Pope Francis: People Who Have Pets Instead of Babies Are Doomed to Suffer “the Bitterness of Loneliness”

It’s no secret that the Catholic higher-ups really, really like procreation, and think that anybody who’s having sex should absolutely be making babies in the bargain. Birth control is selfish, right? But Pope Francis, loving and generous soul that he is, wants to look out for your interests by reminding you that you’ll never be happy as long as you waste your time raising kitties instead of kiddies.

During Monday’s daily Mass, the pontiff spoke to an audience of decades-married couples, many of whom had been together long enough to make the question of procreation entirely academic at this point.

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Catholic Women Get Excommunicated After Ordination Attempt (but Pedophile Priests Remain in the Church)

A band of women have made the news recently for being ordained… and for being kicked out of the Catholic Church in the bargain.

While many Christian denominations wouldn’t bat an eye at women in ministry, the Catholic Church still treats the priesthood as a boys’ club: only men are allowed. Even Pope Francis, lauded as God’s gift to liberal theology, considers that rule entirely unalterable. Though Francis wants to see women playing a greater role in Catholicism, he speaks about that role in very traditional terms — “the presence of women in a domestic setting” and “transmission to future generations of solid moral principles.” He’s not talking like someone who expects or supports women’s ordination. Benedict was even more direct about the chances of seeing women one day follow in his papal Prada footsteps.

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Quebec Liberals Win Majority: What Does It Mean for the Controversial Charter of Values?

In what is being described as a “surprising achievement,” an “astonishing victory,” and a “stunning election upset,” the provincial Liberal Party won a majority government in Monday’s Quebec elections. This unexpected turn of events led to the resignation of Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois (below).

While much of Canada has been focused on what this victory means for the separatist movement, and the implications of that for the country’s politics and economy — our dollar is stronger already! — the secular community in Canada and beyond has been more interested in the fate of Marois’ controversial Charter of Values, which was expected to lead to job loss for public-sector employees who wear religious head coverings such as the Sikh turban or Muslim hijab.

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Proposed Quebec Charter of Values May Lead to the Public Sector Firings of Those Who Wear Turbans or Hijabs

Generally speaking, Canadians like to fancy ourselves decent, tolerant people, (mostly) accepting of cultural diversity in a live-and-let-live sort of way, and openly enthusiastic when it comes to having plenty of restaurant choices for dining out.

So when Quebec’s Parti Quebecois acknowledged that its Charter of Values will lead to job loss for people who wear turbans, kippahs, and Islamic head coverings — particularly after Montreal PQ candidate Évelyne Abitbol said explicitly that, following a transition period, those who refuse to comply with the Charter will be fired from public-service positions — PQ leader Pauline Marois understandably felt that a little damage control was needed.

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New Policy in Italy: Catholic Bishops Are Not Obligated to Report Child Sexual Abuse

With the Vatican’s blessing — pun intended — Italy’s bishops have adopted a new policy pertaining to their obligations to report child molestation to the police.

Specifically, the policy advises that bishops have no official obligation to report the sexual abuse of children to any legal authorities outside of the Catholic Church.

According to the Italian Bishops’ Conference, these new guidelines reflect directives from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — the very same Vatican office responsible for investigating cases of sexual abuse (allegedly) perpetrated by priests. Rather than requiring all abusers to confront the criminal justice system, these guidelines call on bishops to consider their “moral duty to contribute to the common good,” as they understand it, in deciding how to approach a given case. This allows plenty of leeway for bishops to make the exact same moral calculation that inspired sex-abuse cover-ups in the first place: better to see a few abusers go unpunished than to blemish the reputation of Holy Mother Church.

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