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Pope Francis Authorizes Blessings For Same-Sex Couples

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Pope Francis Authorizes Blessings For Same-Sex Couples

On Monday, Pope Francis publicly authorized Roman Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples, signaling a dramatic shift in the church’s attitude toward LGBTQ+ persons.

The Pope’s signature appears on a Vatican letter allowing the blessings as long as they do not coincide with a civil union or regular Church rituals.

The current verdict expands on the Pope’s invitation to honor same-sex couples last October and marks a departure from a 2021 Vatican doctrinal office ruling that forbade any blessings, stating that God “cannot bless sin.”

However, the doctrinal department has been managed by Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez, an Argentinian bishop and Francis friend who has taken a different tone than his predecessors since July 2023.

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Pope Francis Authorizes Blessings For Same-Sex Couples

“When people ask for a blessing, an exhaustive moral analysis should not be placed as a precondition for conferring it,” Cardinal Fernandez and another official write in the declaration. “The grace of God works in the lives of those who do not claim to be righteous but who acknowledge themselves humbly as sinners, like everyone else.”

The new order says it will allow “blessings for couples in irregular situations and for couples of the same sex,” but it will leave decisions to “the prudent and fatherly discernment of ordained ministers.”

According to James Martin, a Jesuit priest who supports Francis and ministers to LGBT Catholics, the decision is a “huge step forward in the church’s ministry to same-sex couples” and a radical reversal of the Vatican’s 2021 attitude.

“The new declaration opens the door to non-liturgical blessings for same-sex couples, something that had been previously off limits for all bishops, priests and deacons,” he was quoted as saying by CNN. “Along with many Catholic priests, I will now be delighted to bless my friends in same-sex marriages.”

The Pope’s efforts to change the church’s attitude toward LGBTQ Catholics began in 2013 when he responded to a reporter’s inquiry regarding gay clergy by saying, “Who am I to judge?”

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Pope Francis Authorizes Blessings For Same-Sex Couples

Francis has expressed support for civil recognition of same-sex couples and has attempted to wean the Vatican away from some of the harsh language it has used in the past toward LGBT people.

His support for legal acknowledgment of gay couples, as opposed to marriage, shifted the church away from a 2003 Vatican judgment that claimed it was “necessary to oppose legal recognition of homosexual unions.”

The Pope has also expressed his support for a US nun, Jeanine Gramick, who has been ministering to lesbian Catholics for many years. The Vatican had previously condemned her, but she recently visited with Pope Francis, who praised her as a “valiant woman.”

According to the Vatican’s most recent rule, same-sex and unmarried couples can be blessed “without officially validating their status or changing in any way the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage.” The Catholic Church teaches that sex should only occur within marriage,

and the ruling states that the church cannot bestow a “liturgical blessing” on same-sex or unmarried couples because it would “offer a form of moral legitimacy to a union that presumes to be a marriage or to an extra-marital sexual practice.”

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Pope Francis Authorizes Blessings For Same-Sex Couples

But the ruling says that a blessing can not be boiled down to “this point of view alone.” If it were, “a pastoral gesture that is so loved and widespread will be subject to too many moral prerequisites, which, under the claim of control, could overshadow the unconditional power of God’s love,” the ruling says.

According to the ruling, the Pope has maintained that the church cannot simply become “judges who only deny, reject, and exclude,” and that blessings must be understood in a broader context.

Francis’ acceptance of LGBTQ+ Catholics has played a role in the hostility he has experienced from a tiny but outspoken minority inside the church. His recent move on blessings is expected to be met with opposition in these circles.

SOURCE – (CNN)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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UK Conservative Party Candidates Investigated for Illegal Election Betting

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Conservative Party election betting
Conservative Party members under investigation: Reuters Image

The UK Sunday Times has reported a member of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party is currently under investigation by Britain’s gambling regulator on suspicion of having gambled on the general election date prior to its announcement.

Two Conservative candidates for office and the party’s head of campaigns are reportedly under investigation by Britain’s Gambling Commission for alleged wagers placed on the July 4 election.

The opposition Labour Party is currently polling considerably ahead of Sunak in the lead-up to the election, and the scandal’s expansion has only made matters worse.

The Conservative Party’s top data officer, Nick Mason, was named by the newspaper as the official. When asked for comment, Mason did not immediately answer. Mason disputed the allegations, according to the newspaper’s citation of a spokeswoman for him.

According to a statement from the Conservative Party, Mason has taken a leave of absence, according to the Sunday Times. Reuters reached out to the party, but they declined to corroborate the report.

“We are not permitted to discuss any matters related to any investigation with the subject or any other persons,” a spokesman for the Conservative Party said, following instructions from the Gambling Commission.

Conservative Party Director Takes Leave

No individuals have been named by the Gambling Commission as of yet. Commission officials have refused to comment on the Sunday Times story, citing confidentiality agreements on the investigation’s subjects.

An “incredibly angry” Sunak expressed his dismay at the accusations leveled against his party members on Thursday, describing them as a “really serious matter.”

The director of campaigns for the Conservative Party, Tony Lee, has taken a leave of absence, and one of the candidates implicated in the incident, Craig Williams, has previously expressed regret for a mistake.

Alleged wagers on the election day have led to the arrest of a special protection unit police officer as well.

Election betting in the UK has skyrocketed in popularity. People place wagers on everything from the overall winner to individual constituency results. It’s not just about predicting who’ll take the Prime Minister’s office.

Many bet on voter turnout, party performance, and even whether certain policies will pass. Betting companies provide detailed odds, helping punters make informed choices.

This betting trend reflects the UK public’s engagement with politics, adding an extra layer of excitement to election periods. It’s a fascinating blend of politics and gambling, drawing in seasoned bettors and curious newcomers alike.

Source: Reuters

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UK National Debt Rises to the Highest in 62 Years

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UK National Debt Rises to the Highest in 62 Years

UK national debt grew this month to its highest level as a share of the economy since 1961, according to figures released on Friday, adding to the financial issues that the new administration will face when it takes office following a general election in two weeks.

The UK national debt, excluding state-controlled banks, hit 2.742 trillion pounds ($3.47 trillion), or 99.8% of annual GDP, in May, up from 96.1% the previous year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The increase came despite somewhat lower-than-expected government borrowing in May, which was 15.0 billion pounds, compared to experts’ median projection of 15.7 billion pounds in a Reuters survey.

Following an election on July 4, Britain appears to be on the verge of a change of government, with Keir Starmer’s Labour Party leading Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives in surveys.

During the COVID-19 epidemic, state debt in Britain skyrocketed, and the public finances have been hampered by poor growth and a 16-year high in Bank of England interest rates.

Western Nations Debt

Most other Western countries had significant rises in debt during the same period, although British debt levels are lower than those of the United States, France, and Italy.

A person enters the Treasury government building in London, Britain, on March 5, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Purchase Licensing Rights opens a new tab.

Borrowing in the UK totaled 33.5 billion pounds in the first two months of the fiscal year, 0.4 billion more than the same period in 2023 but 1.5 billion pounds less than government budget estimates expected in March.

Capital Economics consultants warned that the lower-than-expected borrowing figures represented less public investment and would provide little comfort to Britain’s future finance minister.

“They do little to reduce the scale of the fiscal challenge that awaits them, in part because of the upward pressure on the debt interest bill from higher interest rates,” said Alex Kerr, an assistant economist at Capital Economics.

Labour and the Conservatives want to keep to existing budget rules that require official estimates – most recently updated in March – to indicate that debt as a proportion of GDP is dropping in the fifth year of the forecast.

Higher interest rates than projected in March’s budget left Britain’s next chancellor with only 8.5 billion pounds of freedom to meet these standards, down from the historically low 8.9 billion in March, Kerr noted.

Both Labour and the Conservatives have committed not to raise income tax, value-added tax, or other major levies, but government budget predictions in March revealed that tax as a percentage of GDP was on track to hit its highest level since 1948.

Source: Reuters

Canada’s Household Debt Nears $3 Trillion Under Trudeau

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Reform UK Party Leader Nigel Farage Blames West for Ukraine Invasion

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Reform UK Nigel Farage
Reform UK Leader Nigel Farage: AFP Image

Nigel Farage, the right-wing leader of the Reform UK party in Britain, claimed that the invasion of Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin was a direct result of US interference and eastward expansion of NATO.

The remarks, made in an interview with the BBC aired late on Friday, drew strong criticism across the British political spectrum ahead of a July 4 election in which Farage’s Reform UK party is predicted to win millions of votes.

Farage said he stood by comments made shortly after Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, when he posted on social media that the move was a “consequence of EU and NATO expansion”. He said he had been predicting a war in Ukraine as early as 2014.

“It was obvious to me that the ever-eastward expansion of NATO and the European Union was giving this man a reason to his Russian people to say, ‘They’re coming for us again’ and to go to war,” Farage said in Friday’s BBC interview.

“We provoked this war … of course it’s his (Putin’s) fault – he’s used what we’ve done as an excuse.”

Russia casts its special military operation in Ukraine as part of a broader struggle with the West, which it says wants to bring Russia to its knees. Kyiv and the West reject this and accuse Russia of waging an illegal war of conquest.

Most Recognizable and Divisive Politician

Farage’s decades of campaigning against Britain’s membership of the EU and mass immigration has made him one of the country’s most recognisable and divisive politicians.

His surprise entry into the election race has further hit Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s hopes of closing the centre-left Labour Party’s opinion poll lead.

Even though Reform is unlikely to win many seats in parliament, it could split the right-of-centre vote across the country. The party held only one seat in the last parliament, which it gained when a Conservative lawmaker defected.

Farage’s remarks on Ukraine drew immediate condemnation, Reuters reports.

Sunak said Farage was “completely wrong”, accusing him of appeasement that put Britain and its allies’ security at risk. Labour’s defence spokesman John Healey called Farage’s comments disgraceful and labelled him a “Putin apologist”.

Farage later posted on X: “Putin was wrong to invade a sovereign nation, and the EU was wrong to expand eastward. The sooner we realise this, the closer we will be to ending the war and delivering peace.”

 


Source: Reuters

Britain’s Populist Right-Wing Reform UK Party Surges in Popularity

Britain’s Populist Right-Wing Reform UK Party Surges in Popularity

 

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