Retired Pope Benedict XVI has published a letter which blames clerical sex abuse on the “all-out sexual freedom” of the 1960s. He said that cultural and historical change had led to a “dissolution” of morality in Catholicism. The sexual revolution in the 1960s had led to homosexuality and paedophilia in Catholic establishments, he claimed. The letter sparked fierce criticism from theologians who claim it is “deeply flawed”.
Pope Francis has addressed the mystery of why he withdrew his hand from worshippers’ kisses, explaining it was a “simple question of hygiene”. Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said the Pope was worried about germs when meeting Catholics last Wednesday. Conservative critics rounded on the pontiff, accusing him of shunning the centuries-old tradition. Video showing Pope Francis pulling away his hand from people attempting to kiss him went viral.
During an interview about religious vocations for a new book Pope Francis commented that homosexuality within the clergy ‘worries’ him and is a ‘serious matter.’ The Pope described homosexuality as ‘fashionable’ and said the Church must be ‘demanding’ when choosing priesthood candidates. The Pope’s comments referred to women aiming to become nuns as well.
Over 350 US Roman Catholic bishops gathered in Baltimore, Maryland on Monday to vote on new corrective measures to address sexual abuse. Bishops in attendance were surprised when they received instruction from the Vatican to delay voting until next year. The order from Rome is the latest twist in a long power struggle between the American bishops and the Vatican over how to respond to the abuse crisis.
Pope Francis granted sainthood to murdered Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero at the Vatican on Sunday. The Pope praised Romero for his advocacy for peace and choice to be ‘close to the poor and his people.’ Romero was murdered by soldiers during a 1980 Mass. Pope Francis also canonized Pope Paul VI for 1960s Church reforms.
Pope Francis addressed an audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Wednesday and said abortion is like hiring ‘a hitman to solve a problem.’ The Pope is facing criticism for speaking against abortion which opposes the Roman Catholic Church’s traditional teachings. His remarks have been called ‘absurd’ by campaign group Christians for Choice.
The Vatican rescinded comments by Pope Francis that parents should seek psychiatric help for children displaying homosexual tendencies. The Pope’s comments were not intended to suggest that homosexuality is a mental illness. The Vatican said the comments were removed from official reports to not ‘change the thoughts of the Holy Father.’
Pope Francis took a strong stance on Thursday when he declared the death penalty is wrong in all cases. The Pope’s stance moves away from arguments by many Catholic politicians, judges, and officials who have said their church is not entirely opposed to capital punishment. The Catholic Catechism was revised to call the death penalty ‘inadmissible.’
Trump’s first presidential trip abroad will start at the end of this month where he is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican in an effort to unify the three largest religions in the world, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Trump said nothing about a speech, maybe meaning all the meetings will be behind closed doors as opposed to a public setting.
Cardinal George Pell, a senior advisor to Pope Francis, has been charged with historical sexual assaults by his home country, Australia. Pell said he had been subjected to “relentless character assassination,” during the two year investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations towards him. The Australian police have not released a list of his alleged offences or of the victims but said there were “multiple complainants.” Pell has returned to Australia to fight the charges.