Catholic Leaders: The Pope Still Thinks Sexually-Active Gay People Are Going to Hell

I knew all along I would be writing this piece. I had hoped it would come a day or two later. But when people are interpreting the Pope’s words (“Who am I to judge [gay people]?”) as encouragingly tolerant, there isn’t a moment to waste. Doctrinaire cardinals must rush to assure the world that the Church is as tough on gays as ever, and don’t you forget it.

Leading the pack is Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, who hastened to explain that this is just another one of those love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin deals:

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A Ticket to Heaven on Twitter: Pope Francis Offers Social Media Indulgences

These aren’t your great-grandma’s indulgences.

In modern Catholicism, indulgences are typically granted for activities that demonstrate extra faith: certain prayers and pilgrimages, for instance, will get all or part of your currently accrued sin wiped off your slate (assuming, of course, that you confess to a priest and show proper contrition). In September of 2012, Pope Benedict announced a fresh slate of indulgence-worthy acts for the upcoming Year of Faith (2012-2013), where he mentioned the possibility of gaining indulgences by reciting specific prayers “at a moment when the words of the Supreme Pontiff or of the Diocesan Bishops are broadcast via the television or radio” — a bit like a video game player inputting the proper cheat codes at the correct moment of game play.

And if you can do it with television or radio, why not with Twitter or Instagram?

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Stuff the Pope’s Personal Theologian Says

LifeSite News, a Canadian-based online news outlet with a heavily Catholic focus on abortion, contraception, and the evil gays, has just released a pair of interviews with Pope Francis’ personal theologian (initially appointed by Benedict XVI), Reverend Wojciech Giertych.

If you’re wondering why the Pope has his own personal theologian, you’re not alone. This is the guy, after all, who’s doing his very best to act as the entire world’s personal theologian. You’d think he’d have enough of a grasp on the doctrines of his own religion to get by without needing a consultant.

Apparently not. Giertych (apparently pronounced like “GEAR-tack”) reads over the speeches other, lesser Vatican staffers write for Pope Francis to deliver, checking them for theological inconsistencies so the Pope doesn’t accidentally say something contrary to Catholic teaching. He’s also the person the Pope consults for theologically sound advice or when he feels like bouncing some ideas off one of his colleagues.

Based on the interview videos LifeSite released, it seems pretty safe to assume that the next really offensive thing the Pope says will probably have gotten the green light from Giertych.

The first video, addressing the worldwide same-sex marriage controversy, is entitled “Treating homosexuals with dignity means telling them the truth.” Pretty obvious trigger warning for homophobia here:

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Canadian Parliament Seeks to Declare April 2nd ‘Pope John Paul II Day’

Nine times out of ten, the religious shenanigans that take place in the United States make Canadian non-theists look across the border, skeptical eyebrows cocked, and say, “For real, you guys?”

But every now and again, there will be a religious brouhaha here in Canada that keeps us Canucks aware of the need for vigilance against the encroachment of religion into governance.

Here’s an example:

Our House of Commons recently passed a bill declaring April 2 “Pope John Paul II Day.” (The date was chosen based on the anniversary of the pontiff’s death in 2005, and not for its proximity to April Fools’ Day.) It’s no joke; Canada’s parliament is serious about honoring this longtime leader of the Catholic Church.

The bill received support from all parties, with only 42 Members of Parliament voting against it, compared to 217 for it. (All 42 opponents were members of the New Democratic Party; you may wish to remember that come election time.) The bill was proposed by Wladislaw Lizon, MP for Mississauga East-Cooksville, who argued that the bill was not religious in nature, but aimed at recognizing all the good acts of the late pontiff:

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Catholic Health Association Breaks with Bishops on HHS Birth Control Compromise

If you think women who work for Catholic hospitals should be able to access contraceptives as part of comprehensive health care packages, now would be a good time to celebrate a small victory.

Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO Catholic Health Association (CHAUSA), has accepted the compromise that Obama’s administration offered to Catholic non-profits. Keehan has officially stated that, while Obama’s latest effort is not ideal, “it was a solution that we could make work, because it allows our members not to have to buy, contract for, refer, or arrange for contraceptive services.”

There’s just one small problem: the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops disagrees.

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