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Conservative Leaders Push Catholic Church To Backtrack On Gays

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On Monday, news came that the Vatican was ready to acknowledge the “gifts and qualities” gay people have to offer. By Tuesday, conservatives at the highest levels of the Vatican made sure that would not happen.

The headlines read as if there had been a major change in the Roman Catholic Church: Groundbreaking! Revolutionary! A seismic shift! All this for a preliminary draft of a document that is itself merely a recommendation for later documents.

Recently cardinals and bishops in Rome convened for what’s called an “extraordinary synod” – essentially a meeting – to discuss family in the 21st century. On Monday, a spokesman for this meeting referred to a preliminary statement regarding divorced Catholics, gays and lesbians, and challenges to marriage including cohabitation. 

Much of the media coverage was on what was thought to be more inclusive language that was, in reality, less than what the LGBT community and allies deserve.

The draft uses the term “incomplete and imperfect” to to describe LGBT people (and divorced Catholics). That’s more insulting than welcoming.

The document continues a two-tiered system of personhood for legally married straight and gay couples. “The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.” To the Vatican, the push for equality is “gender ideology.”

Yes, the document says pastors should recognize the “positive aspects of civil unions and cohabitation.” It also notes, “Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community” and asks if parishes are “capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities.” There are some LGBT-affirming Catholic communities, such as St. Francis Xavier on East 15th Street in Manhattan. Other parishes have vocally objected when their pastors fired gay and lesbian lay leaders, ministers and teachers, but their voices fell on deaf ears. To the U.S. Catholic hierarchy, making a doctrinal statement by laying off a gay or lesbian person is more important than that person losing his or her income, health insurance, housing and security. 

Just one day after this document was released, conservative prelates, led by Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s version of the Supreme Court, and African Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, attacked the draft document, causing the Vatican to backtrack on its meaning. 

Africa is a growth area for the Catholic Church, as is Asia, both of which are extremely conservative, and in the case of the African Church, very homophobic. Bishops from those two continents will surely join forces with fellow holdovers from John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Those bishops and cardinals make up the vast majority of the “magisterium,” or teaching authority of the Catholic Church. Debate over this document will be a battle royale behind closed doors. The ultimate decision will be made by Francis, but in the spirit of collegiality, will he use the force of his personality to overrule the orthodox hard liners? Can the Church go from calling gays and lesbians “intrinsically disordered” and “suffering from same-sex attraction” to opening its arms in a welcoming embrace?  

Actions will speak louder than words. Will gays and lesbians no longer be fired from churches and schools? Will children of gay and lesbian couples no longer be denied admission to parochial schools? Will LGBT Catholics be allowed to participate in lay ministries? Will they stop drumming gay men out of seminaries? Will legally married gay and lesbian couples be allowed to receive Communion? Will national conferences of Catholic bishops move rapidly to implement changes toward LGBT people, or move at a glacial pace? The final document, due in October 2015, runs the risk of being mere marketing window dressing.

We should wait to see what happens one year, two years, 10 years from now. If warranted, we should reserve a seismic “yay” until then.

 

Image: Prayer Vigil with Pope Francis ahead of the Synod.
Photo by Catholic Church England and Wales, via Flickr

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COMMENTARY

McCarthy Sat for an Interview With Trump Jr. – One Bragged About an ‘Illegal’ Act, One Wished His Dad Would ‘Show Some’ Love

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), sat down for a freewheeling hour-long interview with Donald Trump Jr., the son of the one-term twice-impeached ex-president currently under multiple criminal investigations including for absconding with hundreds of classified intelligence documents.

McCarthy, who had to battle his own Republican caucus 15 times before finally being granted the Speaker’s gavel, is now tied even more to Donald Trump. Trump reportedly was “working the phones,” making calls to House Republicans for days – and even hours before the final vote – strong-arming them to support the weakened McCarthy.

In one segment of the interview, McCarthy tells Trump Jr., “you know what? I’ve been around you guys privately. It is a real family that has real love for one another. And really, it stems of what [Donald Trump] did as a father.”

READ MORE: Watch: Nancy Pelosi Says ‘I Have Absolutely No Intention of Seeing the Deadly Assault on My Husband’s Life’

Don Jr., a bit choked up, comes out and says point-blank he wishes his father would “show some of that” love.

“I appreciate that, ya know, I want him to show some of that.”

Just before those remarks, McCarthy, again praising Donald Trump, says he’s a great father and grandfather, claims none of the ex-president’s children are “into drugs,” “have problems,” or “laptops” – presumably a dig at Hunter Biden and his father, President Joe Biden.

“I’ve watched him too, the pride he has [in] his children – and this is what I’ll say to you: Look, raising a family is not easy. You know – you’re a great father. But they don’t see him as a grandfather – I see your kids walk up.”

READ MORE: ‘Deliberately Deceived the Nation’: Legal Experts Stunned by ‘Jaw-Dropping’ Report on How Barr and Durham Protected Trump

“But you know what? You think of your life, okay? He was successful,” McCarthy continued, praising the disgraced ex-president. “He comes from a successful life. I’ve watched all you kids, as brothers and sisters love one another. You’re not into drugs. You don’t have problems. You don’t have laptops. You don’t have these other things,” McCarthy claimed.

Trump Jr. interjected, saying, “According to the press I’m really into drugs.”

Also in that interview, McCarthy admitted to “flipping cars” (buying for one price, quickly selling at a higher price) when he was in college, only to say it was illegal.

“I didn’t have the athletics to get a scholarship. I went to junior college, which was a great school,” McCarthy says. “But while I’m going there, I meet this guy that owns a liquor store but has a car dealer license – I’ll let you figure out how I met him,”

“But one day I say, ‘I’ll give you 100 bucks if you take me to L.A.,’ because L.A. has these car auctions – you got to be a dealer to get in there.”

READ MORE: ‘X-Rated’: Christian Nationalist Mastriano Promises Bill to Ban Public Drag Shows After High School’s ‘Queer Prom’

“So I started going down there, I start flipping cars, to pay my way through college. I find out later it’s illegal but I don’t know why I do it, I’ve been an entrepreneur, right?”

Don Jr. again interjects, telling the camera, “By the way, just just so you understand. We may have to cut this. Nancy Pelosi is gonna try to figure out how to impeach you for doing something like that.”

Trump Jr. also criticized most members of Congress who he said don’t have the same “hustle” as he does. He claimed his father made him work minimum wage jobs and he worked “for tips,” which both agreed was important.

“Like, no one’s ever had to make payroll. No one’s gonna sign the front of a check as opposed to the back,” Trump Jr. complains.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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BREAKING NEWS

DOJ Signals It Is Conducting a Criminal Investigation of George Santos

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The U.S. Dept. of Justice Friday signaled it is conducting a criminal investigation of U.S. Rep. George Santos‘ campaign finances when it asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to pause its probe into the embattled New York freshman GOP lawmaker.

“The request is the clearest sign to date of an active criminal investigation examining the congressman’s campaign finances,” The Washington Post reports.

But NBC News goes one step further.

“Federal prosecutors in New York have opened an investigation into Rep.-elect George Santos, two law enforcement sources confirmed Thursday,” NBC states. “The probe by federal prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York is at least the second investigation into Santos.”

READ MORE: Another Santos Financial Concern: GOP Lawmaker Claims Campaign Paid WinRed Triple the Fees It Should Have

“The two sources confirmed that prosecutors are examining Santos’ finances, including potential irregularities involving financial disclosures and loans he made to his campaign as he was running for Congress,” NBC adds.

The Santos campaign this week, according to The Daily Beast, amended FEC filings that originally claimed about $625,000 in “personal” loans from the candidate’s personal funds were actually not from the candidates personal funds. Santos has since refused to state where the money came from.

DOJ also asked the FEC for any “relevant documents” for the Santos’ campaign, The Post noted.

READ MORE: Watch: Santos Responds to Report He Joked About Hitler, ‘The Jews’ and Black People

“Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday interviewed two people about Santos’s role in Harbor City Capital, an investment firm that was forced to shut down in 2021 after the SEC accused it of operating a ‘classic Ponzi scheme,'” according to The Post’s reporting.

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News

Watch: Nancy Pelosi Says ‘I Have Absolutely No Intention of Seeing the Deadly Assault on My Husband’s Life’

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U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) the former Speaker of the House, told reporters she has no intention of watching just-released video of the almost fatal, brutal attack on her 82-year old husband, allegedly by a hammer-wielding, far-right conspiracy theory promoting extremist.

DePape had “posted antisemitic screeds and entries defending former President Donald Trump and Ye, the rapper formally known as Kayne West who recently made antisemitic comments,” CBS News reported one day after the attack.

Earlier Friday, before the video had been released by a judge’s order, Rep. Pelosi said did not know if she would watch the video.

Later, Friday afternoon, Pelosi said she would not.

READ MORE: Pelosi Attack Video Release Leads to Criticism of Musk, Right Wingers Who ‘Trafficked in Homophobic Conspiracy Nonsense’

“As you know, today there was a release of some information. I have not heard the 911 call. I have not heard the confession. I have not seen the break-in, and I have absolutely no intention of seeing the deadly assault on my husband’s life.”

Prosecutors have described the attack as “near-fatal.”

She also thanked “people for all of their prayers,” and for “asking about the progress my husband is making, and he is making progress, but it will take more time.”

Apparently choking up, she added that she would not be making any more statements about this case as it proceeds, except again to thank people and inform them of Paul’s progress.”

Watch below or at this link.

 

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