Pope says 1 in 50 priests is a pedophile

In another controversial interview, Pope Francis said that Vatican research has found that 2% of priests–including bishops and cardinals–are pedophiles.  That comes to 1 in 50 of the 414,000 priests.  He also said that he planned to find a “solution” for priestly celibacy, noting as Protestants have always said, that the requirement was not instituted for the first 900 years of Christendom. [Read more...]

UN panel tells Church to change its teachings

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has issued a statement directing the Roman Catholic Church to change its teachings on abortion and sexuality.  The document, which you can read here, begins by addressing the pedophile scandal–which certainly needs to be addressed–but then it calls for canon law to be changed to allow for abortion, to accept homosexuality, to promote “gender equality,” and to stop teaching that adolescents shouldn’t have sex.

That last point is in glaring opposition to the first part of the report–I would think the Church should come down even harder on underaged sex!  And what supporting abortion has to do with the rights of the child is beyond me.  Still, we may be seeing more governmental and quasi-governmental groups telling Christians what they must believe. [Read more...]

Conservative Lutherans start dialogue with Catholics

Roman Catholics and the Lutheran World Federation made a splash a few years ago when they came to some agreements about Justification by Faith.  But the much-hyped talk of the two parties getting together has floundered, since many of the liberal Lutherans of the LWF have jumped off the deep end, as far as Catholics are concerned, when it comes to issues of sexuality. Another limiting factor is women’s ordination, practiced by most LWF church bodies, but ruled out by Roman Catholics.

But now, the world organization of conservative Lutherans, the International Lutheran Council (ILC)–whose churches do not ordain women and continue to uphold traditional teachings about sexual morality–is starting talks with Rome.  The goal is surely not union, nor papered-over agreements on justification and other important doctrines, but we’ll see what comes of it.  (Any ideas of what might be some legitimate areas of agreement and co-operation?)

Mathew Block (yes, one “t” is correct), the communications director of the Lutheran Church-Canada, tells about it, including who is involved (including someone from the LCMS)  after the jump. [Read more...]

Pope Francis

A new pope has been elected:  Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina.  He is the first non-European elected to that office in over 1000 years.  He will be the 266th person to hold that office.  He is taking the name of Francis (the proper form being Francis, not Francis I, as I posted earlier, since the first of that name is not given a number until there are others that need to be distinguished from each other).

I can’t believe that there has been no other pope named Francis, St. Francis being such a notable saint.  (See this for the possible significance of the name.)  At any rate, the election of this first South American pontiff is surely something of a surprise.   The top prospect lists of prospective popes that I saw earlier didn’t mention him.  I did find one that did, which I’ll quote after the jump, along with a video of Pope Francis. [Read more...]

The mother of all lock-ins

They aren’t a youth group, but what the cardinals meeting to elect a new pope are having is a lock-in.  So explains the BBC, with other little-known facts about what is going on in the Sistine Chapel:

1. It’s a lock-in. Conclave comes from the Latin “cum-clave” meaning literally “with key” – the cardinal-electors will be locked in the Sistine Chapel each day until Benedict XVI’s successor is chosen. The tradition dates back to 1268, when after nearly three years of deliberation the cardinals had still not agreed on a new pope, prompting the people of Rome to hurry things up by locking them up and cutting their rations. Duly elected, the new pope, Gregory X, ruled that in future cardinals should be sequestered from the start of the conclave.

2. Spying is tricky. During the conclave they are allowed no contact with the outside the world – no papers, no TV, no phones, no Twitter. And the world is allowed no contact with them. The threat of excommunication hangs over any cardinal who breaks the rules. [Read more...]

Who will get elected pope?

The conclave of 115 cardinals who will elect the pope convenes on Tuesday.  They will keep casting ballots until someone gets two-thirds of the vote.  Those of us who decry the office can still be interested in the outcome.  I think it would be good for worldwide Christianity if the cardinals would elect a non-European, such as Peter Turkson of Ghana.  Or maybe an Asian, such as Malcolm Ranjith of Sri Lanka or Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines.  Interestingly, liberal Catholics oppose the election of a pope from the developing world, since those societies are extremely conservative when it comes to “women’s issues” and, especially, homosexuality.

But I would love it if New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan were to be chosen. That’s because I’ve met him!  When he was Archbishop of Milwaukee, he was involved with a Catholic school where my wife taught.  Lutheran though I am, I think it would be cool to be able to say that I’ve met the pope. [Read more...]