the choices this fall are Trump/Clinton or Sanders or Cruz/Clinton or Sanders.

Gene, would you also like to bring back the 21st Panzer Division and the Waffen SS to patrol the border?

I've heard Trump is not a regular churchgoer---maybe his Sundays are spent at St. such and such of the 18th Hole?

I'll be seeking guidance in Georgia's March 1 primary (if it basically boils down to Trump or Cruz), which candidate is the least worst option?

TJM said...

Who will break the bad news to Nasty Pelosi and the DNC?

Patrick said...

I won't hold my breath waiting for Pope Francis to tear down the wall surrounding the Vatican. Do as I say not as I do...

TJM said...

Is this Pope going to tear down the Vatican Walls and remove its restrictions on immigration?

Anonymous said...

"What a judgmental, hypocritical man."

To those who, due to their own words and behavior, are afraid of judged, Francis appears to be judgmental.

To those who claim to be Catholic, but who reject the authoritative Social Doctrine of the catholic Church, Francis will appear to be hypocritical.

Anonymous said...

Um, isn't it difficult, nay, impossible to excommunicate Trump since he's not Catholic?

And, since many hear believe that, as a non-Catholic, Trump is condemned to hell, isn't excommunication a little redundant?

Mark Thomas said...

I have to believe that at least regarding contraceptives, that His Holiness Pope Francis wasn't clear...was misunderstood...misrepresented...whatever. I have to believe.

I have to believe that the Holy See will issue clarifications in regard to the above. I expect a clarification from Rome in regard to the brewing Pope/Donald Trump controversy.

However, in regard to the contraception controversy, massive damage has ensued following the latest Papal press conference. From the Drudge Report to major news media outlets, the party line is...

....Pope Francis OKs Contraception.

Massive damage has been unleashed in that regard. Massive damage. For tens of millions of Catholics who don't know any better and receive their church-related news via the secular news media, they will believe that Pope Francis has just approved the use of contraception. Massive damage.

Time and again massive controversy has followed Pope Francis' press conferences. Regardless as to where the fault lies in that regard, it's beyond question now that strong consideration be given to halting the Pope's in-flight press conferences.

If I am correct, the practice with such Popes as Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI was that they handled meetings with he press via questions that had been submitted well beforehand. Even if my memory is incorrect in that regard, I don't recall massive international controversies following their in-flight meetings with reporters.

With His Holiness Pope Francis, that has become the norm. Something is terribly wrong with that. For the good of Holy Mother Church, that has to stop.


Mark Thomas

Victor said...

The idea of "country", as we know it today, is the creation of the Enlightenment. Amazing how selfish that concept is, and how so many are ready to defend it with their lives. One has to be prudent in sharing what one has with others, but building walls like those proposed by Mr Trump against God fearing ordinary people is un-Christian. Too much of American Christianity is a religion of convenience.
Demagogues create enemies where there are none. I hope these demagogues remember that a good chunk of southern USA was Mexican but violently taken away in the name of "country".
Although I agree with the Holy Father (yes, he is holy despite some commenting here) about what Mr Trump has in mind, I do, on the other hand, think it was imprudent of him to say so in such a direct context.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, Pope Francis should not give interview. All of them distract from what he does especially on his flights back to Rome after triumphant pilgrimages. All that is talked about are his soundbites. It is ridiculous and I am surprised His Holiness hasn't learned this yet. The pope, whoever the pope is, must be circumspect in what he says about particular people. He has now inserted himself into our Presidential election season which I think, and I could be wrong, is unprecedented in papal history since our country' founding.

I am pleased, though, with his strong words concerning abortion. This of course would be inconsistent with what I just wrote, but I am sure many here who are commenting negatively about his castigating Trump would be tickled pink for him to castigate Hilary in the same way about abortion.

But as I've said before, this pope speaks too much. He's Italian and South American and he was tired, all three along are bad enough but all three together are a deadly combination.

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald said..."I am pleased, though, with his strong words concerning abortion."

Yes, Father. Pope Francis issued a powerful condemnation of abortion. His comments fly in the face of the following story today from The Washington Post:

Charles Camosy, a professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University, said that it's "clear that even though he (Pope Francis) has views that are more traditional when it comes to contraception and abortion, he just shies away from talking about those things. He’s very clear he thinks the church talks about those things too much. Maybe he just thinks this is one of those things he doesn’t want to emphasize."

During his press conference, Pope Francis said that abortion "is a crime. It is a crime, an absolute evil."

That is a powerful anti-abortion statement upon which Catholics must seize. Unfortunately, the Pope's statement in question has been cast aside in favor of the tremendous controversies that surrounded the Pope's supposed remarks about contraception and Donald Trump.

Despite his strong condemnation of abortion, the Pope's press conference in question is a disaster.


Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

So we're to the point of being pleased that the pope is vigorously defending _some_ Catholic teachings (i.e. abortion) while other ones under the bus? That as long as you're defending something Catholic, that makes you Catholic enough?

And if this is OK for the Zika virus, then it must be OK for any other sexually transmitted diseases as well, right? Is the exception not swallowing the rule here? I mean, God forbid we do something Catholic like . . . I don't know, abstain for a while or something like that . . .

Православный физик said...

Pope Francis and planes, this can hardly be seen as a good thing

Anonymous said...

Tear down the Vatican wall Pope Francis and stay out of our business!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

If the Waffen SS can patrol our Southern borders so be it, the Left wing in this country are pushing us into a corner and they will not like the outcome!

Vox Cantoris said...

When will this man be denounced? Truly, we are being chastised.

Anonymous said...

Father McDonald,

It's true that the Pope is Italian, South American, tired and old. You left out the most important characteristic that causes him to say the things he does. He is a liberal in the mold of Cardinal Bernardine. I was nauseated by liberal clergy in the 1980s sticking their noses into politics. They are drawn to the subject because they grow tired of the boring theological topics that don't draw enough attention to them nor are the religious subjects all that interesting to them. So they become armchair politicians in hopes of recruiting people to support opposition leaders to what is good and decent. Maybe the Pope should consider if it's a noble act to illegally enter a country to take advantage of that country's generosity. And when they get here they help to promote the same kind of socialist trash that caused them to flee their native land.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I like what Fr. X will do when he becomes Pope Pius X the Second:

Again, when I am elected Pope, We shall take the name of Pius X-II (“Pius Decimus Secondus” – or maybe “Clement Ganganelli”), We shall not give interviews or press conferences. We shall forbid the Lord Cardinals from speaking to the press without permission. We shall disappear into the Apostolic Palace for lengths of time so long that the press will begin to speculate that We may have died. Our encyclicals will be limited to five pages in Latin. And Our first act as Supreme Pontiff will be to suppress the Jesuits.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Fr. Z!

Paul said...

The Pope is human. The Pope is Ordinary and Authoritative.

The Lay are human. The lay are neither Ordinary nor Authoritative.

I'll give His Holiness the benefit of the doubt -- especially as reported by the Lay.

Anonymous said...

The Leonine wall was built in the 800's. Only ISIS is in favor of destroying historically important structures.

Gene said...

Anonymous @ 1:53: We do no need the Waffen SS. We have the 101st and other fine divisions. The border needs to be closed. Period.